Google took everyone by surprise when it released the Android N Developer Preview significantly earlier than expected. The Android N Developer Preview offers some cool new features like the multi-window support, brand new notification shade, notification enhancements and more.
Here are some of the biggest game changing features that are part of this bundle of the Android N Developer Preview
With Android N, Google is adding a much-requested multitasking feature into the OS – multi-window support. The new feature will allow users to pop open two apps on the screen at once and run them side-by-side or one-above-the-other in split screen mode. The company has also added re size option for apps which can be done by dragging the divider between them. Apart from the multi-window support, Google says that users on Android TV devices will be able to put apps in picture-in-picture mode, which will allow them to continue showing content while the user browses or interacts with other apps.
Google has also redesigned notifications in Android N build which will include template updates, bundled notifications, direct reply, and custom view.
With notification template update, the hero image and avatar will get more emphasis while the bundled notifications will allow system group messages together. The direct reply will allow users to communicate with apps in real-time such as responding to an SMS or text message directly within the notification pane. Google says that two new APIs has been enabled to leverage system decorations for custom views in notifications.
The Quick Settings panel has also received some tweaks that Google says makes it even “more useful and convenient.” In Android N, more room has been added for additional Quick Settings tiles. Further, users will be able to control over what Quick Settings tiles should appear and where they are displayed. For changing the tiles, users can just move or add tiles just by dragging and dropping them.
Google introduced Doze, a system mode that saved battery when the device is idle, in Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Now in Android N, Google has improved the feature to save battery while on the go. The company says that with new restrictions to apps it can save battery when carrying the devices in their pockets.
“A short time after the screen turns off while the device is on battery, Doze restricts network access and defers jobs and syncs,” adds Google. It points out that on turning the screen on or plugging in the device will bring the device out of Doze automatically.
In Android N, Google has introduced Project Svelte which is an effort to optimise the way apps run in the background. The new project is focused on keep a check on background processing that needlessly consume RAM (and battery) and affect system performance for other apps.
Android N’s Data Saver
Google has introduced an all-new Data Saver mode, which will help reduce cellular data use by apps. With the new Data Saver mode, users will get more control over how apps use cellular data. Once the Data Saver mode is enabled in Settings, the system will block background data and will also signal apps to use less data “wherever possible.” Users will also get an option to select specific apps to run in the background and use data even when Data Saver mode is enabled.
One of the notable additions in Android N is native support for number-blocking in the platform. Google says that the new feature will apply to the default messaging app, the default phone app, and third-party provider apps can also read from and write to the blocked-number list. The company stresses that the list will not be accessed by other apps. With number-blocking added to Android N as native feature, developers can take advantage of the support across a wide range of devices. One of the biggest advantages of having the number-blocking feature in system is that blocked numbers will persist across resets and devices through the Backup & Restore feature. The company also introduced Call screening feature in Android N which will allow the default phone app to screen incoming calls.
Multi-locale support, more languages
Google in Android N will let users select multiple locales in Settings for supporting better bilingual use-cases. Apart from multi-locale support, the Android N also expands the languages available to users. Android N will offer over 25 variants each for commonly used languages such as English, Spanish, French, and Arabic while also adds partial support for over 100 new languages.
Some of the accessibility enhancements introduced with Android N includes Vision Settings directly on the Welcome screen for new device setup. The new feature will make it easier for users to configure accessibility features on their devices
With Direct boot addition, Android N will improve device startup times and will allow registered apps to have limited functionality even after an unexpected reboot.
Google gives an example of a device which is encrypted and reboots while the user is sleeping, the feature will still make sure that the registered alarms, messages and incoming calls continue notify the user as normal.
“Direct boot takes advantage of file based encryption in Android N to enable fine grained encryption policies for both system and app data,” adds Google.
Other new features in Android N
Some of the other changes introduced in Android N include a redesigned user interface for system Settings, which now includes a hamburger button on the left side of the screen for quickly jumping to a different option without hitting back to main menu; Android N also adds framework interfaces and platform support for OpenGL ES 3.2; new app switching feature with recent button which also doubles for split-screen option, and Night mode is now available in Android N.