At yesterday’s Google I/O keynote address, the company shared the first look at Android M with the world, going over some key features and making the first developer preview releases available for Nexus hardware. Plenty of things we had heard rumored over the past few months made an appearance, like granular app permissions and standardized fingerprint reader support. And while not everything we were hoping for saw confirmation, the availability of the Android M dev preview has revealed that one big unannounced feature is indeed lurking under the surface, as support for split-screen apps is uncovered.
While this multi-window mode isn’t available in the Android M preview by default, a little system file editing can enable debug mode and make the option appear in system settings.
And sure enough: it works. That said, if you start playing with it a little it should quickly become apparent why Google didn’t highlight this feature at I/O, as it’s quite buggy for now. But even with the presence of some issues, it’s still a major step forward to see this support functional in stock Android at all, especially with it being rumored for as long as it has been.
Will it be polished up and ready for consumption by the public release of Android M this fall? There are no guarantees, and it very may wait for a future release, but this is still a step in the right direction.