“The more we upgrade, the more we use” Our motto has really been promising for us ever since we have achieved a lot in the field of technology. Talking about smartphones, now probably it’s our heart and soul for us. Without it we are heartless! But for these “LIVING” parts, they need to be upgraded on regular intervals. So for today, will have a talk on the upcoming android upgrade, i.e., The “N”. We will be covering some major topics which will be boon for users like you!
What is Android N?
Every major release of Android gets a version number and a nickname. Android 6.x is “Marshmallow.” Android 5.x is “Lollipop.” Android 4.4 is “KitKat.” And so on and so forth.
ANDROID N DEVELOPER PREVIEW
And we also don’t yet know what the nickname will be. Google chief Hiroshi Lockheimer teased that “We’re nut tellin’ you yet.” Maybe that’s leaning toward “Nutella” – which pretty much is the most tasty treat ever to be tasted — or maybe it’s some other sort of “nut.” Or a red herring. Point is, we don’t have any idea just yet.
We do, however, have a fairly good idea for when we’ll actually see Android N be released. We’ve been told to expect five preview builds in total, with the final public release (including the code push to the Android Open Source Project) to come in Q3 2016. That lines up with previous releases, between October and the end of the year.
That’s all ancillary. What is Android N? It’s a whole lot of change, from the looks of it.
Android Developer Beta
Until Android N, Developer Previews were a decidedly nerdy affair. They still are, in many respects, but they’ve also become much more accessible to a lot of people.
Android developer previews really have one goal: To give app developers (and to a different extent, hardware partners) an early look at upcoming features, and the code that powers them.
The Android Developer Beta makes it far easier to play, however. Previously you’d have to manually flash factory restore images to the supported devices. That generally involves some command-line work and SDK-type stuff — not really anything a casual user wants or needs to get involved in. But the Android Developer Program allows anyone with a supported device to opt in and receive over-the-air updates for the Android N Developer Preview. All your app data remains as it was (unless and until you opt out, in which case you’ll receive a downgrade over-the-air “update” and end up with a clean device.
That’s good and bad. It makes it easier for anyone with a Nexus device (and for these purposes the Pixel C fits that bill) to enter the Android Developer Beta.
Android N could make updates easier on everyone
We’ve been peeking inside the factory images for the Android N developer preview and have noticed what appears to be a pretty major sea change for Android. The code appears to now be arranged to make it easier for device manufacturers to update their own features and settings without disturbing the core Android parts. (At least not nearly as badly.) We’re doing a bit of educated guesswork here, but that means a few things.
It would mean less development overhead for manufacturers. That means less time and money getting updated code to your phone. It also means that regular security updates — an increasingly important part of this whole ecosystem — theoretically will be easier to apply, which means you might actually get them if you’re on something other than a Nexus device.
So what’s new in Android N?
If you had to boil what a major release of Android (or any operating system) means to just a single acronym, it’d be this: APIs. That’s short for Application Program Interface, and it’s what allows apps to do, well, anything. There are a ton of new ones coming in Android N, and we’ve only gotten a small taste thus far. More should be announced as we get new preview builds.
Some, however, are more anticipated than others.
This is the big one we’ve been waiting for. Multi-window support — that is, two apps running side by side on the same display — was hidden deep within the first Android M preview in 2015, before being unceremoniously removed in a subsequent build. It was never really meant for public consumption, nor was it ever really publicly mentioned.
That is, until Google released the Pixel C tablet in late 2015. It’s a bit of an odd product with an odd 1√2 aspect ratio — the same as a standard sheet of paper. That lets you fold it in half and have the same aspect ratio — perfect for running apps side by side.
Only, the Pixel C launched without that feature. So it was pretty clear then that we’d probably see multi-window with the N release in 2016. And we now have it. And not just on tablets — it works on phones as well. This is going to be one feature that developers need to take a look at very quickly.
Direct reply notifications and bundled notifications
We’ve been able to interact with notifications for a good long while now. Not every app supports this, but look at Gmail as an early example. Pull down the notification, and archive an email without actually having to open it. Brilliant.
Google Hangouts took this a step further, allowing you to reply to messages right from the notification try, without having to open the app, or the message itself. It’s slick.
You’ll now be able to have bundled notifications. Or, rather, better bundled notifications. Think of it as more information in one place. Have a half-dozen emails come in through Gmail? You’ll be able to see more subject lines at one time in the notification area.
Android for Work
There are a lot of changes coming to Android for Work in Android N. This is Google’s system for allowing a company to have some control over your work phone.
One big change is that companies will be able to provision phones for Android for Work by simply scanning a QR code. Here’s a quick rundown of other new Android for Work features that may be coming to a work device near you:
- You might see a security challenge when trying to open a work-controlled application.
- New rules for password policies — different required password lengths, for example.
- Apps can be temporarily suspended. (We warned you that you were spending too much time on Facebook.)
- A work profile could force a VPN connection, which would fire up when the device boots.
- Better integration of work and personal contacts, if permitted.
- Devices can be remotely rebooted — useful if you have, say, a tablet tucked in some sort of kiosk housing where the power button isn’t accessible.
- Better device activity logging to keep an eye out for nefarious actors. Like Stephen Dorff.
- Disabling of location functions for work apps while still allowing them for personal apps.
- Custom lock screen messages. “Think different.” Or something like that.
- And other little things like locking down the wallpaper and user icon.
So, a lot of stuff that you might or might not ever see. But it’s still cool to have available for businesses.
Not everybody wants to churn through their data plan just as fast as possible. Android N adds a new tool in settings to help with this. When you turn the Data Saver feature on in settings, “the system blocks background data usage and signals apps to use less data in the foreground wherever possible.” You’ll be able to whitelist any apps you want to ignore the Data Saver setting.
But Data Saver only kicks in when you’re on a “metered” connection, and your Android device generally is smart enough to tell when this is. A mobile network is the obvious example here, but there can be metered Wi-Fi networks as well (as set by the DHCP lease).
In addition to living the in settings, Data Saver gets a notification icon and can be toggled in quick-settings.
This splits things into two groups when you first power up your phone. One group is able to do things before you unlock the device. Apps like SMS messages and alarm clocks and accessibility features may need to use this.
Anything else gets soloed off in a separate storage area until the device is unlocked. That’s a very cool preview feature.
Scoped directories tighten access to storage
This is pretty cool. Previously if an application needed access to a storage folder beyond its own data folder, you’d have to grant it a pretty sweeping permission — reading or writing to all of external storage.
Scoped directories tightens things up both from a security standpoint as well as a matter of organization. If an app always (and only) needs access to your pictures, this new API makes it so the app only gets access to the Pictures folder and not the whole smash. It’s neater, and it’s safer.
Picture-in-picture and TV recording
Android TV is getting smarter. If you’ve got a Nexus Player (or eventually something like a NVIDIA Shield TV) you’ll be able to watch video picture-in-picture as you use other applications. So you can watch Hungry Shark Evolution videos while you’re playing Hungry Shark Evolution, for example. (That’s pretty hard-core.)
Android TV also is gaining some proper TV recording features. (This will be good if you have a television with Android TV baked in.) You already can pause and rewind channel playback. But in N you’ll be able to save more than one session. That allows you to schedule recordings or hit record as you start watching — basic DVR functionality, really.
So that’s it, folks. The Android N Developer Preview process is a long one. It’s just starting, and we’ve got months to go still. So don’t worry keep on reading and stay updated as well as upgraded!