Android N is out for developers

Android N

Google has unveiled the developer build of the upcoming version of its Android operating system. This is an early release compared to previous versions which would be unveiled at the Google IO Developer Conference that would be held every year. Does the new release pack the punch? Lets find out.

Android N Logo

What’s new?

  • Multi-Window Support
  • Improved Doze Mode
  • Java 8 Support
  • Additional functionalities to Notification API, Android Work
  • Enhanced Data Saver
  • Android TV with multiple session recording
  • New Network Security Configuration
  • Internal ICU4J handler

All these might seem as just minor improvements, but they would play crucial roles in the device functionality. As far as the UI changes are considered, there are no major changes. Earlier there were reports of the inclusion of Dark Mode for the entire system and its now live.  There is also a color balance calibration tool and a system tuner that lets users add red-tint to the entire screen like the apps, Flux and Twilight.

System Tuner Android N

OEM’s like Samsung had incorporated the Multi-Window feature in their Tab and Note series for a while now, making Google a late entrant. But for other manufacturers, this is a welcoming feature as a device with 5.5″ screen is no longer huge. So as to the Google’s tradition, incorporation of this feature on applications would never be this easy. Setting the android:resizableActivity attribute to true would make the app screen resizeable.

multi-window-portrait

With Notifications API Improvements, the company has bought the feature that is intended to be served by most of the applications – Direct Reply in the Notification Bar. No longer you have to open apps to reply to conversations or e-mails. This is achieved by the RemoteInput API that was introduced for the Android Wear, to communicate messages to the device. Notifications from an app can also be now bundled into a single unit that expands to multiple ones, occupying lesser space on the screen.

Battery saving moves to the next level with an improved Doze mode, that saves battery even when the screen turns off. Only the ones marked as high priority would run in the background, such as tasks like alarm notifier.

DOze_Fig

 

But Java 8 Support is an update? Yes. Support for Java 8 means that there is a reduction in the boilerplate code of your application. Also it adds numerous functions such as static and default methods,lambda expressions, streams and functional interfaces. This would make Android go a longer mile.

The new Network Security Configuration lets apps customize the behavior of their secure (HTTPS, TLS) connections safely, without any code modification. For Android Work, selective apps can now be blocked of use. When work mode is off the managed user is temporarily shut down, which disables work profile apps, background sync, and notifications.

Android_N_Datasaver

Android N also supports number-blocking in the platform and provides a framework API to let service providers maintain a blocked-number list. The default SMS app, the default phone app, and provider apps can read from and write to the blocked-number list.

To get started with developer preview, g.co/androidbeta. Once you sign up, head over to the setup guide. Know more about features, here is the official developer guide.So, for the Google IO this year, improvements to the Android N and also the new Android Studio v2, which is currently in beta, is on the cards.

Varun is a Software Developer by profession and blogger by passion. He likes to talk about technology and things on the internet that makes life easy.