TechnologyWill Android's desktop mode eventually turn smartphones into desktop PCs?

Will Android’s desktop mode eventually turn smartphones into desktop PCs?

Did you know ? Since Android 10, Google’s operating system has included a “desktop mode” which transforms the smartphone (more or less) into a desktop PC. Intended mainly for developers, this display is gaining interest with the latest Android 14 beta.

The power of smartphones is such that these devices can compete with PCs for many tasks — in fact, the smartphone is often the only computer for many users. But why not follow through with the idea and actually make your smartphone a desktop computer?

Smartphone or desktop PC, why choose?

For several years now, Samsung has offered its DeX system, a charging base on which to place the smartphone; simply connect a monitor via HDMI. The keyboard and mouse can communicate via Bluetooth with the phone. The display then switches to an interface that resembles a desktop OS. Google is not to be outdone: since 2019 and Android 10, a desktop mode displays the operating system in an interface designed for large screens, and easier to handle with traditional devices.

Read Android Q could turn your smartphone into a PC, at will

But this function was not intended for the general public; Google reserved it for developers to test their applications in multi-screen configurations. Things pretty much stayed there until Android 13, which improved window management to view and control multiple apps on the screen.

Beta 2.1 of Android 14 QPR3 (Quarterly Platform Release) available since April 1 significantly improves the operation of desktop mode, as we have seen Android Authority. Apps now include a handle which, after a click, presents a menu allowing you to switch to windowed mode (freeform), split screen, or full screen.

In windowed mode, applications have a title bar with their name and icon, a button to maximize the window and to close it. The window can be moved freely on the screen, it is also possible to resize it. Moving the window to one half of the screen pins the app to that location.

We are still far from a window manager as complete as what Windows or macOS can offer! But desktop mode brings Android closer to a richer desktop OS, although it still lacks a competent launcher or extensive keyboard shortcut support. It is in any case an additional brick in the general public support of an office mode: the video output of the USB-C port of the Pixel 8 supports DisplayPort, allowing the smartphone to easily project a wired video copy onto a external screen.

Google could take advantage of its next Google I/O conference on May 14 to unveil an even more efficient office mode in Android 15… and open to all users.

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Source :

Android Authority

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