Android Q, the bespoke mobile operating system for Google’s folding screen devices also comes with another feature that ought to impress developers. A native desktop mode when using your Android device with an external display.
Android desktop mode has been available on a number of devices prior to the launch of the folding devices. The Samsung Dex is one good such example, and it has been around for years. Now, Google wants to bring this feature natively on Android.
“Foldable phones may have several screens, but you can also find multi-display in cars, in phones connected to larger screens in desktop mode, in Chrome OS, and so on,” said Andril Kulian, a Software Engineer on the Android Framework WindowManager Team that is working on Multi-Display.
On top of the native desktop mode, Google has also added support for keyboard display on the display and third-party launchers on the second screen. Apps that will use this feature need to support multiple instances. Already some devs are forcing desktop mode onto their app.
If you have a Google Pixel phone, you can try out the Android desktop mode by enabling a simulated display in the Developer Options. Alternatively, you can hook up your device to a display screen such as TV using an HDMI; if you have a HDMI adapter or USB-C.
Owners of the Essential Phone can also have the desktop mode activated when they connect their device to an external monitor.