As part of its folding screen initiative, Google is also working on a native desktop mode for Android via support for multiple (and external) displays.
Desktop modes such as Samsung’s Dex has been available for some years now, and as is common Google is now planning to fold these features into Android natively.
Google’s Andrii Kulian, Software Engineer on the Android Framework WindowManager Team working on Multi-Display, discussed this feature at length in a session called “Build Apps for Foldable, Multi-Display, and Large-Screen Devices.”
“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,” he notes.
Google has added support for displaying the keyboard on external screens and support for 3rd party launchers on secondary screens.
Apps will need to support multiple instances and developers can already test their apps on secondary screens by enabling the “force desktop mode.”
If you own a Google Pixel, you can try desktop mode by enabling a simulated display in Developer Options. On other devices with support for display out over HDMI, you can try desktop mode if you have a USB-C to HDMI adapter. On the Essential Phone, the new desktop mode in Android Q will show up simply by plugging it into a monitor.
See the session below:
With native desktop mode coming to more Android handsets, this will likely lead to at least some increased adoption of this feature.