Earlier this month, Google surprised us with the developer preview of Android N, which might well be named after famous hazelnut spread Nutella . They have released it a lot of time before Google I/O conference which is very unusual. With Android N, Google will be bringing as lot to the table which they started out with Android Lollipop. Currently, Android N looks a lot closer to Marshmallow, but that will change with time. Here is our walkthrough and everything you need to know about Android N.
New Notifications and Quick Settings Panel
The notifications panel in Android N has been redesigned by making the drawer and its contents fit the whole width of the screen. The quick toggles can now be seen in a single row above the notifications just like as in Samsung’s TouchWiz and can be expanded through a dropdown toggle on the far right just like we see them now in Lollipop or Marshmallow.
Users can now directly reply from the notifications which is called the “Direct Reply” feature.
There is also a new way of showing notifications of a same app in a bundle. If one app creates notifications, they are bundled in one group, rather than showing separately, with the latest on the top.
Multi-window mode Split screen
People have mentioned from time and time again that there is no multi window mode in stock vanilla Android version whereas this feature has been present in Samsung and LG phones since 2013. Finally, Google has been able to add the split screen feature in Android N after removing it from Marshmallow. After being in Samsung and LG phones, it’s finally on Nexus devices.
System Settings left menu
The System Settings navigation has been modified to provide quick and easy navigation between the settings. Swiping from the left side of the screen while in Settings shows a menu to quick jump into other settings. For example, if you are in Display settings, you can quickly go to Wi-Fi settings by swiping the careen from the left and tapping on Wi-Fi.
Android Beta Program
Google has introduced a new way to provide Android N preview builds through over-the-air updates which does not require flashing any sort of system images, which most people find difficult and time consuming. Of course system images are still available to flash, but over-the-air updates are much easier.
People with Google accounts and Nexus devices can sign up for the Android Beta Program and receive an over-the-air Android N developer preview update. Just go to https://www.google.com/android/beta?u=0
Only the following Nexus devices are eligible to receive and run Android N:
- Nexus 6
- Nexus 5X
- Nexus 6P
- Nexus 9
- Nexus Player
- Pixel C
- General Mobile 4G (Android One)
Other New Features
Other than a few massive user interface overhauls, Android N also includes some small features which are really useful:
- Doze which was introduced in Marshmallow has been enhanced to save battery anytime the screen is off, rather than saving battery only when the phone was undisturbed for an amount of time.
- Recent apps are now shown a lot bigger so that they fill much of the screen rather than just showing a small window like in Lollipop and Marshmallow.
- Double tapping the app switcher button can switch to the last recent app used.
- There is also a data saver mode where you can restrict apps to use any mobile data.
So this is everything Android N has to offer and whatever you need to know about Android N. For a developer preview, Android N looks pretty stable. Only time can tell what the ultimate shape of Android N will be. Currently, there is no name for Android N, however most people are hoping for “Nutella”. The only sad this is that Android N was not released for Nexus 5 which is regarded as the best Nexus phone ever. So Nexus 5 users will either have to upgrade their phones or wait for Android N custom ROMs which are still pretty far away.
See the video below for a quick overview of the Android N features