I’m sure many of us weren’t expecting to hear anything official about Android N until Google I/O 2016 later this year, but it appears that Google is going to jump the gun itself this year by announcing the availability of theÂ Android N Developer Preview – in Google’s own words: “Weâ€™re doing something a little different this year by releasing the preview earlyâ€¦ really early.” The reason Google has given for this early release is that by getting it into developer’s hands early, they can finish off Android N and palm it off the OEMs this (Northern) Summer so that they, in turn, can get Android N to you earlier. Considering Android Marshmallow hasn’t exactly reached that many devices, we appreciate the sentiment but wonder exactly how practical this approachÂ really is.
Accompanying this news, Google has revealed the major features we can expect in Android N including:
- Multi-window support: we heard about this one shortly after the release of the Pixel C tablet and it would appear that multi-window support has made the cut. Naturally this is better suited for tablets, but the applications for smartphones is just as exciting.
- Direct reply notifications: this new feature should allow you to reply to messages without leaving the notification pull-down
- Bundled notification: aptly named, this feature will group notifications from the same app together and will allow them to be expanded in your notifications list by two-finger gesture or via the new ‘expansion’ button.
- Efficiency: Google says that they have improved on the Doze feature which is designed to save battery while your device isn’t doing anything, in particular, Android N improves on Doze’s performance while your device’s screen is turned off.
- Improved Java 8 language support: this is definitely one for the developers – added the Jack compiler, developers will now be able to use Java 8 language features right through to Android Gingerbread.
As for what devices are currently supported by the Android N Developer Preview, it will be available on the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Nexus 9, and Pixel C – in addition, if you’re particularly keen, you can buy a Pixel C and Google will give you a $150 discount. Note that the Developer Preview is exactly that – don’t expect it to be ready as a daily driver as it’s more for developers to tinker with and iron out issues. That said, if you’re game anyway, visit this page here to get instructions on how to get started.
What do you think about the Android N Developer Preview?