Android N

Via Ars Technica:

Google I/O is happening on May 18-20, but forget Google I/O—the developer preview of the next version of Android is launching,right now.,Google has posted the Android N Developer Preview for the Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6, Pixel C Nexus 9, and the Nexus Player.

Having used the developer preview for the past couple days, I’ve got a couple thoughts so far:

  • While in Lollipop, Android seemed to play it safe and tackle more of the esthetic issues (by introducing the new Material Design language) rather than adding more features, N is very much the opposite. It’s an Android nerd release with lots of shortcuts, UI tuner options, and under the hood tweaks and refinements.
  • The new notification shade will get better once more apps are updated to support the new functionality (you can do inline replies to messages, emails, etc) but for now they feel a little cluttered and wordy. Also, having them run end-to-end without a left and right margin takes some getting used to. I liked how much they allowed each notification some breathing room in Lollipop and Marshmallow.
  • Split-screen works surprisingly well already with very little support from apps. There are a couple hang-ups but overall it seems like it’ll be a solid feature.
  • Speaking of stability, the entire dev preview is actually much more stable than I was initially led to believe. The animations, overall, are quick and smooth. I’ve noticed a slight delay when using the keyboard that seems to persist across a number of apps so it’s not without its issues but most of the ones I’ve experienced have been minor. Still, I wouldn’t recommend people use it on a device they rely on every day.
  • With new enhanced settings for larger displays, it looks like Android will finally be taking advantage of those extra pixels on bigger devices such as the 6P or Note.

The final build of Android N doesn’t have a release date yet but i’d expect to see it drop sometime this summer.