One of the biggest changes in Android N is native multi-window support. When you’re using an Android phone or tablet running the upcoming version of Android you’ll be able to view two apps in side-by-side windows and you’ll be able to resize those windows to make one app bigger and the other smaller.

Android N also includes support for “freeform” windows that let you position apps anywhere on the screen, much as you would with a desktop operating system like Windows, macOS, or most GNU/Linux-based operating systems.

But freeform mode is still pretty rough around the edges, and according to Google’s Ian Lake, it won’t be enabled in any Nexus devices at launch.

image: Ars Technica
image: Ars Technica

That doesn’t mean we won’t see any devices with Android N freeform multi-window support this year. Manufacturers will be able to enable the feature on tablets or other hardware if they want. And I’d be surprised if we didn’t see custom ROMs for Nexus devices incorporate the feature.

But out of the box, it looks like Google is looking to highlight split-screen multi-window support, not freeform.

This probably comes as good news to the developers behind Remix OS and Phoenix OS. Both of those operating systems are custom versions of Android that already offer a sort of freeform window approach thanks to a taksbar, desktop, and support for running apps in resizable, re-positionable windows.

Google’s decision to focus on split-screen mode for now gives Remix OS and Phoenix OS a little breathing room, since they still offer features that you won’t get from stock Android software for a while.

On the other hand, if you were hoping for a Google Nexus phone or tablet with support for a Microsoft Continuum-like feature where you’d be able to connect a keyboard and mouse to run Android apps in a desktop-like environment, you might have to wait a little longer… or buy a Chromebook.

via Android Police



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