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Android 12 features: Google is reportedly improving split screen functions; first Developer Preview anticipated in February

Photo credit: Daniel Romero (@rmrdnl) / Unsplash

Tech fans might still be a few weeks away from the first official reveal of Android 12, but several reports are already providing hints at new features to anticipate. Google is reportedly working on a new version of the split screen function, among other rumored improvements.

Android 12’s split screen feature might accommodate three apps simultaneously

Split screen is possibly one of the most functional features introduced on Android devices. Despite smartphones’ relatively smaller screens compared to TVs and desktop monitors, this feature allows users to view and use two different apps at the same time.

Google is reportedly planning to improve that on the Android 12 update. 9To5Google has “viewed” information that points to the development of a new feature called App Pairs.

The core function of the rumored feature is the same, which is to allow users to open multiple apps on the same screen. But the description of App Pairs suggests that it would practically let Android 12 devices project up to three different apps simultaneously.

In the rumored Android 12 feature, two apps could be paired as a single window. The user can then use the remaining space of the display to open another app from the recent apps tray.

In the report’s mockup illustration, Google Maps and Google Chrome are seen paired as a single task. The paired apps are also expected to be separated by the similar-looking divider in the currently available split screen feature. But the divider is also expected to be improved by having a function that allows users to switch each app’s position.

Android 12 could introduce ‘Restricted Networking Mode’

Google is also speculated to be working on a new feature called Restricted Networking Mode, which XDA Developers found from the files in Android Open Source Project. When enabled, the feature can block certain apps’ network access.

Only apps with the CONNECTIVITY_USE_RESTRICTED_NETWORKS permission can send or receive data when the rumored Android 12 feature is enabled. The same report notes that this permission can only be provided to system apps and others approved by the OEM. However, the new feature is not expected to allow users to set restrictions for specific apps.

Android 12 release timeline: What to expect

Note that Google has yet to make any official announcement related to the Android 12, so while there are pieces of evidence for these new features in the pipeline, tech fans should still take them with a grain of salt. If Google is not planning to change its development timeline, the first Developer Previews should be unveiled in February. The beta program likely begins in the middle of the year to be followed by the final version’s release in late 2021.

Featured photo by Daniel Romero on Unsplash

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