We now know that Google is finally bringing multi-window on Android when Android N is finally released later in the year. While it is okay to get excited about that since it means, finally, just about everyone will be able to get it, there is more.
While poking around Android N’s code, Ars Technica bumped into, and later confirmed, several mentions of a mysterious “experimental freeform windows”, an apparent reference to, well, multi-tasking as you know it on your Microsoft Windows computer. In short, when fully implemented, users will not be restricted to just opening two applications side-by-side and only being able to resize them as has been the case on the various implementations of the feature we have seen so far. They will be able to launch other apps as well.
This will come in handy on large screen devices like tablets and not smartphones. Like the ones Panasonic has been making targeting professionals like doctors, architects, surveyors and designers. Or even the Galaxy View which is being fronted by Samsung as a home entertainment device.
Google, in its Android N developer guidance release posted on the Android developer portal, says this of the feature:
Manufacturers of larger devices can choose to enable freeform mode, in which the user can freely resize each activity. If the manufacturer enables this feature, the device offers freeform mode in addition to split-screen mode.
This has so far been possible on several Samsung devices for a while but it will be interested to see how it gets implemented in Android N since there is no shortage of Android tablets coming out that could do with extras in the software offered by Google, starting with Google’s own reasonably-sized Pixel C.
Photo & story source: Ars Technica