Well, if you had been patiently waiting to preview Android N, you have a reason to smile. The month of April has been very exciting with the launch of Android N’s developer previews, and has the whole tech industry talking about its marvels. Launched 2 months ahead of its planned release, the developers preview not only allows you to deep-dive into the new features/functionality but also gives you a feel of the UI/UX changes that will take you by a storm.
While Google plans to introduce the final version of Android N in Q3, 2016, it is also confirmed that the first devices to get the software will be Nexus devices like Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6, Pixel C, Nexus 9 and Nexus Player. And it goes without saying that like the previous developer preview that was done for Android M better known as Android Marshmallow, the first and the second version does not contain all the new features of the next version of Android.
And while much has been said in anticipation of this new software, we guarantee that Android N’s feature/functionality will transport you to the future and this is why it has become our ‘new’ personal favorite.
Updated Menu Options
A returning feature in the Android N is the hamburger menu which makes life easier with its swipe-out navigation drawer that flashes the top settings menu, at the tap of your fingers. This features has been further enhanced to provide an escape/back option to the main settings screen, especially useful when you are deep into the sub-settings menu. In addition to this, the addition of this enhanced menu, also says a goodbye to the duplicated actions of the back arrows in the navigation bar and the settings bar. This feature allows users to quickly jump to other system options using the left menu panel, without having to return via traditional format, making the device a smarter one.
Reply to messages from the Notifications Bar
Another new addition to the Android functionality, which is strikingly similar to the Apple iOS, allows allow users to reply to messages using the notification bar itself. With this, the user will not need to leave an app to answer a message or even unlock their phone.
As we saw in the Marshmallow developer preview, Google has been striving to get multitasking functionalities to Android devices. And even though this functionality was withdrawn with Android 6.0 Marshmallow, Google is all set to take its big step forward with Android N. This functionality allows users to work on split screens to allow two apps to run smoothly at the very same time.
New Notifications Panel
The notification panel comes as a surprise and has been redesigned to align with the new functionality and overcome all previous leaks. Icons above the notification shade are now more prominent, and on the far right there is a dropdown toggle to expand the panel. It is now possible to respond to messages directly from within a notification. In addition, you can now ‘stack’ notifications and further optimize the space in the notification area.
Enhanced ‘Doze’ Mode
And this is one doze that every device must have. Android N comes with an updated battery saver mode—popularly known as Doze—that allows you device to save battery not only when it runs low on it, but all the time, which means even when the phone is in sleep mode, it’s saving your battery Doze. Wonderful isn’t it!
Doze operates on a two step mode. Under the first step, whenever the device detects that the screen has been ‘sleeping’ for a while—whether it is stationary or not, your phone is automatically moved to a battery saver mode. The second step taken by Doze is when your phone is not in use, it will enter a hibernation mode that defers network and other activity, until it completes its maintenance cycle, before restoring to sleep mode.
Android Beta Program
Yet another feature that makes Android N a hero is its ability to receive preview builds and updates, over the air. This functionality avoids the support of flashing factory images, to function. This allows users with any compatible device to sign up for the Android Beta Program, under which sends automated preview builds to users.
It is also being said that Google claims to be working hard on Project Svelte—a set of tweaks that make Android more able to run on aging and less-powerful devices—for the formal launch of Android N. This project originates from Android KitKat but we don't know much about it yet. More details should follow with the full release of Android N.
Put your emergency info on your lock screen
Now that’s what we call ‘a great idea’. Android N now has a setting that allows you to provide a link to your emergency information on your lock screen, including your name, blood type, address, allergies and other essential information that may be required if you find yourself in an accident and unable to communicate. While this feature still requires much work on itself, still it’s a big step towards adding an interpersonal dimension, at the least.
The camera interface has been enhanced with some new icons that allow you to take photos while recording video via a dedicated shutter button above the recording button. Shooting photos on HDR mode is much faster than it used to be and Slow Motion has re-appeared in the hamburger menu navigation drawer.
New messaging app
Another good news it the new messaging app that developers have been anticipating with the Android N. This new app will not only replace the unpopular Hangouts SMS/MMs integration but will also allow text to be shuttled around, video calling, instant file sharing and more. Now that will be a big relief for all Android loyalists.
Improved Smart Lock for Passwords
Another feature that comes handy with the new Android N is the improvised smart lock for passwords. This feature was introduced with the Android Marshmallow and allowed users to store their app passwords, so that one didn't require to sign-in over and over again. While the idea was a smart one then, the feature had limitations of compatibility with many apps that did not allow securing passwords. Therefore, with Android N, we hope that this issue is resolved so that users continue to have their business as usual, even when they upgrade the OS.