We've received quite a few emails in the last 24 hours excitedly pointing to the following tag in the Nexus 5's repository on the Android project as evidence Google plans to bring Android N to the phone. Specifically, there is a tag in the Nexus 5 repo called "android-n-preview-1" - which many are taking to be a signal that Google is actively developing Android N for the Nexus 5.
Unfortunately, such interpretations are not supported by the existence of this tag. As a result of the tools Google uses as part of building Android, pretty much any device that is currently supported (note that current support does not mean future support) by Google will generate tags for new versions of the operating system regardless of whether or not they'll actually get them. Read More
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. Read More
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.
The second option is a more subtle way of activating DND by using the volume buttons on your device. Read More
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. Read More
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.
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More