Out of absolutely nowhere, Google has gone ahead and released a preview of the Android N version which we weren’t expecting to see before the end of May. But it’s here nonetheless, and has blown us away with its new features, the prime one among which is the ability to have Samsung-like split-screen windows.
Just like the Marshmallow preview, Android N too doesn’t have a name or version number to show at the moment. It can only be flashed on the Nexus 6P, the Nexus 5X, the Nexus 6, the Nexus Player, the Nexus 9 and the Pixel C.
Head of Android, Hiroshi Lockheimer has revealed that the final version of Android N will start arriving for everyone via OTA updates during this summer. We’re expecting to get an exact time period for this launch during this year’s MWC which takes place in May.
Like we said, the main highlight of Android N is its split-screen view. This feature has been on offer through third-party skins for quite a while, and it has finally landed into the stock version now. You can do this by using the multi-tasking button and long-pressing the window which you wish to keep snapped.
A great addition is the ability for third-party developers to allow direct replies from the notification tray. This feature has been available with Google apps like Hangouts and Messenger, but now even apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger will be able to take advantage of it.
Remember an earlier report about major changes coming to the notifications menu of Android? Turns out it was true as hell. Some quick settings icons appear along with the notifications shade, thus not requiring you to pull down again. Moreover, the main quick settings have gotten way more customization options than before.
We’ve seen a Data Saver mode on Android’s Chrome browser, but it has now made its way into the main software itself. This trait can be found in the Settings menu, and when switched on, it not only reduces background data usage but dictates apps to use less data in the foreground when possible. Of course, you can whitelist some apps if you wish to.
And then there’s the Night Mode which had vanished from the final Marshmallow release after having been featured in its preview. After the sun sets at your current location, it gives a dark theme to the interface, while also adding a slightly red filter that soothes the eyes.
The much loved Doze attribute of Marshmallow has been updated with Android N. It earlier worked when the screen was off and the phone was stationary. But it will now work even when the phone is moving, as long as the screen is off, thus resulting in more battery savings in terms of standby time.
As reported earlier, Android N has been equipped with a revamped Settings menu. Whenever you enter a sub-menu, a hamburger button appears on the top-left to help you jump back in another sub-menu quickly. ‘Sound’ and ‘Notifications’ are separate sub-menus now, with the latter getting more options than before.
As revealed by Android Police, the overview or multi-tasking button as it’s called can be double tapped to quickly switch between two running apps. This feature is similar to the Alt-Tab combo employed by Windows users.
These and many new traits have found their way into the Android N preview release. Here’s the link to the page from where you can download it if you happen to own one of the above mentioned devices.