Earlier this week, it was revealed that Google’s engineers are already working on baked-in split-screen multitasking support for Android. This was after the Pixel C team opened an AMA on Reddit to offer potential and existing customers the opportunity to pick their brains. Unsurprisingly, the topic of split-screen came up more than once. While some OEMs, like Samsung and LG, have built the feature in to their Android skins, Google is yet to bake it in to the core Android software.
According to some of Android Geeks‘ “reliable sources“, split-screen multitasking will come in June with the release of Android 6.1 Marshmallow, along with better app permissions. While we don’t doubt that Google could bring the feature in to its next major ‘dot’ update, we’re a little skeptical of the release time-frame. It seems a little late in the software release cycle to push a major new feature in June. Saying that, Google doesn’t exactly stick religiously to any annual cycles for ‘dot’ updates. Last year, Android 5.1 was released near the beginning of March this year. The year previous, there was no major ‘dot’ refresh. KitKat started as 4.4, and got its last minor update in June 2014. There’s always the possibility that it could use June’s Google I/O conference to hype up a feature which should have been there from the beginning.
It’s been argued for years that Google isn’t taking the tablet market seriously with its Android operating system. While that’s mostly down to third-party developers not creating versions of apps optimized for the bigger screens, it also has a lot to do with the fact that its tablet OS doesn’t really offer anything extra over its smartphone software. With the Pixel C’s impressive hardware, the pain of not having multitasking windows is even more obvious. Google has released an incredible tablet, but with dumbed-down software. Hopefully, with 6.1 (whenever that comes), that will change.