What Developers Are Finding in Google's Android N Preview

What Developers Are Finding in Google's Android N Preview
Multiwindow Multitasking Is a Big New Feature
Google Refreshes the Interface
The Experience Will Be the Same Across Devices
Notifications Are Now More Useful
Some Improvements to Battery-Saving Doze
Google Hints at Broader Device Support
Google Cutting Down on Data Usage
There Are Improvements to Device Security
So Far Android N Doesn't Add Up to a Major Upgrade
Of Course, Google May Disclose More at I/O Developers Conference
1 of 11

What Developers Are Finding in Google's Android N Preview

Google is giving developers an early look at its next Android release, Android N. Here's why it's already generating considerable interest among developers.

2 of 11

Multiwindow Multitasking Is a Big New Feature

Arguably Android N's most anticipated feature is its multiwindow multitasking. The feature allows users to simultaneously view two apps on-screen and interact with them as they wish. While the feature will likely work best on tablets, since they have more screen real estate, Google says it'll also be available on smartphones. It'll even work in portrait mode, stacking one app on top of another.

3 of 11

Google Refreshes the Interface

Google has refreshed the interface in Android N to simplify it and make it easier to get around settings and other features. The refresh isn't major, but developers have already said that Android N makes them more productive as they flip around apps.

4 of 11

The Experience Will Be the Same Across Devices

Google will offer the same software experience, regardless of the device a customer uses. In some cases, platforms will feature design tweaks to accommodate a tablet's larger display, but as of this writing, Google has decided that the more similar it can make the operating system feel across all devices, the better.

5 of 11

Notifications Are Now More Useful

Notifications have received a major upgrade in Android N. For example, Android N now supports direct reply, which allows users to reply to incoming messages without ever leaving the notifications prompt. In addition, Google has added more information into each notification in a bid to make them more useful and reduce tapping around the operating system to find content. Image 4: Please use this image:

6 of 11

Some Improvements to Battery-Saving Doze

Android's Doze feature, which saves battery life whenever a device is stationary, has been improved, the company said. In Android N, Google has tacked on a feature to Doze that ensures battery life is saved when the screen is turned off. Doze is a popular Android feature, and it's getting better in Android N.

7 of 11

Google Hints at Broader Device Support

Google hinted that Android N may deliver broader device support. The company says it's been working on the so-called "Project Svelte," an initiative aimed at reducing Android's memory usage. Google says that the feature could allow Android to "run on a much broader range of devices" and make Android N "more efficient."

8 of 11

Google Cutting Down on Data Usage

Google is again taking aim at data usage in Android N. The company's developer page has confirmed that the new operating system works with Data Saver, which allows users to block background data usage and tells running apps to "use less data in the foreground whenever possible." That said, Data Saver comes with a whitelisting feature, so users can turn on full data usage for certain apps they don't want to slow down.

9 of 11

There Are Improvements to Device Security

Given the security and privacy environment, it's perhaps no surprise that Android N will come with some enhancements to security. For one, it runs in what Google calls "Direct Boot" mode when the device is on but not unlocked. While in that mode, apps can't run unless specifically allowed, and content is kept in encrypted storage.

10 of 11

So Far Android N Doesn't Add Up to a Major Upgrade

Unlike Marshmallow, which was a sizable leap over Lollipop and is just starting to get off the ground with around 2 percent Android ecosystem market share, Android N, at least right now, appears to be an iterative update, not a major one. While it does have some nice new features, including multiwindow multitasking, it is designed to build upon the solid features found in Google's last operating system.

11 of 11

Of Course, Google May Disclose More at I/O Developers Conference

That said, Google typically holds back certain Android features for its I/O press event, and there is reason to believe it'll do the same this year. It's also worth noting that this is an "alpha" release with many bugs and half-working features, so over time, Android N will only gain more functions. Whether those features will actually be major improvements or simple upgrades, however, remains to be seen.

Top White Papers and Webcasts