With the recent announcement of the Android 12L update in the works, there’s no way to take in all this new version of Android brings to the table and not be fairly confident that it is arriving with a very particular phone in mind. While many of the Android 12L optimizations will make life a lot better for developers and users on Chromebooks, there’s little doubt many of these updates will also be aimed directly at making apps fully behave on larger, folding screens.
With updates like better side-by-side app management and notification layouts, it’s no stretch to realize this ‘feature drop’ will arrive mainly to make life easier for users running apps on folding phones where the apps aren’t exactly optimized for both larger screens and side-by-side screens.
While Google has some other reasons to get this update in the hands of app developers (Chromebooks, Android tablets, and Samsung’s foldables), I don’t think it takes too much digging to realize their incentives may run a tad bit deeper. After all, they’ve addressed Android app compatibility on Chromebooks multiple times and Android tablets aren’t exactly best sellers. With Samsung’s Galaxy Fold lineup, they’ve kinda already got many of these things lined out via their own software tweaks, so there’s no huge rush to fix Android 12 for those devices, either.
Don’t forget the Fold
But then there’s the mysterious, unannounced Pixel Fold Google is still clearly invested in. According to reputable leakers, there’s a good chance we’ll see the folding phone from Google announced by the end of 2021 and I still could see that as a reality. A quick post on The Keyword would be more than enough to tease the new phone without detracting form the ongoing Pixel 6 hype.
Do note, however, that I said a teaser by the end of the year. With Android 12L being so squarely targeted at side-by-side, folding screen devices, there’s little reason to think that Google would ship a folding phone of their own before this update is ready for public release.
So, while I think we could still get official news about a Pixel Fold in 2021, I think the timeline for Android 12L is likely a very reliable guide to when we could see the Pixel Fold’s actual release. As a matter of fact, it makes a lot of sense for the two to actually line up pretty closely. Again, Android 12L will be great for other devices, but Google doesn’t exactly have its feet to the fire to deliver this particular update for anything aside from the Pixel Fold.
If that is the case – and we believe it is – I’d fully expect the Pixel Fold to arrive early in 2022 to be the flagship device for this rather-large update to Android 12. After all, Google tends to like having hardware to accompany big Android releases. Android 12L will be out some time in Q1 of 2022, and it feels increasingly obvious that the Google-made foldable will follow. I know we’re all very excited for this, but what about you? Would a folding phone directly from Google be an interesting upgrade? Let us know in the comments.