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Google’s Android desktop mode to get significant upgrade for Android 15

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Samsung’s DeX is considered one of the most advanced desktop modes on Android. However, what’s lesser-known is that Google’s AOSP (Android Open Source Project) also includes a Desktop mode. This feature was initially introduced with Android 10 but in a barebones state mainly for developers to test their apps in multi-display scenarios.

Since its introduction, Desktop mode within AOSP has been gradually improving, albeit slowly. It now has the capability to easily manage a side-by-side mode with two apps on screen. Additionally, more apps can be opened simultaneously using what’s known as the freeform multi-window experience, although with certain limitations.

Recent discoveries suggest that Google is actively enhancing its multi-window Android desktop experience, as evidenced by findings in the latest Android 14 QPR3 2.1 beta build by Android Authority. The new features include a redesigned title bar with a menu that appears when tapping a handle on top of a full-screen app. This menu offers options for full-screen, split-screen, or freeform mode. Once in freeform mode, windows can be freely dragged around and resized. A “snap to edge” feature allows for easy positioning of windows on either side of the screen. Furthermore, users can transition directly from a full-screen app to a freeform window by dragging the handle. However, essential features such as window positioning shortcuts and a dedicated desktop launcher are still absent.

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These significant enhancements in productivity and usability are expected to be introduced alongside Android 15. It’s possible that Google may market them as part of the Pixel 9 experience upon the release of those devices later this year. This interest in improving desktop features is further evidenced by Google’s recent support of display output on the Pixel 8 series.

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Dennis Mathu
Dennis Mathu
I cover motoring news, gadgets, software releases, mobile apps and enterprise systems powering corporations. Contact me at [email protected] or [email protected]

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