As we’ve seen in the past, Google likes to release the Developer Preview of their upcoming Android update right after Google I/O. Well, this year’s Google I/O isn’t until May 18-20, but we may be in for a little surprise. In a post from Ars Technica that has since been pulled, they state that the Android N Developer Preview will be launching today. They state that the Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6, Pixel C, Nexus 9, and the Nexus Player will be included in the preview. That means no Nexus 5, sorry 2013.
Android N looks to improve on a few key areas that weren’t touched on Android Marshmallow, specifically the notification panel and a native split screen option. On top of that, it is expected to have improvements to the Doze battery saving feature.
For the notification panel, we’ve gone over it already with Android Police’s leak. The notification panel is getting a complete redesign, or refinement if you will. The report from Ars Technica coincides with what Android Police reported, meaning notifications will have no padding and will span across the entire screen. Ars states that there will indeed be a quick settings section at the top of the notification shade, just like previously reported.
In addition to the updated notification shade, Google also seems to be implementing a brand new style to quick reply to messages or other apps. Currently on Android Marshmallow and Lollipop, the app essentially overlays itself over the screen, but not on Android N. The new update will allow users to quick reply directly from the notification shade, similar to iOS or Windows 10 Mobile.
Multi-window has been in Android for some time, but you would have to manually enable it and it is very buggy. This time Google is going all out to compete with other operating systems by fully implementing it this time around. According to Ars, you will still have to manually enable it in the Developer Preview, but it will be natively ready to go for the official release later this year.
One of the best announcements at Google I/O 2015 was Android’s new Doze feature. Doze, which limits network activity and wakelocks when the device is completely stationary is also in for an update. According to the new reports, Doze will also take effect when the screen turns off. The supposed quote from Google states that “Doze additionally saves battery whenever the screen turns off.” This is a welcome change because many times a phone isn’t being used, but it is in a user’s pocket.
Lastly, Ars Technica reports that the Android N Developer Preview will be a part of the new “Android Beta Program” at the URL g.co/androidbeta. The webpage is not live at the moment, but it was previously according to users. Google is going with an iOS like approach to beta builds by delivering them over-the-air, which is welcomed. They will also post the factory images over at developer.android.com/preview. That site has been reverted back to Marshmallow at the moment.