Android 12 will reportedly deliver a new take on split-screen multitasking with a feature called App Pairs. That's based on information about the new feature, viewed by 9to5Google. According to the source, Google's App Pairs will be similar to solutions introduced by companies such as Samsung and Microsoft. Namely, it will allow users to pair two apps together, to be launched simultaneously in a split-screen view.
What do App Pairs actually do in Android 12?
More specifically, the system will allow users to set up "tasks" by denoting apps that should be viewed in pairs. So, the overall split-screen UI and methods won't necessarily change.
As the system is currently set up in Android 11, users can launch two apps in split-screen by opening an app and then navigating to the Recent Apps screen. From there, users have to tap the icon at the top of the app's preview window. Then they need to select the "Split screen" option. The app that's been selected is forced to the top of the screen and then users can freely open a new app or choose a previously opened up to occupy the lower segment.
With the new system, that's likely to stay in place. Or, at the very most, the process will be iterated forward so that it's more intuitive. But users will also have the option to create a pair. That pair will remain in the Recent Apps screen just like a standalone app would. So users can navigate to and away from the pair.
At least for as long as it's in their Recent Apps screen. It isn't immediately clear whether those tasks will eventually evolve into full-blown pairings as can be accomplished on Samsung devices. Users on those handsets can set those pairs, whether in the side-bar/edge menu or elsewhere, to launch at any time. Google could potentially go that route too but that doesn't appear to be where it is initially heading with its App Pairs feature.
Conversely, it's also not immediately clear whether multiple App Pairs can be created or if this will be a Pixel-exclusive, at least initially.
When is Android 12 coming, anyway?
Now, Android 11 was initially launched as a developer preview in February of last year. So the time is fast-approaching for Android 12 to do the same. That's if Google opts to keep a similar schedule this time around. If so, Android 12 should be released as a developer preview within the next several weeks.
From there, it should only be a few months before the preview is available for a wider audience on select devices. And only a few months from there before it's available in a stable format, alongside a number of other new features. Including a few that should make password and network management even better.