This week in Tech: Android 12L, new mid-range Qualcomm chips, Facebook rebranding, and more

After last week’s frenzy, this week in tech was a little relaxed. Even then, we saw a few significant announcements, like Google announcing Android 12L, Qualcomm releasing four new mid-range chips, and Facebook changing its name. If you missed any of our coverage, here’s a brief recap of all the noteworthy developments in the tech world this week.

Android 12L announced

At the Android Dev Summit this week, Google officially announced Android 12L — a feature drop purpose-built for large screen devices. We had previously seen Android 12L in the wild, but at the time, we referred to it as Android 12.1. However, Google has now confirmed that the feature drop will be called Android 12L, but the company is yet to reveal what the ‘L’ stands for.

Android 12L graphic on Android 12 easter egg backgroundAndroid 12L graphic on Android 12 easter egg background

Android 12L brings a host of new features to enhance the Android experience on large-screen devices like foldables, tablets, and Chromebooks. It packs several UI refinements that improve how the operating system utilizes the extra screen real estate, a new taskbar to give users quick access to apps, split-screen mode improvements, and letterboxing improvements.

Google has already rolled out the first Android 12L developer preview. The company plans to release three beta updates over the next few months and a stable build before the end of Q1 2022. While the update is purpose-built for large-screen devices, it will also roll out to Google’s Pixel lineup.

New developer tools

With Android 12L, Google aims to improve the Android experience on large-screen devices as a whole. So it has also released various tools to help developers build responsive apps that work well on foldables, tablets, and Chromebooks. The company has added reference devices to Android Studio, a Layout validation tool, and a resizable emulator.

Material Design guidance for large screen devicesMaterial Design guidance for large screen devices

Google has also introduced new WindowManager APIs to help developers build responsive UIs for their apps that adjust to any screen size. The WindowManager library includes Activity embedding, Window Size Classes, and a common API surface for window features like folds and hinges.

Qualcomm 7, 6, & 4 series chips

Qualcomm announced four new mid-range chips this week — the Snapdragon 778G Plus 5G, Snapdragon 695 5G, Snapdragon 680 4G, and Snapdragon 480 Plus 5G. The Snapdragon 778G Plus 5G is a small step above the Snapdragon 778G with faster CPU and GPU performance. The Snapdragon 695 5G succeeds the Snapdragon 690 from last year and features mmWave 5G support, 30% faster graphics rendering, and 15% improved CPU performance.

The Snapdragon 680 is a new mid-range chipset for 4G smartphones. It’s based on Qualcomm’s Kryo 265 CPU cores and features the Adreno 610 GPU. Lastly, the Snapdragon 480 Plus 5G is a slightly improved version of the Snapdragon 480 from earlier this year, featuring better CPU and GPU performance than the previous model.

Facebook is now Meta

During its Connect event this week, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg confirmed the company’s new branding. “We are at the beginning of the next chapter for the internet and it’s the next chapter for our company too…To reflect who we are and the future we hope to build, I’m proud to share that our company is now Meta,” Zuckerberg said in a blog post.

In addition to Facebook’s new name, we also learned that the social media giant is working on a smartwatch to rival the Apple Watch. Check out the leaked render in our previous coverage.

Other stories you shouldn’t miss

Along with these announcements, we share the following stories that you shouldn’t miss:

XDA’s thoughts on the latest hardware and software

In addition, we published editorials, reviews, first impressions, and comparisons for several new devices and software this week. You can check those out by following the links below:

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