The day Android developers, and users of Android devices around the world, look forward to each year has come early this time. Google has surprised everyone by releasing a preview of the next major iteration of Android, Android N. The release comes two months early – new Android releases are usually announced at Google’s I/O conference in May.
Android N brings a handful of new features, with the most major addition being Multi-window support. It’s a feature seen on Samsung devices for a couple of years now and was also introduced by Apple with the iPad Pro, and it will finally be seen on stock Android devices as well. Android N also improves on the battery saving Doze feature introduced in Marshmallow (Doze can now be manually enabled when the screen is off) and makes advancements to Project Svelte for improving device performance and RAM usage.
Android’s notifications are also getting a revamp. There’s a new interface as was seen on leaked Android N screenshots earlier this year, and new APIs to let developers better manage their app’s notifications and allow users to directly reply to messages from the notification shade. Android TV users will gain support for recording content on their phones and tablets, block SMS and calls, and devices will startup faster with the new Direct Boot feature
6.0 Marshmallow was an Android version that focused mostly on under the hood changes and refinements, so it’s not surprising to see Android N bringing user-facing features like Android 5.0 Lollipop from 2014. Developers can access Android N test images from Google’s website and start testing their apps early on. The OS is still in its development phase so there are likely to be some issues, and it’s possible some of the new features will not be seen in the same form in the final version of Android N.
Full details on Android N can be found at the source link.