With tablet sales dwindling, Google and other manufacturers have been looking for ways to boost demand. They are trying is to make the devices function more like laptops via attachable keyboards and other features that can help users accomplish workday tasks.
It’s something that Microsoft and Apple already offer. Google aims to keep pace with Microsoft and Apple by adding a way for Android tablet users to view and work with two apps side-by-side. By allowing multitasking, split screen lets a tablet better emulate the experience of a PC.
Split screen is in the works for next year’s major upgrade to Android to version 7.0. Google is working hard on a range of enhancements for Android in this form factor.
Split screen has been available on Windows tablets via a feature called Snap Assist for Windows 8 debuted in 2012. Users can open one app and then snap a second app onto the screen, viewing them both at the same time. Windows 10 enhanced the feature by adding the ability to snap up to four apps on the screen at the same time.
Apple got into the split-screen game with the release of its iOS 9 software in September. Displaying two apps together, the Split View feature was available for this year’s iPad Pro and the iPad Mini 4 as well as last year’s iPad Air 2.
Google is going to officially implement ‘split screen’ as a feature of the OS for tablet users. This follows the launch of the Pixel C, which was the first tablet to be designed directly by Google. The Pixel C is the first tablet ever designed by Google itself, and with its keyboard attachment could have demonstrated Android’s potential as an operating system for productivity.
Unfortunately, while the tablet does come with a keyboard for productivity, the lack of features in the OS hinders Android for those who would potentially want to use the Pixel C as a laptop replacement for work purposes. However, the team behind the tablet know this and are working on it.