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Android Studio 2.1 Preview Adds Support For The Android N Preview And Java 8

Yesterday you read about (and maybe understood) the new Java 8 language features coming with the Android N Developer Preview. One of the prerequisites of using these improvements is the latest version of Android Studio. The IDE was briefly mentioned in that article, but we thought it deserved a little more attention for both the improvements and some of the caveats to updating right now.

The Android Studio 2.1 Preview 1 is based on the current 2.0 version in the beta channel. The changelog is basically a roadmap to supporting the new features promised with Android N: support for Java 8, improved support for the Jack compiler, and an updated New Project wizard to generate projects targeting the Android N Preview.

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Android N Feature Spotlight: Some Do Not Disturb Tweaks Are Hidden In The System UI Tuner

The System UI Tuner option of Android N changes a couple of things from Marshmallow. We've already covered how you can use it to tweak your status bar and calibrate the color of your screen, but there's another aspect that it lets you modify and that's the Do not disturb (DND) mode.

Two settings can be changed for DND in the System UI Tuner: Show with volume buttons and Volume buttons shortcut. The first one will always show a DND toggle each time you change your volume, allowing you to quickly set DND on or off.

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The second option is a more subtle way of activating DND by using the volume buttons on your device.

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Android N Feature Spotlight: Long-Press On Notifications Now Opens In-Line Notification Options

Google has changed the way notification long-pressing works in each of the last few versions of Android, and N is no different. Long-pressing again gives you quick access to notification options, but it's even quicker now as you don't have to leave the notification shade to see them.

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Android N Feature Spotlight: Settings Will Now Suggest Items For You

We've already covered lots of changes in Android N's settings menu, but one thing we didn't mention is a new Suggestions box that shows up on top of the settings but below the contextual settings (for Battery Saver or Data Saver for example).

When you first launch Android N and if you haven't activated Google Now / OK Google yet, you'll see a suggestion to go to Voice search and actions and enable it. After you start using your device, you'll start seeing other suggestions like changing the wallpaper or setting up a screen lock if you haven't already.

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Left screenshot courtesy of +Francisco Franco

For now, these suggestions seem to be smart and not pester you with settings that you've already modified.

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Partial AOSP Changelog Posted For Android N Developer Preview

Are you tired of Android N already, or are you itching to get even deeper into the preview release? If you're leaning towards the latter, you may want to check out the changelog generated from a fresh code push to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). Don't get too excited, this isn't a complete platform release (confirmed by Bill Yi), so it doesn't include things like the changes to the notification shade. Rather, the changes uploaded yesterday are mostly for the GPL projects used in Android, and there are still plenty of interesting bites of knowledge to take away from those, as well.

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Android N Feature Spotlight: New Force Close Pop-Up Has "Reset And Restart" And "Mute Until Device Restarts" Options

With Android N being just a preview release meant for developers and users who like to live on the bleeding edge like you and me, apps are likely to misbehave, processes will become unresponsive, and thus you are bound to see the Force Close pop-up much more often than you are used to on more stable Android releases.

However, as users get more and more of these pop-ups, the system seems to recognize responsible apps and offer more options than you are used to seeing in previous versions of Android. First, here are the usual force close options that you'll see on the first few instances of an application crashing.

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Android N Feature Spotlight: Long Tapping The Flashlight In Quick Settings Launches The Camera, Other Icons Go To Their Respective Settings

If there's one thing that keeps changing across different Android versions, it's the notifications and quick settings drop-down. Google can't seem to make up its mind about which way works better and N's latest changes to quick settings are a testament to that. While the new customization options are the most prominent modification, there's another one worth looking at and it affects how you go into the detailed settings of each quick settings item.

You might recall a drop-down arrow in Lollipop 5.1 and Marshmallow for the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth icons, but that's gone in N. Instead, you can long tap on any icon and you'll be taken to its settings.

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Android N Feature Spotlight: Easily Change Your Device's Display DPI With Screen Zoom

Android N keeps spilling more and more of its secrets, and we're still trying to go through all the new features added in this latest and sweetest preview of Android. One feature that any developer will applaud and many users will love is the ability to manually fake a specific DPI on your phone, making it think it's got a larger screen with smaller and tighter elements or a smaller one with bigger and more interspersed items. That was previously possible with third-party apps when rooted or with adb on non-rooted devices, but it's now a native and easy to switch feature.

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Android N Feature Spotlight: More Powerful Built-In File Manager Adds Move, Rename, Create, And Multiple Instances

In M, Android introduced a much needed file explorer that allowed users to browse their internal storage's directories, copy items, share them, open files that they may not have been able to access otherwise, and find specific ones they're looking for, all without the need for a third-party file explorer. This integrated browser is getting even better in Android N with a lot of new functionality and the addition of more powerful actions that weren't available in the previous iteration.

The browser is still hidden in Android's Settings > Storage > Explore, and once you open it, you'll see a similar interface to the one available in Marshmallow, but with lots of new features.

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Android N Feature Spotlight: Updated ART Compiler Means No More Obnoxiously Long 'Optimizing Apps' Step And Much Faster App Installs

If you did the Android N beta OTA, you might have noticed something is missing—there's no more painfully tedious optimizing apps pop up after the update. This step is over almost instantly following the update to Android N. An improved version of the ART (Android Runtime) is fast enough that Android doesn't need to hold you up anymore. Fantastic.

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