Ooh, this is a really big deal.

Ooh, this is a really big deal. I hadn’t gleaned this change from the keynote. Multiple tasks per app would be nice for transiently “bookmarking” reference content, like having more than one PDF open in Adobe Reader at once. This would be much better than every app re-inventing tabbed content.

Originally shared by Jean-Baptiste “JBQ” Quéru

Document-Centric Android

There’s a big change in Android L that I haven’t seen mentioned much: Android is moving away from an app-centric toward a document-centric one.

Here’s what I mean: in Android, until KitKat, there can be a single task rooted in each app. This has been true since the very first version. This is changing in L. We’ve seen some of that in the keynote where Chrome can display multiple pages in the task switcher, but this seems to go deeper.

At the technical level, in addition to what was shows in the “What’s New in Android” session at I/O, FLAG_ACTIVITY_CLEAR_WHEN_TASK_RESET got renamed as FLAG_ACTIVITY_NEW_DOCUMENT, and the behavior changed. This might actually be changing the behavior of exiting apps into automatically supporting multiple tasks automatically, which could actually be disruptive for such apps if they’re not implemented accordingly.

At a user level, this is probably going to be a fairly minor change for now outside of what was shown for Chrome, but it opens up more possibilities for Android to evolve, like split-screen mechanisms that allow multiple instances of the same app, or windowed systems like Google showed with Android apps running on ChromeOS.