In a move surprising many, today Google revealed they would be unveiling Android N to the public very, very early as a developer preview. This Android preview build is even easier to install on devices than ever before too, with supported devices allowing users to opt-in to the new Android Beta Program that would allow them to install the Android N preview like a regular update, and receive iterative updates via OTA. Currently, devices supported by the Android Beta Program include the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Nexus 9, and Pixel C, with Android N also available on the official Android emulator.
While this brand new build of Android touts an array of new features, the most attractive being the new multi-window mode, allowing users to take better advantage of the screen real-estate that modern devices possess. The function works in both portrait and landscape screen orientations, as well as providing an array of options as to how multi-windows should be handled, including the choice of a TV-like picture-in-picture mode aimed at use with video apps.
Other additions to Android in this version include direct reply notifications, allowing users to respond to messages conveniently from the notification, and the option for all notifications from a single app to be bundled together and viewed individually using gestures. Also included is improved efficiency through a new version of Marshmallow Doze to save battery and numerous tweaks behind the scenes to optimize memory usage and the speed of background processes. Developers will also be able to make use of new Java 8 features from Android N onwards.
This is still a very early build of Android N, so it is obviously not advisable to use this on an everyday device, with Google releasing it so early in order to collect developer feedback earlier than usual and allow for an easier handoff of the full version to device manufacturers by summer. Hopefully, these moves by Google will result in an even better version of Android than ever.