Google surprised many by unveiling the Android N developer preview version earlier than the expected schedule. This is actually more than two months before the expected time of release, which is somewhere in May during the annual Google I/O developer conference.
The company has further gone ahead to introduce a new Android Beta Program where enthusiasts can get a taste of the new version before it is fully released to the public. As it turns out, it seems Android N is already winning the battle it just launched against its predecessor – Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
Here’re 10 features that already make the upcoming Android N a better OS than the current Android Marshmallow.
Split Screen first appeared as a hidden setting in Android 6.0 Marshmallow preview; however, it is no longer hidden in the upcoming Android N. In the new OS, the split screen feature has two ways of enabling it: press and hold the Recents button or when inside the Recents view, simply drag any application to the top or bottom of the screen and that’s it.
The good side of the story is that users will still be able to adjust the size of each window on the split screen. There is no word of whether this split-screen multitasking feature will come to all Android N devices, but all we know is that Android tablets will become better at productivity.
Better notifications system
Notifications have become a formidable part of Android OS and Google is even making them better with the new Android N. In addition to changes in looks, Google has also added quick reply where responding to messages can be done right from the notification panel.
The OS also comes in with bundled notifications. This feature brings together all notifications from one app rather than having them separated. It is possible to get a preview of each notification to know what each is all about. There is also room to access notification controls by half-swiping to the right.
Finally, the stock Android will come with night mode or rather a darker theme. This feature showed up in Marshmallow preview, but it will now be coming to Android N. If you are familiar with how f.lux works, you will find the Night Mode on the new OS a very useful addition.
As security concerns keep deepening, Google wants to assure its users that they are safer than before. When you try accessing your phone from a locked position, an “Emergency” button will appear at the bottom where you can easily dial 911 or another number.
While this is not new to the Android niche, what’s new is the “Emergency Info” button that homes all the important information about you where anyone trying to help you out of your emergency situation can access it. Here, you can add information such as your address, emergency contacts, medical conditions such as allergies and other information.
Customizable UI settings
It is now possible to play around with the UI settings more than before. You can easily customize your status bar and choose the icons to include in the panel, for instance, cellular data, percentage of battery, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and so forth.
To access these customization options, you need to locate the System UI Tuner, which is a bit hidden. Hold down the gear icon visible in the notifications shade and a setting option will show up.
More detailed settings
Google wants to take care of the hassle involved in going through settings through its updated settings menu. Android N now comes with setting suggestions where you may be greeted with a suggested option to change at the top of the menu.
The new settings menu also comes with previews under each item, which can save you a great deal of time. Furthermore, Android N users can easily view the entire settings list by just swiping from the left or by simply pressing the hamburger menu located at the upper left of the screen.
This is a feature that will come in handy for any person with eyesight problems. While previous versions of the OS have allowed users to easily change the size of text used on the device, the new DPI scaling feature will take into account the entire user interface.
This means that in case of any poor eyesight cases, you can easily make items bigger so that viewing them is not a problem at all. There is also the option of reducing the size of everything so that fitting all the information you want on the screen is not a problem.
Quick switching between apps
It is now more than easier to switch between multiple apps, just like you do with Alt + Tab on your PC. To switch between active apps, just double tap on the Recents button and you’ll be in your last app in no time. Another double tap will switch you back to the previous app.
Customized quick settings tiles
The new Android N will also bring some changes to the Quick Settings menu, with the most notable one being able to access up to five settings right when you pull down the notifications panel. The tiles are also paginated and there is a new edit button where users can easily adjust the order of the tiles from here.