We are almost 2 months away from Google’s Annual Developer Conference- The I/O 2016 and we’ve some interesting update from Google. The search giant has released the Android N Developer Preview, featuring interesting tools including resigned and bundled notifications, direct reply notifications and much more. Undoubtedly, this version has been launched really early by the Google team. This beta build of Android N will allow Google to grab some more developer feedback before it is released to all. If all goes fine, the Android N release will reach device makers this summer. In fact, Google also announced Android Beta Programthat would aim to bring updates about the factory images as they become available for users to download. With Android N, Google has brought new updates on the table. According to Google, Android N, the Android N Developer Preview can be installed in two ways. The first is that usual factory image process and the second is a new and a much simpler approach which is to enrol in the Android Beta Program. This will allow users to receive seamless over-the-air updates to receive updates along to the latest beta versions of Android N. However, we see that the build is only compatible with the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Nexus 9, and Pixel C. But that doesn’t stop us sharing the newly introduced features in this ‘N’ version.
The first obvious difference that will strike the ‘N’ user will be the Notification Display in the notification panel and on the lock screen, which has been completely redesigned. In fact the card-like design is out and the notifications are now seen edge-to-edge with a bare minimal space separating them vertically. Notification layout is changed but the old two-finger pull gesture still works, too. In fact, the usual swipe-to-dismiss gesture on notification has a new feature. Swiping the notification horizontally a bit will show up settings gear peep out from behind the notification. Tapping the same will show you options to block the app from displaying notifications and other options related to the notifications. If the apps generate a lot of notifications, they’ll be ‘Bundled’ and if you expand that bundled notification, it will expand into individual notifications for each message. Like say in the case of Gmail, you will see bundled notifications if you receive multiple emails. It will show a message like ‘4 New Messages’ and would only display a small amount of messages for each one. But if you expand that combined notification, it will expand into individual notifications for each message with a option- Reply or Archive.
Another obvious change see is in the quick settings. The first five icon -Wi-Fi, Network, Battery, DND, Flashlight- live permanently at the top of the notification panel in a “minimized” mode. Pulling down the quick settings or tapping on the down arrow enables the panel to show full-sized quick settings. Android N also brings changes in the settings options. If your phone has “Do Not Disturb”, it will show up the section before the usual setting starts to grab your attention. There is also a “Suggestion” section which points you to specific settings.
Android N also brings another feature that i love in Android Wear and has been using it consistently for a lot of time. Google will now allow you to reply to text messages including WhatsApp replies from the notification shade. When you receive a new message, a little alert will pop up at the top of the screen where you can type your reply to send; and continue with what you were doing.
Google introduced Doze- a battery-saving setting that gets enabled when your phone is sitting still, in Android 6.0 Marshmallow version. In Android N, Google team takes a step ahead by enabling Doze mode even when your phone or tablet’s screen is off. As per the reports, Google is also working on Project Svelte, which aims to reduce the amount of memory Android needs. This will make latest android versions to run on more android devices especially those which have low-end specifications.
Multi-Window feature has been there on Samsung phones for a few years and now will soon hit more android devices. Looking at two apps at once will soon becomes a new pattern on Android as Google is introducing Multi-window feature with Android N. Google’s also adding a picture-in-picture option for apps that play video with which users can watch Youtube videos while also browsing your Twitter timeline. But to me the best addition is the ability to drag and drop text between split-screen apps. All you gotta do is highlight the text, hold down on it for a second, and, you know the rest.
No need to use third party apps to block calls from Telemarketers, RoboCalls or spammers as Android N has a system-level call blocking feature that will apply across the entire phone. Once you have blocked a number, it can’t call or text your phone. Android N has also added a “Night Mode” that enables user to switch the system interface to a darker theme that’s easier on the eyes. This can be activated by the user considering the location or time of the day. You can also adjust your display’s color temperature. Google also has reintroduced night mode feature in a developer preview. Another feature that caught attention was Android’s Do Not Disturb with a new feature – The Do Not Disturb Can Be Set to End Automatically when an Alarm Goes Off. That means that DND can be set to override your quiet hours settings when your first alarm in morning goes off. Android N also adds emergency contact information to the lock screen.
Let’s be clear. This version isn’t close to a final release and is for Developers only right now. Though the name of ‘N’ is still unknown, Google is sure to announce it in coming days or probably the best time would be at the Google I/O 2016 summit in May.
P.S: This article by Author first appeared on Navhind Times on 13th March 2015.