Android 12L Dates Build Up The Hype For Foldables And Tablets

While Android tablets have been around for almost as long as Android smartphones were, Google itself was slow to acknowledge and embrace the large screen form factor. It wouldn't be until version 3.0 Honeycomb that the platform would have formal provisions for tablets, and Google made very few Nexus and Pixel tablets that could be considered reference devices for Android tablets. That is why Android 12L is a pretty big thing for the mobile platform, but it won't be until March next year at the earliest before we see its final form.

Just because Android tablets exist doesn't mean the experience is actually ideal. Aside from a few OEMs like Samsung and Huawei that create their own tablet-centric skins, Android on large screens is pretty much like phones with large screens. While most apps do at least rotate their orientations to match the tablet, they don't always take advantage of the extra screen space or, better yet, the changing form factors.

That becomes problematic as Android's incarnations become more diverse. In addition to tablets, there is the new breed of foldable devices as well as apps running in windowed environments like Chromebooks. Android 12L is Google's attempt to finally support those use cases, and it couldn't come soon enough.

Of course, there will be a bit of waiting time, and Android DevOps company Esper is filling in some of the blanks left by Google. According to the blog post, the first opt-in beta will start in December, as previously announced, but there will be two other betas in January and February next year. The final launch, according to the timetable, will take place before the end of the first quarter of 2022.

The big question right now is which devices will be eligible to participate in those beta tests, aside from Pixel phones, of course. Only Lenovo has confirmed that its P12 Pro tablet will be joining, and the Galaxy Z Fold 3 will most likely be part of it at some point. Samsung will also be launching new Galaxy Tab S8 tablets around that time, and it would be a shame, but not unexpected, if those don't get to play around with Android 12L as soon as they can.