Android tablets to get Split-Screen Multitasking Capability


Following in the footsteps of Microsoft and Apple yet again, Google is working on getting the split screen multitasking capability on Android tablets. The split screen feature helps a user to work on 2 apps simultaneously. The apps will share screen space equally on the screen. This feature was unavailable in tablets until Microsoft launched them in 2012. The feature gained prominence when Apple introduced it in its latest version of iOS recently.

“We’re working hard on a range of enhancements for Android in this form factor,” says Android and Chrome UX director Glen Murphy. “There are many things, like multi-window, that we’ve been spending a lot of time on — hopefully we can share more about this soon.” It sounds like we’ll have to wait till Android’s next major “N” revision to see multitasking improvements, however. “We’re working on lots of things right now for N that, of course, we wish we had, you know, yesterday,” says consumer hardware director Andrew Bowers. “But we’d spoil the surprise of N if we shared all of them. Split screen is in the works!” “We think a key driver is awesome hardware.”

Google is yet to provide native Android support for the feature. Some Android device manufacturers, like Samsung, have layered their own multitasking system on top of Google’s OS, but app support has been lacking.

Multitasking aside, app support has also been lacking when it comes to Android tablets in general, with many developers using automatic layouts to blow up their phone UIs to a larger screen. “We’re spending a lot of time working with developers to get better and more awesome tablet apps,” says Murphy. “But it is definitely a chicken-egg problem, and we think a key driver is awesome hardware, like the Pixel C.” With the device’s mixed reception, however, it’s clear that Google itself hasn’t quite done enough to support it on the software side — the company will be expected to make major tablet improvements with Android N.


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