Opinion: Snapped apps with Android L and Nexus 9

(Image Credit: Jesús Belzunce Gómez)

Since Windows 8, Microsoft has included a side-by-side "snap" mode to enhance what tasks can be achieved on a tablet. This is something which was later implemented by Samsung on their Android mobile devices (albeit with a different approach.)

Such a feature would help launch the device and new OS to fanfare, and be a strong differentiator against Apple's market-dominating iPad.

Google has yet to feature side-by-side multitasking in stock Android, but the OS has implemented basic inter-app functionality since 2012 to perform tasks using third-party apps. This is a feature which was added to Apple's iOS 8 this year called "extensibility".

Out of the "thermonuclear war" between Android and iOS, it looked like Apple's mobile operating system would be the first to add side-by-side apps. Sources in the lead-up to iOS 8's launch reported the company was preparing to debut the Surface-like feature (as shown below by 9to5Mac.)

Terence Tuhinanshu found a "windowed mode" for the Google+ and photos app in the Android L preview on his Nexus 7 which shows a floating panel in portrait view. It is clear evidence that Google is at least working on windows which could exist side-by-side in landscape on bigger devices.

Speaking of devices, now would mark a convenient time for Google to announce this new functionality due to the impending reveal announcement of the HTC-made Nexus 9. Such a feature would help launch the device and new OS to fanfare, and be a strong differentiator against Apple's market-dominating iPad.

More solid evidence of Google's side-by-side ambitions is provided thanks to Android Police who revealed the web giant's multi-window experimentation from the end of 2013 to the start of 2014. The system works by allowing the user to open their "recent apps" multi-tasking menu and swipe either to the left or right to snap the app to the corresponding side.

The combination of Tuhinanshu's recent finding, Android Police's evidence of Google's work into side-by-side multitasking, and the convenient timing of Google's flagship tablet is lending credence to our theory that we'll see the debut of this anticipated feature sooner-rather-than-later...

Are you ready for side-by-side multitasking in Android? Let us know in the comments.

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