Google has finally added in a split-screen feature in Android N, taking the potential productivity up a notch on every Android device that can run the version such as the Pixel C.
Straight off the bat, it should be noted that Samsung already offered the feature on its devices, and when the Pixel C's arrival was announced, practically everyone keeping tabs on it expected it to have the multitasking capability as well. Just to be clear, it didn't, but that won't be an issue any longer when Android N rolls out.
At this point, it's only a developer preview, and Google naturally warns users that it's "not intended for daily use or consumer use." On that note, however, this is the first time that the company makes things easier for everyone to test it out, as it's an over-the-air update this time around. Anyone who wants to get in on the action can simply head on over to the beta page and sign up.
The devices that are compatible with it include the Nexus 6, Nexus 9, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel C and General Mobile 4G (Android One).
To reiterate, the Android N feature that made the headlines is the split-screen mode, but there's another one in the mix: the picture-in-picture mode, which is already a standard feature on the Apple iOS 9.
Now, the method to start up multiple windows is similar to how it's done on Samsung devices. The user will have to pull up the recent apps and tap on a button next to the close button of an app in the list.
Users can also copy a piece of text or image from one window and paste it on a field on the other window. For the text, they just have to highlight what they want to copy, tap and hold it and then drag it.
It still needs some work here and there, particularly how the keyboard gets in the way of the whole experience. On top of that, it doesn't work on that many apps yet, but nevertheless, it's a good step forward.
It's also worth mentioning that there's a possibility that smartphone makers such as Samsung and Huawei will modify their respective software to accommodate what Android N brought to the table, making their user interfaces a bit lighter. That's not set in stone, though.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, and it's safe to expect a lot more at Google's 2016 I/O developer conference in May.