There's been a lot of talk about Samsung's 2022 folding phones, namely the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Z Flip 4 – both of which I've seen and used ahead of the Unpacked launch event.
But it's the former and larger of those two foldables, the Z Fold 4, which brings an exciting new Google Android 12L feature, courtesy of Samsung's One UI software skin. And I think people will find it rather exciting.
I'm talking about Taskbar. It is, as it sounds, a taskbar that pops up by default where the typical Android trio of softkey controls are present, offering up to eight app shortcuts across the unfolded device's much larger screen real-estate.
Taskbar echoes the bottom row of as you have by default in the lowest denominator on your Android homescreen. When setting up the Z Fold 4 that'll be a bunch of Samsung specific apps, but you needn't leave it that way – you could swap for, say, Spotify, TikTok, or whatever else you want. Then you can quick-access and launch these apps without needing to return to the homescreen.
Taskbar doesn't replace Samsung's Edge Panels feature either, a similar tab that you can have positioned to the edge of the screen, dragging it in for access to select apps and contacts as you wish. In the Z Fold 4 you could have both Taskbar and Edge Panels functioning in tandem.
Android 12L Taskbar in Z Fold 4
Where Taskbar becomes particularly insightful is with the Z Fold 4's Samsung One UI software skin: in addition to the (up to) eight app shortcuts, a divider can show an additional two recent apps to the right of these. So if you have, say, a banking app open and need to swap to a calculator, you can quickly hop back over to the other app via Taskbar.
Furthermore, as the Z Fold 4 can display up to three apps simultaneously in split screen format, the Taskbar will save your live layout as a shortcut too. So if you want to jump between a full-screen app and any dual- or tri-divided app setup on your screen, you can do that too.
I think in a foldable phone such as this that Taskbar adds a real added bonus that could change the usability of such a large-screen device. I really enjoyed using the Z Fold 3 from 2021, but the massive screen – I know 7.6-inch doesn't sound huge, but it's all about the aspect ratio – is hard to navigate, and Taskbar adds a nearer-to-your-thumb way of doing so thanks to Android 12L.