Google releases first Android 12L beta for large-screen devices

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Google has announced its Android 12L update — the one designed to give its OS a better experience on tablets and large folding phones — is getting its first beta release today. While Beta 1 still seems very much pointed toward developers, it could be a chance to see what Google’s working on in a (slightly) more polished state than the developer preview.

With Android 12L, Google is adding a two-column layout for devices with larger screens, which will let you get at more information at once. For example, your quick settings and notifications can display side by side. Google’s also working to improve multitasking, letting you drag an app into split-screen mode from the taskbar (which you can also use to quickly switch between apps).

12L multitasking

Google says 12L should make it easier to multitask.
GIF: Google

As with the developer preview, Google says you should be able to run the beta on an actual large-screen device if you have a Lenovo Tab P12 Pro, though it does say that the beta won’t be available until “a later date.” If you don’t have one of those lying around or don’t feel like waiting, you can also run the 12L beta in an emulator to get a feel for how it’ll look when it becomes more widely available.

Google also says you’ll be able to install 12L on your “supported Pixel device,” a list that currently includes the Pixel 3A through the Pixel 5A, though you won’t be able to test out the large screen UI. If you really just want to be on the bleeding edge, though, or are testing out apps that make use of 12L’s new APIs, you can enroll your Pixel here. Keep in mind that as the first beta, it’s probably a little rough around the edges.

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