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(Pocket-lint) - At the Android Dev Summit in October 2021, Google announced Android 12L. It described 12L as "optimised for the next wave of large-screen devices" - which includes foldables, tablets, and even devices that run Chrome OS. Here's what you need to know about Android 12L.

What is Android 12L?

Simply put: 12L is an operating system update. Google positioned it as a "special feature drop that makes Android 12 even better on large screens". The company essentially tweaked its system UI for large screens, added more multitasking features, and improved compatibility support for apps.

What does the L stand for?

As far as we can tell, the "L" in Android 12L stands for "large-screen devices" - but Google has yet to confirm. 

How is 12L different from Android 12?

Essentially, Android 12L can change the layout of a device’s UI, adjusting the placement of the home screen, lock screen, notifications, Quick Settings, and more. Any screen that is 600 density-independent pixels (dp) and above will display a two-column layout that uses the entire screen.

In one example for Android 12L, Google said the Quick Settings menu on a large-screen device could go toward the left side of the display, while the notifications panel could be pinned to the right, allowing you to use both simultaneously without opening one app and closing another.

According to Google, the following three components make Android 12L different from the standard version of Android 12 running on smartphones: 

  • Optimised for large screens: Includes a refined the UI to make Android easier to use on screens larger than 600sp.
  • Built for multitasking: Includes a taskbar that lets you drag and drop an app into split-screen mode and switch apps.
  • Improved compatibility experience: Visual and stability changes help all apps look built specifically for large screens.

When will Android 12L be available?

Google said Android 12L will release for consumers sometime in early 2022.

Is there an Android 12L beta?

Yes. A developer preview is available for people to test. From the developer preview page, download the Android 12L emulator to get started.

Which devices support Android 12L?

Google said it's working with OEM partners to roll out the 12L update. A developer preview of Android 12L for the Lenovo P12 Pro tablet is coming.

Want to know more?

Check out Google's developer page for Android 12L. Pocket-lint also has an in-depth guide on Android 12, specifically.

Writing by Maggie Tillman. Originally published on 27 October 2021.