Google just announced the developer preview for Android N and it’s earlier than we expected.

For the past two years, Google has typically announced a developer preview of the next version of Android at their developer conference, Google I/O.

Just like the developer previews before it, N doesn’t have a version number nor a name yet. Some are predicting that Android N will be called Android Nutella, it would mark the second-time that Google has done a corporate partnership for an Android name, the first being KitKat back in 2013.

Google’s SVP of Android, Chromecast, Chrome OS, Hiroshi Lockheimer teased the name in a Medium post he wrote talking about Android N:

So, the burning question that’s on everyone’s mind: what will the N release be named? We’re nut tellin’ you yet.

This could be a “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” at saying that Nutella might be the name for Android N or it could just be Google trolling us, like they did with the Milkshake watchface that Google’s David Burke had on his Android Wear watch during the Google I/O 2015 press conference.

Let’s get into to the details about what Google announced today:

Preview images: The preview images for Android N are available now for the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Nexus 9 and Pixel C.

android-n-n

Android Beta: Google has announced a new Android Beta program to make it easier to try new versions of Android on development devices via OTA (over-the-air), you can visit: g.co/androidbeta for more.

Multi-window: Android N adds support for split-screen multitasking (or multi-window), so then basically you can do things at once and this does work on both Android tablets as well as Android smartphones.

How multiwindow works in Android N on smartphones and tablets.
How multiwindow works in Android N on smartphones and tablets.
Multiwindow on a smartphone.
Multiwindow on a smartphone in landscape.
nexus2cee_jmrBpQB
The black icon next to the X is how you’ll be able to put apps into multiwindow mode.

Notifications: The notification panel is being redesigned in Android N. You’ll also be able to reply directly to specific notifications directly from the notification panel using the whole new API that any app can add the standardized direct reply feature.

Quick reply notifications in Android N.
Quick reply notifications in Android N.
Replying directly to a message in the notification shade in Android N.
Replying directly to a message in the notification shade in Android N.

In addition, Android N will introduce bundled notifications so it will group notifications from the same app together. Then those grouped notifications can be expanded into individual notifications.

Bundled notifications in Android N.
Bundled notifications in Android N.

Doze improvements: Google is making improvements to their Doze feature so then it will be able to save battery life whenever the screen is off and not just when it’s stationary. This should greatly help phones last much longer than before when not in use.

Java 8: Android N will also bring support for the Java 8 language, which should be great for developers.

Discount on Pixel C for developers: In an effort to encourage developers to test out Android N on tablets, Google is currently offering $150 off the 64GB model of the Pixel C. If you are an eligible dev, you can sign-up here.

PixelC_open

(Note: This offer does not apply toward the Pixel C keyboard and is unconfirmed when this offer is just valid for developers in the US or is valid to developers elsewhere.)

Summer release for Android N: Hiroshi Lockheimer also said that the final version of Android N will be released this summer, which could mean anywhere from June 21st to September 21st 2016. Hopefully we’ll learn a bit more a Google I/O 2016.

android-n-2

Also in his Medium post, Lockheimer says that final version of Android N will made available to manufacturers this summer as well.

By releasing the first preview and asking for your feedback now (in March!), we’ll be able to act on that feedback while still being able to hand off the final N release to device makers this summer, so they can get their hands on the latest version of Android earlier than ever.

On the Android developer website, it breaks down the timeline and updates release schedule.

n-preview-roadmap

  • Preview 1 (initial release, alpha) (this is the one that was released today)
  • Preview 2 (incremental update, beta)
  • Preview 3 (incremental update, beta)
  • Preview 4 (final APIs and official SDK, Play publishing)
  • Preview 5 (near-final system images for final testing)
  • Final release to AOSP and ecosystem

There was also new wallpaper that can with the developer preview, you can download them here in two resolutions: 2331×19202880×2560.

lEK6VVu

You can find the official Android N blog post from Dave Burke here and Hiroshi Lockheimer’s announcement on Medium here.

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