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Android 14 will let your foldable achieve its full dual-screen potential

Pixel Fold's Google Camera and Interpreter Mode on Google Translate already makes use of these changes.
By

Published onNovember 9, 2023

Google Pixel 7a and Pixel Fold opened up on table 1
Kris Carlon / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • Android 14 includes changes that allow third-party app developers to build new foldable experiences, presuming the phone maker incorporates these changes.
  • These new foldable experiences include dual-screen mode, where both displays can be used simultaneously by one app, and rear-screen mode, where the rear screen is used even when the foldable is open.
  • Apps like Google Camera/Pixel Camera and Google Translate use these changes to enable dual-screen mode already.

Foldables are catching the fancy of average consumers, and the category is inching its way toward maturity with every new foldable launched. Foldables are already some of the best Android phones you can buy. The existence of two displays opens up several possibilities for using your phone with your favorite apps. With Android 14, foldables will get better as third-party apps will now be able to make use of both displays simultaneously.

As highlighted by Android Police, Google has updated the window area module in the Jetpack WindowManager support library in Android 14. As long as the phone manufacturer does their homework correctly, third-party app developers can take the help of Jetpack WindowManager and its extension modules to build better foldable apps. These apps will be able to read the hinge position of the foldable (to respond to changes in the folding character) and also be able to show two app activities simultaneously in a multi-pane layout.

In simpler words, Android 14 will allow third-party app developers to build apps that can use the foldable’s inner and outer display simultaneously.

Taking a selfie with a Google Pixel Fold 4
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

We already see apps like the Google Camera/Pixel Camera use a “rear display mode” to show the camera viewfinder on both displays. Google Translate on the Pixel Fold has a special interpreter mode that uses both displays, which is made possible through these new changes.

Google IO 2023 pixel fold interpreter mode
Google

As the report mentions, Google and Samsung have implemented the window area module in their respective Android 14 releases for their foldables. Phone makers have wiggle room and can skip this out depending on certain hardware constraints, so one cannot presume that all Android 14 builds on foldables will enable this functionality. But we hope OEMs include this feature, as it would then allow third-party app developers to build better foldable experiences.