Android 15 is getting a huge upgrade that surpasses the iPhone

Android 15
(Image credit: Future)

Last year, it was rumored that Google would introduce a full desktop mode with the Pixel 8 line. Though the company enabled display output on the handsets last month, the experience is still fairly underwhelming. 

But that might not be the case for too much longer, according to Android Authority, which has found evidence showing that Google has been improving desktop mode in the background. This could mean that Google plans to launch it with the upcoming Android 15 update.

As the piece points out, desktop mode has existed since 2019 with Android 10, but it’s severely underbaked. As it stands, it's intended for developers to test their apps in multi-display usage rather than for buyers to use their phones like a PC. It lacks many basic features you’d expect for it to be genuinely useful to the average user.

Using the Android 14 QPR Beta 2.1 build, the site’s Mishaal Rahman was able to enable the desktop mode experience in its current state, and it seems to have come a long way in the last few years. 

As the video above demonstrates, Android desktop mode behaves a bit more like Windows, macOS, and Linux than it used to. Windows not only now has titles and icons, but they can be dragged around and resized at will. Minimizing, maximizing, and snapping to screen edges are all also now possible.

It’s a big improvement, but it’s important not to oversell it as a full desktop solution. In its current state, it still lacks many things that desktop users will take for granted, like keyboard shortcuts and what Rahman calls “a robust desktop launcher.” On top of that, plenty of apps still don’t support drag and drop, which clips the mode’s wings considerably.

These things can — and likely will — be fixed, but it will take time. This might be something we see debuting at Google I/O in May, alongside the Pixel 9 this fall, or even later. 

In the meantime, those who want a phone that offers a good experience in both mobile and desktop use should consider Samsung phones with DeX support or Motorola handsets with Ready For. Both offer an experience that’s stronger than the stock Android one, but hopefully, that won’t be the case for too much longer.

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Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.