Google announced the Android 7.0 N Developer Preview earlier this year in March. While everyone was expecting Google to launch the first developer previews of Android N at I/O 2016, the Android maker surprised everyone by launching the preview a couple of months before. Google has set Q3 2016 as the release schedule for Android 7.0 N. Today, we take a look at the headline Android N features and Google’s release schedule.
Android 7.0 N Developer Preview Release Schedule
Google launched the first Android N Developer Preview on March 9th this year. Only a few Nexus devices were compatible. This includes the Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, Pixel C, Nexus Player and surprisingly enough, the Sony Xperia Z3.
The second Developer Preview was released on April 18th. By the time Google I/O 2016 came, we had the third developer preview of Android N ready. This is quite fast by even Google’s standards. However, Google isn’t stopping there. While Android 5.0 Lollipop and Marshmallow had three Developer Previews each, Google is going to release five Previews for the Android N 7.0 update.
The fourth and fifth Android N Developer Previews are going to be released in June and July, with the final release set for August/September.
What’s New In Android N?
Android N brings an overwhelming number of changes to the platform. While the design and UI have been receiving some very important updates in the last two years, Google is quietly laying the foundation for big under-the-hood changes in Android. While the work began in earnest in Lollipop, Android N features some major changes that will result in visible improvements in the performance.
Sustained Performance Mode
Google is known to experiment with new features – some important, some not so much. However, performance has been an issue in Android since its consumer launch. To alleviate these issues, Google is including a new “Sustained Performance Mode” that will try to deliver better performance without destroying the battery life. Third party apps – games and VR apps – can use this mode for a better user experience.
In the future, devices launching with Android 7.0 N will come with two system partitions. This will let Google push out seamless updates – the device will update the second partition while you continue to use the phone. All optimizations and other system update processes will be completed in the background. When you reboot the phone next time, you will be booted into the newly updated partition.
New Notifications Design
Google is revamping notifications design once again. Different notifications are now separated by a thin line, instead of a separate card for each one of them. This should save a lot of space, especially when you have a lot of unread notifications. Apart from that, the information density has been increased too, so you should see a lot more text and act on it accordingly.
Updated Quick Settings
Quick Settings are receiving another important update. Google is bringing quick toggles to stock Android now – they will rest in the notification shade. Swiping down once again from the Notification shade will reveal the full Quick Settings tiles. If you have enabled more than 9 Quick Settings tiles using the System UI Tuner, the extra tiles will reside on the second page.
Google is finally bringing the ability to view multiple apps at the same time. Third-party apps will have to add the support for split-screen mode to their apps to be able to use this feature. Given the fact that screen sizes are big enough for a phone these days, it’s an important new addition.
Improved Doze Mode
Doze mode is turning out to be a very useful feature in Marshmallow, but it has its own shortcomings. Google is sorting them out in Android 7.0 N.
Instead of relying only on the motion sensors to detect if your phone is stationary, the new Doze mode will kick in when the screen is turned off. Additionally, if your phone is stationary for a set period of time, it will enter into a more aggressive Doze mode that should help you conserve more battery than before.
The improvements in Android 7.0 N are aplenty. We will be following this Android N coverage with announcements from OEMs as well. Keep a look out for more!