Today Google is letting us in on the next big release of the world’s most popular mobile operating system, Android. The new version of Android is still being developed, but Google is releasing it to developers in hopes that they can get plenty of feedback on the new version of the OS. The more time they have to incorporate that feedback into the next release of Android, the better.
Here are a few of the more high profile changes.
For years now we’ve seen that having multiple windows open on the same screen is possible in Android. Samsung heavily promotes the fact that their phones support it, and manufacturers like LG and Sony also incorporate the ability for apps to float on top of each other. Now we’ll be seeing native support for this feature in Android.
This is big because developers will now be able to code in support for this feature. We will see more apps with the ability to pop out and continue to function while you complete other tasks. I have a Nexus 6P, which has a 5.7″ screen. My screen has more than enough real estate to let me watch a video from YouTube or Netflix in a pop out window while still looking at Reddit or Google Plus. Now that feature will hopefully come on every phone with Android N.
Direct reply notifications
Google will now be incorporating the ability to reply to messages from the notification shade. We have seen third party apps, and even Google’s own Hangouts app incorporate quick reply, and now it will be available in stock Android.
When a message comes in, a notification will appear at the top of the screen and give you the option to reply directly to the message. To my eye, this appears to be pretty similar to how iOS allows users to reply to text messages at the top of the screen.
Interestingly enough, we’re also seeing the power toggles in the screenshot for Quick Reply. We’ll have to see if they show up when you pull down the shade, or if it will still require an extra swipe.
Project Svelte is Android’s answer to keeping system requirements manageable. Phones are only getting more powerful, but Android has to play nice with a many different manufactures and many different specifications. Keeping the minimum system requirements reasonable will open doors for cheaper, better phones.
Doze currently works to increase your battery life when your screen is off and the phone is lying still. In Android N, Doze will now kick in when your screen goes off. Applications that have high priority notifications will still be able to wake your phone.
If you frequently get multiple notifications from one app, this feature may interest you. Developers will now be able to group multiple notifications together to save space in your notification area. A simple tap of the group and they will expand to reveal more details.
We expect to see more details emerge in the run up to Google I/O in May. The release today is intended for developers only, but a more friendly beta release will go out to the public around Google I/O. Builds of Android N will then be handed off to manufacturers in the summer.
If you want to check out the Android N Developer Beta, head over to Google’s new Android N Developer Preview page. You can also keep your eyes peeled to the Android Preview page for more stable builds when they become available.