We've known for ages that Google is working on bringing multi-window mode to Android, and it's finally happening in Android N. As part of the new developer preview, you can start playing around with apps in split-screen and picture-in-picture modes. Developers will have to add support by targeting Android N (and later), but it sounds like Android itself will handle all the heavy lifting.


Developers will have to allow the multi-window attribute, which should let the app to work in split-screen mode. You'll be able to adjust the size of each side of the split as well. Devs can set minimum allowable dimensions that prevent you from scaling something below a certain point where the UI might break. All the UI scaling should work on its own, assuming an app can handle devices of different resolutions and landscape/portrait switching. You'll be able to activate split-screen in supported apps via a button in the overview screen (see below).


I think much more interesting is the option for picture-in-picture mode, which is a separate feature for developers to support. This essentially allows a windowed app to float around the UI. Google uses the example of a video player for picture-in-picture mode, however it explains this in the context of TV but also mentions "larger devices." Hopefully picture-in-picture will at least work on tablets and TVs.


Google's own apps will probably have support for multi-window, but it'll take time for third-party devs to get their apps updated. There are more details on the Android developer site.

Google's full picture-in-picture overview says this feature is for Android TV, which would be incredibly lame. It's just a preview, so I guess we'll see.