Widgets have been around on Android since… well, forever, since it was basically one of Android’s very first features. And iOS was constantly scorned for lacking support for widgets until iOS 14 came around, and that was just last year. But iOS widgets work a tad bit differently than how Android widgets work. In iOS, you can actually create what’s called “widget stacks”, which allows you to stack a lot of widgets in the same place to save space, and swiping between them. In Android, on the other hand, every widget will take up its own space, and while Android launchers are way more customizable, it’s still been pretty much the same for several years. Apparently, with Android 12, we might be seeing that sweet iOS feature jump ship too.
Is…is this the beginnings of a widget stack? This is an “enhanced” and “expanded” smart space. pic.twitter.com/9tnfK2kA5a
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) February 18, 2021
This was uncovered while digging through the first Android 12 Developer Preview, and it doesn’t get much more complicated than that. We enabled hidden flags in Pixel Launcher that enable an in-development “enhanced” and “expanded” smartspace (smartspace is the code-name for the Pixel Launcher’s At a Glance widget). The expanded smartspace flag “expands [the] smartspace height to two rows.” This “enhanced and expanded” widget doesn’t tell us much on what its final purpose could be, as right now it holds a “placeholder” tile, which can only tell us how unfinished it is. When it does make it to a near-final product, it could resemble a lot of what we’ve seen on iOS 14 with widget stacks.
While it’s still early days to tell what exactly is going to be done with this feature (after all, Android 12 is set to look quite a bit different from Android 11), it would be pretty cool if it ends up being what we think it is. Android 12 is changing a lot of things that have, until now, seemed standard on Android, and this might be just one of them. (And it’s also a launcher update, so you know, you might just be able to get it without updating your phone).