Earlier today Google officially release the first Android N developer preview which gave us a sneak peak into what the upcoming Android 7.0 will look like when it is released in later part of the year. This article covers all the officially confirmed features of the new OS, though it should be noted that some features might not make it to the final release. So let’s have a look at the all new Android N.
Google had scheduled its I/O 2016, annual developer conference, on May 18 where Android N was supposed to be unveiled. Surprisingly the company decided to release its first Android N developer preview months before the expected date.
As of now, this developer preview has been made available for Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6, Nexus 9 (Wi-Fi and LTE), Nexus Player and Pixel C on the Android Developers site. In the past, Google has been releasing the new versions of Android alongside the release of their flagship smartphones. We are expecting them to continue the legacy, which means that the official and final Android 7 will be launched with the Nexus 6P (2016) and Nexus 5X (2016) in September. After its release on the new Nexus flagships, it will start rolling out on other smartphones and carriers in a period of 6 months.
Andrew Bowers, during a Reddit AMA with a Pixel C team, confirmed that a split screen feature is under development. Now that the developer preview is out, we can actually see the split screen mode of the Android 7.0.
Along with a new picture-in-picture mode, which works just like the minimized video on YouTube app, different compatible apps can be opened alongside each other in the Android N. Of course, users can decide how much of the screen size should a particular app use while working simultaneously with another.
All new settings menu
Android N will be coming with a considerably redesigned settings menu which will now show basic details of each tab on the main menu. For example, you will now be able to see the WiFi network you are connected to or check the paired Bluetooth device without even opening the tab. In addition to that a Suggestion drop-down section has been added on the top while the Sound and Notifications now have their own dedicated sections unlike in Marshmallow where they are grouped together.
The hamburger menu is back with a swipe-out nav drawer that simply reproduces the top-level settings menu sections. This feature will allow a quick escape route to the main settings when you’re several levels down in sub-menus. Needless to say, the presence of the hamburger menu in Android N also eliminates the duplicated actions of the back arrow in the settings and the back arrow in the nav bar.
Better tablet support
Although in the same Reddit AMA mentioned above, Glen Murphy of Pixel C team announced that they are working tirelessly on a range of enhancements for tablets, there isn’t much visible on the Android N apart from the split screen mode. Though other Android N tablet features could include customizable nav buttons, DPI switcher, stock floating mini-apps and tablet-specific System UI Tuner features.
Improved Doze Mode
The public favorite Marshmallow feature, Doze Mode, is now even more enhanced in Android N. Doze will now be coming in a two-tier system where the first one operates whenever the screen has been off for a while, whether your phone is stationary or not while the other tier of Doze Mode works as before, but with some more improvements. When your phone is lying still, it will enter a deeper hibernation mode It will defer the network and other activities until widely spaced-out “maintenance” windows before slipping back to sleep.
Android N features a new data saver feature
Data Saver feature when turned on will stop background activity from occurring except when connected to Wi-Fi. However you can allow specific apps you want to work as per usual even with the Data Saver mode. Thus, Android N allows even more control than one already has over their smartphone’s data usage.
Redesigned notification shade and quick settings panel
A thin strip of toggles at the top of the notifications shade for frequently used things like Wi-Fi, Do Not Disturb, battery and the flashlight is now available. While some of these can be turned on and off directly, the others will take you further to a sub-menu. In addition to that a small arrow at the right hand side will open up the full Quick Settings panel. Android N comes with a new System UI Tuner options for Quick Settings like Night Mode while the developers can create their own custom Quick Settings icons. The best part is the ability to respond to notifications directly from within the notifications shade.
New Security features include: improved call screening, number blocking and emergency info on your lock screen
Android N now comes with a setting that will allow access to one’s emergency information on your lock screen. The information will include the name of owner along with blood type, address, allergies and any other essential information that may be helpful in an emergency situation.
New messaging app
Although it isn’t available in the Android N yet, rumors are that Google will be introducing an all-new messaging app with to replace the largely unpopular Hangouts SMS/MMs integration. The new app will be based on the Rich Communications Services (RCS) platform, which will include video chat, file sharing and instant messaging facilities.
Considerable enhancements are visible in the recent apps’ menu. With a double tap on the square button instead the OS will quickly switch between your current app and the one you used last. Of course, tapping the square button once will bring up a cascade of your most recently used apps.
After Android Marshmallow was deprived of the Night Mode, Android N does feature the popular feature again. Night Mode can now set to be automatically enabled at predefined times in a day. Night Mode is no more just a dark system-wide theme, rather it now comes with some cool new features. It can control the tint to limit the amount of blue light in the display which will allow you to sleep even after playing on your phone late at night.
These were the new features introduced in the all new Android N. Stay tuned for latest updates.
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