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Google adds foldable-focused Android developer updates

Things have been a bit quiet on the foldables front of late, but plenty of parties are still bullish about the form factor’s future. Ahead of today’s big I/O kickoff, Samsung (undoubtedly the most bullish of the bunch) posted a bunch of metrics this morning, noting:

The global outlook is just as impressive. This year alone, the foldables market is expected to triple over last year — a year in which Samsung accounted for three out of every four foldable smartphones shipped worldwide.

Part of anticipating growth in the category is ensuring that the software is ready. Samsung has been tweaking things for a while now on its end, and at I/O in 2018, Google announced it would be adding support for foldable screens. Recent rumors have suggested that the company is working on its own foldable Pixel, but even beyond that, it’s probably in the company’s best interest to ensure that Android plays nicely with the form factor.

“We studied how people interact with large screens,” the company said in today’s developer keynote. This includes a variety of different aspects, including where users place their hands while using the device — which can be a bit all over the place when dealing with different applications in different orientations and form factors. Essentially, you don’t want to, say, put buttons where people generally place your hands.

The list of upgrades includes the ability to resize content automatically, without overly stretching it out to fit multiple panels. All of this is no doubt going to be a learning curve as foldables end up in the hands of more users. But at the very least, it signals Google’s continued view of foldables as a growing category. It’s also one of multiple updates today that involve the company working more closely with Samsung.

The two tech giants also announced a joint Wear OS/Tizen play earlier today.




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