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Android 12’s hidden app pair feature is incomplete, but shows promise



In case you missed the flood of news last week, Google released the first preview of Android 12 developers, and we & # 39; re very excited about all the changes we & # 39; ve found so far. One of the changes we heard about before the release was a feature called App Pairs. Through our own sources and code analysis of Android 12 Developer Preview 1, we can confirm that the feature is actually under development. We have even managed to play with it in its unfinished state.

As a background, App Pairs is a new feature in development for Android 12 that allows you to create a couple of apps to be launched in split screen view at the same time. This app pair then works as a task instead of two, which makes it easy to restart both apps in split screen view after entering the latest app overview. You̵

7;ll find a similar feature in Samsung’s Android software (it debuted on the Galaxy Note 8) and on Microsoft’s dual-screen Duo, but Google’s version of the software will be available for all devices running Android 12, provided it does so. stable release.

By using a hidden shell command, we managed to play around with the App Pairs feature a bit, but it still has a long way to go before it can be used. First, while the two apps are treated as a single task, they are not actually grouped in the latest app overview. There is no way yet (as far as we can tell) to create a shortcut on the home screen to launch an app pair, but curiously, launching one of the two apps in the pair will actually restart the app pair.

While third-party options that develop Francisco Barroso’s “Split Screen Launcher” currently provide a superior user interface, they rely on Android’s built-in APIs to launch activities manually in split-screen mode one by one. In addition, the apps are not grouped together, so they are still treated as two separate tasks. This means that the app pair is not only a little slow to start, but that the activities must be updated if they are restarted. A Google-made first-party implementation for all Android 12 devices will definitely be appreciated.

By comparison, here’s a video showing my device launching an app pair created by the “Split Screen Launcher” app:

And here’s a video showing my device launching an app pair created by Android 12’s App Pairs feature:

How to create app pairs in Android 12 Developer Preview 1

To try to create an app pair yourself, you need to download and then install the first Android 12 Developer Preview. Then type the ADB shell into a terminal or prompt on your PC and run the following shell command:

dumpsys activity service SystemUIService WMShell pair {taskId1} {taskId2}

where {taskId1} and {taskId2} are the task IDs of the two apps you want to group. You can find taskIds from the “dumpsys activity” output. After running this command, it creates a new task for the app pair. To disconnect these apps, run this command:

dumpsys activity service SystemUIService WMShell unpair {taskId}

The image shown is simply a mockup and is not representative of how App pairs can look in Android 12.


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