Google tips native Android Q for foldable phones, here's how apps will behave


We should "expect to see Foldables coming from several Android manufacturers, including one Samsung previewed today and plans to offer next year," said Google at its Dev Summit yesterday, and even got on stage during Samsung's keynote to explain how Android will adapt to foldable phones.

There will be short-term and long-term adaption, revealed Google's software engineers, and a full native support is coming with... Android Q, as you can see in the slides below, and that's the first time Google mentions the next Android 10 version in any context.


Apparently, Android Q which should be announced next summer, will take the Android P optimizations for foldable phones that were announced yesterday to a system-wide level, and include support for dual-screen phones as well. 

For now, Google will support things like starting a YouTube video on the external Cover Display and continue watching where you left off on the larger, internal screen when you open it. You can see how this feat will be achieved in practice in Google's GIF image above, where it has sketched it for bendy handset concepts of both the in-folding and out-folding types.


Two screens, one at a time


Samsung has apparently gotten Google so worked up about the possibilities of the new form factor that the team from Mountain View partnered with the team from Seoul on developing the interface adjustments for Samsung's first foldable phone that will be released next year. 


The necessary 7.3" Infinity Flex display will enter mass production "in the coming months," and when unfurled, it will make the smaller Cover Display on the outside go dark to save on battery. In other words, only one of the two screens will be working at a time, for those who are worried about the dual-display concept's impact on battery life.


App continuity, transitions, and multi-resume


When you start using an app on the Cover Display of Samsung's folded Gumby phone, it behaves just like a normal panel on a compact 5-incher, says Google, but open it up, and the continuity magic happens:



In addition, Google had to work on Samsung's Multi-active Window idea which splits the internal screen in half, and then the right side gets split in two as well, for a total of three apps that can be run independently at once. Currently, two of those will remain paused when the foldable gets open unless both the app developer and the phone maker "opt in" for a multi-resume. A tweak coming down the pike in Android P will leave the manufacturer to flag all visible apps, while multi-resume will be mandatory in Android Q. 



Flipboard is on board



Google is giving a YouTube app continuity example, of course, but third-party developers have already started optimizing their relevant apps for the new foldable form factors. First in line are the ever-crafty devs from the Flipboard news app. Its entire premise is for users to, well, flip through article content as they would through a paper and bendy handsets are like a match in heaven for them to take the idea even further.


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10 Comments

1. Fred3

Posts: 583; Member since: Jan 16, 2018

This is what 2019 is gonna be. Also Android phones looking for a work around instead of the notch

2. steodoreben

Posts: 379; Member since: Sep 26, 2013

This is amazing. We'll entering a new smartphone era. I think Samsung will release three types of smartphones that folds, rolls and stretches. Infinity Flex Display: Infinity O, Infinity U and Infinity V. In addition, a new infinity display will be announced probably for the Galaxy S10. Less bezel than the previous one. I appreciate Apple's iOS, FaceID and A12/A12X but they were lagging behind.

3. Vokilam

Posts: 1369; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

That multi windows looks exactly like my iPads iOS multi window.

8. BlackhawkFlys

Posts: 930; Member since: May 07, 2014

That multi-window of your iPad's iOS looks exactly like my good old Samsung Galaxy S3's multi-window or my good old LG Optimus G's good old multi-window.

4. ahmadkun

Posts: 663; Member since: May 02, 2016

Finally.. something interesting going on..

5. Sparkxster

Posts: 1245; Member since: Mar 31, 2017

These new foldable phones are very exciting!

6. 47AlphaTango

Posts: 739; Member since: Sep 27, 2015

LOL! Why only youtube? How good is the display when playing games or watching downloaded contents on a fully square display?

9. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1584; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

Same aspect as the iPad and some Android tablets.

7. Nimbus

Posts: 442; Member since: Apr 02, 2018

Msft need to follow this trend if they don't want to miss out this new innovation in mobile market again this a good time to lead their windows against google android,chrome os and fushcia os and apple ios & mac os.They can come out with foldable windows phones against foldable androids and ios phones.

10. odachek

Posts: 131; Member since: Sep 01, 2012

Yes, and consumers must believe that this is very practical, and have plenty of space to put up front cameras, let's do this and wake up from notches.

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