Mention of multi-window functionality found in Android code commit

by: Jimmy WestenbergMarch 10, 2015

galaxy s4 vs optimus g pro aa s4 multi window

Google has just announced Android 5.1 Lollipop, which brings HD voice support, a new Device Protection mode and a number of bug fixes to the mobile OS. If you’re thinking that the enhancements made in 5.1 don’t satisfy enough of your needs, you may want to be patient. Google seems to have a bigger feature in the works, which will possibly make its debut in a future version of Android.

In a new discovery found in an AOSP framework commit, Google references the term “multiwindows” numerous times. As you can see from the image below, the Android commit doesn’t unveil too many details regarding the new multi-window functionality. It references a bug caused by tapping outside of the “stack boundary”, but details beyond that are few and far between.

AOSP multi-window

Other than this screenshot, we unfortunately have no other clues as to what this will bring to Android. As for a timeframe? Google I/O is coming up in May, so there’s a possibility we could hear something about it then. However, that’s all just speculation at this point.

While TouchWiz may not be everyone’s favorite Android skin, Samsung has proven that its multi-window functionality can be extremely useful in some cases – especially on devices with large screens. This could really benefit Google’s Nexus 6, seeing as how the handset barely has any features that take advantage of its giant screen.

So what do you think, could you get some use out of a multi-window feature if it came to AOSP?

  • BossHog of Green Hill

    If stock gets multi window, I’ll go there.

    • Chris

      It’s always the case. Stock always adds features found in skins and third party launchers,.,,. Those who hate skins are now loving them because of said features

      • George S

        The way I see it is skins features make devices perform worse and cause a lot of battery drain. I experienced this with the multiple Samsung phones I owned. Google waits to put these features in to stock because they need to perfect it so that it no longer slows down the device and also they wait until there’s hardware which makes it so that it doesn’t lag and there’s very little or no extra battery drain as a result. Just like the paranoid android rom developers wait until a feature is fully stable before putting it in to their rom google is waiting until features won’t slow down the system and wont cause battery drain before putting them in to stock android

        • Chris

          I get a full day of battery with my m8 do skins (tbh they arn’t skins they are special versions of Android) are no longer an issue.

          Google is just to lazy and wants to be like apple with out skins android would not be where it is today

          • Hunter Miller

            It’s a skin. And HTC is different their skin is actually nice and not bloated with features like Samsung devices

          • Hunter Miller

            And Google is nothing like Apple. And I wouldn’t say google wouldn’t be anywhere without skins. Samsung’s skin is the only skin people have probably seen. Since HTC barely makes any money and same with Sony. I haven’t seen anyone with an HTC recently

          • Chris

            Clearly you missed the evo 4G days

          • Hunter Miller

            And that’s back when android wasn’t big. Samsung helped make Android big and that’s probably the skin most people see. I prefer HTC skin but they are barley selling any phones and the m9 looks nice but it’s just a m8 with updated specs

          • VAVA Mk2

            Features are good which skins add but in a lot of cases the skins themselves look worse or can slow down performance.

        • IPhart 6 bendgate

          Skin cause battery drainage? I wonder why the note4 have a better battery life than the nexus 6 with similar MAH battery?

        • What?

        • Chris

          Maybe in 2011 but not anymore

      • VAVA Mk2

        I don’t like skins. I like some of the features some skins add, but I still hate the skins.

    • galaxyNote4isBoss

      Here comes the BOOTLEG VERSION of multiwindow what Google should focus on is the putrid battery life on every Nexus product including that fake wanna be phablet called the Nexus 6. It’s sad how the Iphone 6 plus trumps the Nexus 6 in battery life so easily and the battery is smaller in the iphone 6 plus.

      Meanwhile home at the range the Galaxy Note 4 the GOLD STANDARD of phablets tops both the Nexus 6 and Iphone 6 plus in battery life it’s not even a contest. Google will never get right features from manufacturers especially Samsung features. The Galaxy S6 Edge and Note 5 for me in 2015.

      • VAVA Mk2

        SOME of the added features of Touch Wiz are nice but it is general consensus that it is the ugliest of the Android skins and in the past at least the most bloated.

      • squiddy20

        1. The phrase is “home on the range”. Which still doesn’t even make sense on the context you used it in. Because you’re an idiot.

        2. Yeah, just because a competitor makes a similar product/offering means it’s a “bootleg”. Under that logic, I guess all of the Galaxy S phones are “bootlegs” of the iPhone since they still look quite similar.

  • Jonathan Rosado

    I really need this on my nexus 6

  • Kevin Kuo

    Marshmallow! Here I come!

  • crutchcorn

    Oh thank god! :) SO glad to hear of this!

  • David Onter

    I think they should leave this to manufacturers and their skins. Don’t need that feature, makes things more complicated and is, at least for me, bloat…

  • primalxconvoy

    “While TouchWiz may not be everyone’s favorite Android skin, Samsung has proven that its multi-window functionality can be extremely useful in some cases – especially on devices with large screens.”

    Really? As a Note 2 power user, I’ve found it next to useless, when when I’ve connected my phone to a monitor via the Galaxy Smart Media Dock. The lack of support for most of my office and productivity apps being the main reason that I’ve never bothered with it. Instead, I use a “Notification Manager” , which allows me to switch between appa fairly well.

    Anyway, of Android features full windowed apps, l be happy!

    • Chris

      If only the world revolved around you…

      • nexusninja

        apparently it revolves around me too because I agree with primal.

  • I have actually used the multi-window on Note 4 and Note 3 and can vouch for it. I have actually written about it on my blog as well. An extremely useful and practical feature which is bound to grow in the future. I can see that Google has realised the importance of it and going to include it in their handsets as well. The question remains if the experience is optimised and does not result in a significant battery drain etc. Way to go Android.

  • roberthenderson

    at first I didn’t really like the Nexus 6. I think it is too expensive for the amount of storage and the camera quality. That said, it is a better phone than my Galaxy Note 3 as far as the screen, the processor and having front facing speakers is absolutely huge for me. I also just found out that it is water resistant And has USB 2.0 quick charging so I don’t have to worry quite as much about a non removable battery. I still need to investigate how much a battery replacement will cost though. While I am still ticked off that there is only 64 gigabytes of storage, I may actually consider this phone if it ever gets a bit of a discount. haha, I forgot the original intent of my comment. I use multi window quite often with my note 3. not having it isn’t quite a deal breaker, but it is seriously inconvenient and makes no sense not being on the Nexus 6 or any phone with a large screen. Please excuse any errors as this was voice dictated.