Android N is all around us — seriously, have you seen the number of Android N Feature Spotlight stories we've published in less than a week? (Hint: there are 40 and more are pending), but there's a lot we don't know about the next version of Android yet. We know the preview will get more frequent updates than L or M prior to release, we know the final release will be available in the summer, and we know that it's the bestest, awesomest, and most feature-packed'est version of Android yet. We don't know the name though, nor the software version.
But just as it did with KitKat (Key Lime Pie), Lollipop (Lemon Meringue Pie), and Marshmallow (Macadamia Nut Cookie), Google has an internal name for N: New York Cheesecake. Read More
Every time there's a new version of Android on the horizon, there's also a rash of speculation as to what dessert Google will use for its next codename. For Android N, now in an early and promising developer preview, the situation is no different. Android fans seem stuck on "Nutella," which would mean another licensed deal like the one with the KitKat rollout, though it's at least faintly possible that Google will use the name of an Indian dessert, as CEO Sundar Pichai hinted in a question and answer session. He also said in that same session that Google might conduct an online poll for future Android codenames... Read More
The developer preview of Android N may have been released a week ago, but we're still discovering loads of changes and new stuff across the OS. The most recent one that's come to our attention is a new toggle in Sound Settings for mono audio, which makes both left and right audio channels get played back simultaneously through any active sound output.
There are plenty of reasons why someone would want to play sound in mono instead of stereo. Many people prefer listening to music with a single earbud in their ear, but with stereo playback this meant that half the song was never heard. Read More
The Android N preview is here, and we're all rather excited about it. (Galaxy S7? G5? Mi 5? What's that?) Android N, even in its primordial preview form, is already showing us tons of new features and changes to the Android OS at large. There are over forty Android N stories on Android Police already, and N has been announced for under a week. And we're still on the first preview. There's a lot going on here.
And there's doubtless more we haven't discovered yet. Changes that will pop up as the N preview continues to update over the next four-plus months, the longest preview of any Android OS release yet. Read More
You're probably aware of Google's new multi-window feature in Android N. We've demoed it a few times, but there's yet more multitasking goodness to go over. When you're in split-screen, it's possible to drag and drop text between windows. Yes, Samsung has done this for a few years, and the Android N implementation is messy. Buy hey, we're getting there. Read More
Google is really focused on making Android more work-friendly, and N adds a bunch of new features to improve Android for Work. For starters, there's now a toggle that'll completely disable a device's work profile, including apps, notifications, and background sync. While work mode is turned off, a persistent icon will be displayed in the status bar to remind users that work apps can't launch.
Image credit to Andrew Quebe
Work profiles in N now also support an additional layer of protection by letting administrators specify a security challenge whenever a work app is launched. This challenge may be in the form of either a pin, a fingerprint, or a password, and the administrator can also specify things like the required minimum password length or the password's "quality."
Here's a quick overview of the many more new additions to Android for Work in N:
- Always-on VPN lets the device automatically start up a work VPN at boot time, so that apps can only access the internet through a "secure" connection.
Are you bilingual? And I mean bilingual in the real, fluent sense, not in the "one year of high school Spanish" sense. If so, you'll want to check out a new multi-lingual option in the Language & Input menu in Android N. This might seem counterintuitive, but consider the advantages of your phone knowing which languages you know: when taking advantage of new API settings, apps like Search can show you content in multiple languages that are relevant to you, or skip the "translate to English" message when it knows you don't need it. Read More
File storage on Android has been a complicated subject over the years. It started very simply with private folders for each app and a pair of permissions for read and write access to just about everything else. The seeds of change were planted with Honeycomb when Google quietly closed off write access to secondary storage like SD cards, but most people didn't take notice until Google insisted OEMs enforce the same rules in KitKat.
Each year since, new APIs have been introduced to give developers new ways to work with the filesystem or even abstract it out of view while also improving security and maintaining privacy. Read More
Many of you were a little overexcited when the Android N developer preview appeared the other day and instantly flashed it on your device. If so, you may have been dismayed to learn that doing so apparently prevented you from getting OTA updates in the new beta program. At least, that's how things looked at the time—it said so right on the download page. We reached out to Google to confirm that, and it turns out that warning wasn't worded quite right. You can still get OTAs after flashing the system image. Read More