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Google Surprised Us All With a Sudden Android N Developer Preview Update

Update: So Google finally announced the moniker for Android N, and it’s Nougat, just like we suspected! Hiroshi Lockheimer did say that it would have something to do with nuts. While everyone was fixated on Nutella, somehow Nougat felt right to us.

Google Android Nougat

Developments surrounding the mythical Android N, the new update everyone’s talking about (or will be talking about now), just became a little clearer.

Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google’s Senior Vice President in charge of Chrome, Chromecast and Android, took to Medium on March 9th   to announce the release of a developer preview version of the presently-unnamed Android N.

Don’t get too excited, though, because unless you own a Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Nexus 9, General Mobile 4G (Android One), or Pixel C devices, you aren’t going to be able to use it.

Google Surprised Us All With A Sudden Android N Developer Preview Update

How Do You Get It?

The beta version of the app is available for download! Google has this handy program, called the Android Beta Program, which allows users to set up and try the new developer preview Android N version. The download is OTA (On-The Air), which is handy because you can use it without losing your data. You can set up the preview here.

What Is It Good For?

Pretty much everything. Here are some of the features that have got users (developers and obsessive Android enthusiasts, mostly) excited:

Multi-tasking:

This is easily one of the most impressive features of the lot (revealed thus far, at any rate). There are two possible ways you can multitask. The first, is if you’re already using an app. Long-press the recent apps button (the square button on them Nexus phones), and voila! You have invoked the power of multitasking.

Alternatively, if you’re on your home screen, open your recent apps menu and then drag the apps of your choice to either side of the screen. What happens is that one app attaches itself to the top half of the screen (left, in Landscape mode) and another to the bottom. The two apps are like two split halves of the screen (see picture), and can be used simultaneously. Another great thing is that you can customize the separator between two screens (set to 50-50 by default), to set more visibility to whichever app you like.

The beauty of this feature is that it also works as well in Landscape mode, which is a huge win over the iOS, the latter building in multitasking capabilities only for its tablets.

The Notifications Shade:

The shade looks better, feels better and works a lot better. You can drag down to view notifications, and drag an individual notification to view details. Nothing new there. What is new is that Google has provided a direct reply feature in the Shade, so users can reply to notifications directly. This is something Google’s been working on for Hangouts, only now it’s available for other third party apps to use. WhatsApp, take note!

Changes have also been made to the Quick Settings menu. Users can now see a small horizontal header bar of sorts (see pictures) with a list of Quick Settings shortcuts. This bar can be dragged to expand and display the familiar old Quick Settings menu. The bar can also be customized; you can add or remove settings as you please.

Doze:

While Doze was a feature of Marshmallow, it’s been given a whole lot more power in this version. It works whenever the screen turns off, which means that it will add a lot more to battery life than ever before. Users can access the Doze menu directly from the Notifications Shade, and it will tell them how much battery is left, and so on. Handy!

Don’t Begin To Use It Just Yet

For all its great features, the Android N is still very much a work in progress. Developers are hard at work finding bugs in the OS. Incidentally, if you do find a bug, you can file it here. Some of the more common problems are that apps become unresponsive occasionally, and that the device itself becomes slow periodically. Playback doesn’t seem to be working for Voicemail. There are a number of other issues that are being fixed. Bottomline: Unless you’re a developer, don’t try this at home!

When Will We Get To Use It?

Most of us agree upon the fact that Google will release the official version of the OS at Google I/O, as indeed it has been doing. Until then – Wait and hope! There are bound to be a lot more features revealed.

What Will it Be Called?

Ah. The big question. Hiroshi Lockheimer signed off his announcement on Medium with the following words: “So, the burning question that’s on everyone’s mind: what will the N release be named? We’re nut tellin’ you yet.”

Android N

Nuts! So that’s it! The world seems near-unanimous in its belief that it will be called Android Nutella. Don’t forget there’s another nut-based dessert, though – nougat!

Also, since Sundar Pichai’s leading Google and there are allegedly more Indian Android developers than Americans, people aren’t excluding the possibility of an Indian name. The word ‘Nankhatai’ seems to be doing the rounds. We’ll have to wait and see, but our money is on nougat.

If you want to stay on top of all of Google’s Android updates, and would like to develop an Android app for your business, let us help you!

 

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