Google is reportedly experimenting with a new split-screen feature for Android devices, according to tech blog Android Police.
The blog claims to have seen this feature firsthand, and published a handful of screenshot mockups to illustrate the experience.
Android Police says it viewed a demonstration of this split-screen mode on a 4:3 Android tablet, but it seems like it would work on any Android device.
Google is said to have experimented with this feature toward the end of 2013 and early 2014, so there’s no telling when (or if) it will launch.
While this feature would be new for many Android devices, Samsung has been implementing a multi-window mode on its Galaxy phones since 2012. LG also includes a mode called QSlide that lets you open multiple apps in separate windows on its newer smartphones.
Here’s a quick look at what Google’s version might look like.
Users will be able to open two apps at a time. In the image below, you’ll notice one side displays a news article while the other shows your recent apps.
You’ll also be able to drag certain items such as photos or snippets of text between windows.
If you only want to open one app but still view the home screen, you could scale apps to only take up a portion of the display.
You would still be able to use the “OK Google” hot word to launch a voice-enabled search, too. The search bar would pop up on whichever side of the screen isn’t being occupied by an app.
Android Police’s walkthrough emerges just as other reports have suggested Google is trying to take back control of the Android platform from partners like Samsung. The Information recently reported that Google is changing up the contracts it issues its partners, requiring them to include more Google apps in prominent places on the Home screen.
Google was previously working on a program called Android Silver that would, in a sense, re-brand stock Android phones. Google would pay some of its partners to build high-end smartphones that would be marketed as Google phones and ship with stock Android, but that program, as of last month, is “on hold.”
But even if Android Silver never comes to fruition, bringing one of Samsung’s best features to stock Android could be a great way to lure potential Galaxy phone buyers over to something like a Nexus phone.
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