Android 13 Beta 1 is whipping its big screen taskbar mode into shape

The taskbar app drawer finally shows app suggestions, potentially hinting at upcoming big screen devices from Google itself

Android 13 Beta 1 has finally landed—we almost thought it wouldn’t make the cut ahead of Google I/O 2022 given that the company was a bit behind schedule. While Google hasn’t announced too much for this release, there are many new things hidden in this version. Among them is a change for big screen devices that brings their app drawer up to par with the standard launcher, with it finally receiving the familiar old intelligent suggestions at the top.

Regular app launcher vs the new big screen app launcher in Android 13

To understand what is happening here, we need to back up just a little bit. Android 12L introduced a new layout for big screen devices like tablets and foldables that includes a taskbar at the bottom. You can even activate this interface on a regular Pixel phone by lowering its DPI, which is what you can see in the screenshot on the right above. However, this big screen app drawer was lacking a top row of intelligent, context-based app suggestions that has long become standard on Pixel phones. as spotted by Esper.io’s Mishaal Rahmanthe app drawer in Android 13 Beta 1 fixes that and finally adds the familiar context-based suggestions to the top row of the big screen launcher.

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While this doesn’t necessarily have to mean anything, Google’s interest in bringing this big screen launcher up to par with the regular Pixel one could mean that the company has some big screen device of its own in the works that will take advantage of the interface—maybe the rumored Pixel Fold or the mysterious Nest Hub tablet crossover. After all, this addition isn’t any good for the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 and more devices from other manufactures since they all use their own launchers and skins.

If you want to dig deeper yourself, you can install the Android 13 beta on your supported Pixel phone, but if that’s too adventurous for you, be sure to check out everything new we’ve found in Android 13 so far.


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