Thursday, 17 March 2016

Google Unexpectedly Rolls Out Developers Preview of Android N

Google's unexpected announcement of Android N Developers Preview took everyone by surprise. It's a well-known fact that Google usually releases the new version of the Android OS at the Google's I/O developer conference. The same is the case with the latest Android version “N” which was expected to be talked about not until Google's developers conference in May.

The senior vice president of the Android OS, Hiroshi Lockheimer, said: “ the team wanted the preview to be released earlier to get feedbacks from developers without much delay and for making Android N version available to device manufacturers this summer .” 

Let's now discuss the exciting (and new) features that the developers preview of Android N offers: 

1. Split-screen Mode
It is the first time when Android is offering users with a split-screen mode. The split-screen view gives users the ability to display more than a single app simultaneously. In short, you will be able to perform multitasking with the help of Android N. For instance, users could divide the screen to view a page on the left side while creating an email on the right side. 

With the split-screen feature, users will become capable of resizing any activity on their screens in an easy way. To be more specific, users will be provided better control over the specific parts of an app that you would like to display. Apps running on Nexus Player can run in “picture-in-picture” mode, so as to let apps display content continuously when some user choose to browse or interact with any other app. For example, the picture-in-picture mode enables to play video apps on your Android TV in the corner.

2. App Notifications Can Now Be Bundled
Receiving too many notifications can be frustrating. But, not anymore. Thanks to Android N “direct reply notifications” feature. The feature helps in grouping similar alerts together into a 'bundle'. Moreover, your bundle of notifications appear to be just a single notification. That means you won't have to handle each notification individually. Rather you can choose to dismiss or expand an alert notification with a single swipe or click. 

So, this feature makes it easy for developers working in Android app development company to work on apps – that do not irritate users by sending plenty of notifications every minute. 

3. Enhanced Doze Will Save More Battery Life
Doze is not a new feature and was introduced with Android 6.0 Marshmallow. It helps in protecting the Android device battery life by shutting down the background tasks for a particular period. But, Google plans on enhancing Doze with Android N further. The Doze feature, in general, limits an app from accessing the network when the device is idle. But with Android N, some changes have been made to Doze. The enhanced Doze will also provide several restrictions when the device is in the idle state. 

Essentially, the new version launch offers an improved version of the Doze feature that helps in saving battery power of a device even when its screen is turned off. It's too early to say how much difference the improved Doze feature will bring, but theoretically, it definitely sounds an interesting addition.

4. Ability to Save Multiple Recorded Sessions
The Android TV input services allow a user to pause and resume to playback any channel using time-shifting APIs. However, Google's latest launch expands on time-shifting and renders users the ability to save tons of recorded sessions at the same time. With this new functionality, users can schedule TV recordings beforehand or instead can start a recording while watching any program. 

Remember to implement recording function on your TV input service, it is imperative for you to inform the system that your app is capable of supporting recordings, can handle errors that occur at the time of recording and so on. 

What Else About Android N Developers Preview You Need to Know?
Here are a few questions and their answers that will provide you with relevant information about the preview: 

How can you try your hands on Android N developers preview?
The new Android N developers preview is available in beta version and is made available for early testing. However, you need a Nexus device to start with the testing phase since Google made the preview available to a few of its Nexus products only, such as Nexus 5X, 6P, and Nexus 6. Also, the preview can be mounted on the Nexus 9. 

NOTE: Developer preview is expected to have bugs and issues, and before trying out Android N preview on some platform keep in mind that it is still not ready for daily use. 

What will be the official name of Android N? 
Google is known for naming new version of Android operating system after sweet treats. For instance, some of the fewer recent Android versions were named as KitKat, Lollipop and Marshmallow. Though, what will the new Android N version will be called remains a mystery, but stakes are high that it the new version release will be named Nectar. 

Wrapping Up
So far, Android Marshmallow OS hasn't been made used even on 3 percent of devices. And, the release of developers preview of new Android N version is a bit of a surprise. This clearly indicates that Google is in a hurry to get Android N out. Though the new Google launch hasn't been made available for regular use, but the developers preview seems to be an exciting update for developers. We'll probably have to wait for the Google's I/O conference that is likely to happen in May to get further details regarding Android's latest version release.

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