Android 13 has new taskbar and multi-window features just for PCs
After many years of neglect, Google has finally started to pay attention to Android on large-screen devices. The recent Android 12L update (also known as Android 12.1) added a taskbar and updated layouts for tablets and foldables, and now Android 13 is building upon that with new interface tweaks specifically for Android running on desktop and laptop computers.
Android isn’t incredibly common on PCs, outside of embedded runtimes on Chrome OS and Windows, which usually hide most of the system design. That isn’t stopping Google from adding a few improvements to the PC experience on Android 13, though. The app taskbar, which was added in Android 12L, now has buttons on the right side for opening the notifications panel and quick settings.
The new PC design is much closer to the design of Android 3.0 Honeycomb and some 4.x releases, with the quick settings and notifications along the bottom of the screen. However, those earlier releases of Android didn’t show all your open apps on the taskbar. Also, Android 13 on PCs still has a status bar at the top of the screen, where the quick settings and notifications can also be accessed.
Android 13 Developer Preview 2 also apparently opens all applications in freeform multi-window mode by default, instead of stretching them to cover the entire screen. Multi-window support has been present in Android since the release of 7.0 Nougat, but opening apps in multi-window mode still requires diving into the Developer options or setting your home screen launcher to third-party apps like Taskbar.
The new changes will certainly be helpful for people running Android on PCs — such as through the unofficial Android x86 distribution — but I hope these design elements eventually show up on large tablets too. Samsung just released the massive 14.6-inch Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra, which could certainly benefit from design changes intended for PCs, even though Samsung’s own DeX interface is a functional alternative.