On the list of things I expected to see today, a beta of Android N was not on that list. After all, we are still a few weeks away from Google I/O and that has traditionally been when we see the latest builds of the next version of Android. Not this year. Google dropped the first technical preview of the next generation of the mobile Operating System today and if you have a Nexus device, you can download it to your device right now. But I would seriously, seriously wait.
Android N is very much expected to be a refinement release of Android, not necessarily revolutionary. Much of the focus is going to be on increasing productivity which is most visible in the new split-screen functionality. With N, you are going to be able to view two apps at once on your device, a particularly handy feature on tablets where multitasking is a bit hindered by this feature not being available in Marshmallow.
As we have seen in rumor posts over the course of the last few weeks, the notification shade gets some attention too. Now panels in notifications are seamless and have a bit more context and information on them than you will find in Marshmallow. Multiple notifications from one app will now be bundled together so they don’t fill up your entire shade which is really handy for sports apps or travel apps.
Another big update is under the hood and has to do with power management, Doze in particular. I’ve been pretty vocal that I think Doze is the killer feature of Marshmallow but it isn’t perfect. Google seems to be working on it by enabling some power savings when the screen is turned off. This is a big deal because right now, Doze only works when the screen is off and the device is stationary. If it is in your pocket as you walk around, sorry, no Doze for you. Android N seems to address this aspect of the feature.
So, for those who are thinking about slapping this onto your phone or tablet, keep in mind this is the first beta of this release. It is rough. Really rough. Think not fully baked. It is not recommend that you put this early build on your daily drivers – at all. There are going to be crashes, issues and things that just don’t work.
And for the love of God man, don’t give a one-star rating on an app that doesn’t work in N. Developers just got access to this today too! 🙂
If you really, really, really, really, want to put this on your device, you have to have one of the following:
- Nexus 5X
- Nexus 6P
- Nexus 6
- Nexus 9
- Nexus 9 LTE
- Pixel C
- Nexus Player
Further, if you really, really, really, really want to install it, here is the link to get them but again, don’t do this unless you are comfortable flashing devices and you don’t mind issues.
Did I say there are going to be issues with this first beta? Yeah… yeah I did.