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dev preview

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Google announces Android P: Notch support, multi-camera API, indoor positioning, and more

We expected Android P to land in mid-March, possibly as a whimsical reference to Pie day (3/14), but it turns out we don't have to wait this long. Android P is now official and as with years past, we're getting the first developer preview today with zero allusion as to what the full name might be. The image above could be a bit reminiscent of popsicles, but that's possibly Google just trolling everyone.

There are many new features and APIs available to developers, but before we get started on that, let me answer your most urgent questions:

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The first Android P developer preview will apparently arrive in mid-March

Android O developer previews began rolling out in March last year, and if a tweet from famed leaker Evan Blass is to be trusted, we should be getting the first Android P developer preview at approximately the same time. That means that we've only got one or two weeks to wait.

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Developer Preview 4 of Android Things OS is now available

Google officially released Android Things OS last year as a developer preview. If you're not familiar with it, the OS is a lightweight version of Android that maintains support for popular Android developer tools and APIs, like Android Studio and Google Play Services. The developer preview has received a few updates since then, with the last one adding support for the Google Assistant SDK.

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Android O feature spotlight: Custom shortcuts can now be added to the lockscreen via System UI Tuner

Google's version of Android has historically been relatively light on features, but the Mountain View-based company has been rapidly closing that gap. Other implementations of Android have had multi-window for a while now, but that took until 7.0 Nougat to make its way onto stock Android. Now, we're getting another feature that we've seen on other skins: custom lockscreen shortcuts.

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Android 7.0 now shows if an APK was installed from the Play Store or another source

Android 7.0 Nougat developer preview will now show an application's install source in the app info interface. The new list item comes at the bottom, under the subheader "Store." This field is populated by a string obtained through getInstallerPackageName method, previously only accessible via a manual query. This string can be filled by a third party app store (such as Amazon, whose Appstore currently does this), or left blank in the case of an application that has been sideloaded.

As you can see in the hero image above, the Pokemon GO APK I sideloaded shows as having been installed by the package installer.

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Android 7.0 Nougat Developer Preview 5 - the final preview - is available for download

The Android 7.0 Nougat Developer Preview 5 is available now - get it right here (OTA images here). There's an official blog post accompanying the release from Dave Burke here, as well. What do you need to know? Preview 5 will be the final preview release for Android Nougat. The next major update that comes for supported Nexus devices will be the official Android 7.0 OTA.

Here are the notable changes from Google, among which is a disclaimer that this update breaks Android Auto Google Maps, with the explanation that a new version of Maps (v9.31) will be released in the coming weeks to address this problem.

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Android N Developer Preview 4 is out, build NPD56N

Android N Developer Preview 4 has been released, factory images can be found right here, with the full image OTA files here. The new build number is NPD56N. All the same devices that have been supported in the N Preview to date have factory images up now (along with the Sony Xperia Z3). You can check out Google's summary of what's new here. There's also an official blog post here.

New in DP4

Android N final APIs

Developer Preview 4 includes the final APIs for the upcoming Android N platform. The new API level is 24.

Play publishing

You can now publish apps that use API level 24 to Google Play, in alpha, beta, and production release channels.

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Latest Marshmallow Dev Preview Introduces A Streamlined Volume Animation

One of the greatest problems in stock Android since the debut of Lollipop last year has been the volume slider - putting aside Lollipop's initially confusing volume modes, the slider unceremoniously pops into place when the user hits the volume keys on their device. Of course I'm kidding, but nevertheless it looks like Google has enhanced the volume controls in the latest Marshmallow dev preview with some motion design love.

Now, when users hit a volume key, the panel slides into place from off canvas. The slider's current position is highlighted with its own translucent halo (which may or may not really be necessary).

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