Google's New Android 12L Update For Large Screens Arrives On Samsung Galaxy Tab S8

Tab S8 Ultra
High-end Android tablets are few and far between these days, but Google is finally taking large screen devices seriously. It added a raft of new tablet features to the OS this year, and now they're actually available on a tablet in the form of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 series. These devices have just gotten an update to Android 12L with the latest One UI 4.1.1 update.

Because Google has only recently decided to acknowledge large-screen devices like tablets exist again, it doesn't have any of its own Android slates to demo the new features unveiled in Spring 2022. The Pixel Tablet was pre-announced at Google I/O this year, but it won't launch until 2023. That leaves Samsung as one of the only purveyors of high-end Android tablets, and therefore, the first glimpse most of us will get at Android 12L in its large-screen form.

One UI 4.1.1 is currently rolling out on the Galaxy Tab S8, S8+, and S8 Ultra in Europe and South Korea. The OTA, which also includes the latest August security patches, will expand to other regions soon. When it does arrive, you'll be able to take advantage of the latest Android multitasking features, bolstered with Samsung's multi-window enhancements.

The taskbar feature that debuted with the Galaxy Z Fold4 – which is essentially a tiny tablet in your pocket – is available in the new software. The taskbar sits at the bottom of your screen to provide access to your favorite and recently used apps. With a tap, you can open them in split-screen or pop-up mode. There's also a new two-finger gesture to toggle between full-screen and split modes. A simpler multitasking bar is available in stock Android 12L, but Samsung's version is much more functional.

z fold4 taskbar
The Samsung taskbar, as seen on the Z Fold4.

When the OTA does arrive on your tablet, it will also include updates to a number of Samsung's apps, including My Files and Samsung Internet. The file manager has the ability to search within documents and text files, plus new search result filters. The browser has better bookmark sorting. The Edge Panel, which has similar functionality to the taskbar is also getting some new tricks. It will allow you to display app names under icons, and you can choose to open apps from the panel in either split-screen or floating window mode.

We've checked and confirmed that you can't get the OTA in the US just yet. It's common for Samsung to begin its OTA in its home territory and a few other smaller markets before moving on to the US. It shouldn't be long before access expands globally. As Samsung's latest and most premium Android tablets, these devices will also get an update to Android 13 in the coming months.
Tags:  Samsung, Android, tablets