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Android will soon offer multi-resume functionality

Developers can enable multi-resume for their apps in Android 9 Pie. (Source: Android Developers Blog)
Developers can enable multi-resume for their apps in Android 9 Pie. (Source: Android Developers Blog)
Google said that it will now allow developers to keep apps in multiple windows in a resumed state simultaneously in Android 9 Pie. Developers just need to add the required meta-data to their app's manifest to opt-in. Multi-resume is part of a series of developments to make Android more friendly to foldable screens. Although this feature cannot be tested in current devices, OEMs are expected to push out OS updates that will enable developers to test out this functionality for their apps soon.

Google is getting itself (and us) ready for the inevitable foldable future and has announced a series of measures being taken to make Android more foldable display-friendly. We've already reported about Android's screen continuity feature that was announced alongside Samsung's Infinity Flex display at SDC 2018. Now, Google has detailed two new features — multi-resume and multi-display that should help offer native OS-level support for flexible displays. 

Google says that many apps are not handling the OnPause state according to recommendations, which is causing them to delay data such as instant messages or pause video streams. OnPause is a state that helps apps be ready for response even though they are not in focus in a multi-window scenario. To ease the situation for developers, Google is now allowing all apps to be kept in a resumed state in multi-windows in Android 9 Pie. Developers can opt-in to this behavior by simply including this meta-data in the app manifest. 

<meta-data android:name="android.allow_multiple_resumed_activities" android:value="true" />

Currently there are no devices to test out this behavior but OEMs are expected to push out updates to their devices to allow developers to test their apps.

Another feature that will appeal to multi-taskers is multi-display. For activities that support multi-windows, users can now move the activity from one display to the other. The app can also specify the display the activity should run on. 

With OEMs such as Samsung trying to make the best use of powerful SoCs and with the flexibility offered by foldable displays, the ability to truly multi-task on a mobile device has improved drastically. Here's hoping OEMs improve their Android update cadence so that users can reap the maximum benefits of the new functionality.


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Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2018-11-12 (Update: 2018-11-12)