Google has been trying to produce another viable Android tablet operating system on Android 12L, which was launched last October as a developer preview. On Thursday, the tech giant launched the first beta build, which will run on actual hardware in preparation for a final scheduled release later this year.

Although Android 12L runs on real hardware, the initial beta support list does not allow many people to take advantage of the new features. It is currently available for the Pixel 3a, 4a, 5a, 4 and 5, but “users will not be able to see the large screen features on smaller screens.” Moreover, the only tablet it will run on is the Lenovo Tab P12 Pro, which is quite expensive and hard to find. Generic System Image (GSI) might work for other current Android tablets. In terms of development build, the tech giant suggests that the best place to sample the large-screen features of Android 12L is via the Android emulator.

Android 12L and apps optimized for this purpose should be suitable for devices with large screens, be it a tablet, foldable phone or laptop. Google has implemented a new interface for split-screen multitasking and published guidelines for developing multicolour apps for large screens than the large swathes of unused white space that users normally receive when running a phone-sized app on a tablet-sized screen.

If Android tablets do take off, they will succeed in the light of other more prominent folding devices such as Samsung’s Galaxy Fold series or Google’s own rumoured foldable Pixel devices.

ChromeOS devices running Android apps will also benefit from apps that make better use of larger screen space, although ChromeOS’s multitasking capabilities far exceed those of Android 12L.

Google said this will be the first of three planned beta builds, with the final version of Android 12L expected to be released in early 2022.