Google has put out an early developer preview of Android N, the next OS in the series. Google usually gives developers, fans a first look at the new OS at its annual I/O developer conference, so this preview comes as a surprise.
Google Developers, part of the Beta program, can download the Android N preview. Google says that with Android N, it will be provide monthly updates, over the air (OTA) and developers won’t have to flash the device.
Google’s Android developer website points out, “new for Android N is an Over-the-Air (OTA) update program that automatically delivers the latest preview updates of Android N directly to devices enrolled in the program. The program is free, and it’s open to anyone who has a supported device that’s registered to their Google account.”
Google’s website also lists some new features in Android N that developers can test out. These include multi-window support, which will show more than one app at a time, interactive notifications which allows users to respond to the alert from the notification shade itself, without going to the app itself. Google’s Android N also come with more background optimisation, which includes new restrictions to limit implicit broadcasts.
There’s also a data saver feature, which users can enable in Android N to use less data. Google says that when a user enables Data Saver in Settings, and the device is on a metered network, the system blocks background data usage, and signals apps to use less data in the foreground wherever possible.
There’s also a Direct Boot feature in Android N and this mode is on when the device is on, but the user has not unlocked it. In order to support this, Google has included two storage locations for data.
One is the credential encrypted storage, which is the default storage location, and only available after the user has unlocked the device. The second is the device encrypted storage, which is a storage location available both during Direct Boot mode, and after the user has unlocked the device. In Direct Boot mode, apps will not run. Google also says that Android N will provide support for more languages as well.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai has already confirmed May 18-20 as dates for the I/O conference. Pichai, who had tweeted about the announcement, had said, “I/O’16 coming to neighborhood where it all started 10 yrs ago: Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, May 18-20. More details soon. #io16”
During his India visit, Pichai had hinted in an interaction with students at Sri Ram College of Commerce in Delhi, that Android N or P could have the name of an Indian sweet. He had said that Google could do an online poll for the name. Android 6.0 aka M’s name had Mango Lassi in contention, but in the end Google went with Marshmallow.