Each year Google releases a new version of Android software that pushes out new features and sometimes new user interface design elements, and while the latest, Android 6.0 Marshmallow hasn’t seen really much of a change with UI from Android 5.0 Lollipop, it did bring in some new functionality, although it was still lacking some of the features that stock Android users have been hoping for for quite some time: Multi-window features. No one likely expected an official announcement of Android N until Google I/O later this year, but Android N is now official and with it comes quite a few enticing features to look forward to.
The most notable of course for many will be the inclusion of the heavily coveted multi-window which devices like Samsung’s Galaxy S and Galaxy Note series have had integrated for the last few generations. Finally, stock Android users are going to get the same capability to open up multiple apps side by side. While multi-window support is great, Google is taking things a tiny step further and is making it split screen as shown in the image above which should make it so that each app has an equal amount of space allocated to it while open at the same time as another automatically, although the feature should also allow scaling of the split portion if the user desires to change the size of either app.
The new multi-window feature will be present in the Android N Developer Preview, so there is a chance it might not make the final cut, but it’s more likely that this is a feature Google would keep. On that note, multi-window won’t be working for apps on the preview right out of the box, as developers will have to individually add support for it on their own. Android N will take on the bulk of the behind the scenes work though so developers won’t have to do much. Google also mentions that developers can enable a new freeform mode that makes it possible for users to resize their apps how they want and decide how much space they want them taking up on screen, although this is for devices with larger screens, presumably just tablets. Alongside the multi-window Google is also enabling a new feature for Android TV devices with Android N developer preview called picture-in-picture, which is just like it sounds and would allow the user to pin videos to the bottom corner of the TV screen while they continue to navigate within other apps.