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:
- While in Lollipop, Android played it safe and tackle more of the aesthetic issues (by introducing the new Material Design language) rather than adding more features, N is 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 and emails) but for now they feel cluttered and wordy. Having them run end-to-end without a left and right margin takes getting used to. I liked how much they allowed each notification some breathing room in Lollipop and Marshmallow.
- Split-screen works with little support needed from apps. There are a couple hang-ups but it seems like it’ll be a solid feature.
- Speaking of stability, the entire dev preview is much more stable than I was initially led to believe. The animations are quick and smooth. I’ve noticed a slight delay when using the keyboard that persist across a number of apps so it’s not without its issues but the ones I’ve experienced have been minor. 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.