Image taken from http://www.droid-life.com

It’s that time of the year again.

That is probably the most cliché opening line you’ve heard, but it’s actually quite true. What am I blabbering on about you ask? Well, quite simply, it’s that time of the year for Google to release the latest iteration of the Android platform.

True to their word, they released a preview of their latest Android operating system yesterday. Suspiciously titled “Android N”, the 7th version of Android will officially be released at Google I/O 2016 which is to be held from the 26-28th of May 2016.

Image taken from http://www.droid-life.com
Image taken from http://www.droid-life.com

So what does the new operating system promise?

For starters, the preview is only available for select Nexus devices such as:

  • Nexus 5X
  • Nexus 6
  • Nexus 6P
  • Nexus 9
  • Nexus 9 LTE
  • Nexus Player
  • Pixel C

Surprisingly, the Nexus 5 doesn’t seem to be on the list despite promises by Google that the device would enjoy 2 years of system updates from Lollipop.

Nevertheless, from what we’ve seen, system animations have indeed been given a turbocharge. The biggest unveiling though is split-screen multitasking. Yes, you can have two fully fledged apps running on your screen at the same time. Simply hold down your finger on the top of a window in the main multitasking view and drag it up to a highlighted area. From there, the other half gives you a second multitasking view to select another app. You can even adjust the splitter to resize apps in both landscape and portrait mode. There are reports that the feature works surprisingly well for apps such as Twitter and Facebook which haven’t actually been developed for that purpose. Be that as it may, we’re not complaining.

Image taken from http://phandroid.com
Image taken from http://phandroid.com

The next thing you would notice is the way the system handles Quick Settings. A short row of icons is located at the top of the notification shade. All you need to do is just tap one of those buttons to toggle Wi-Fi or Bluetooth etc. Pulling the row down gives you the ability to customize what appears in Quick Settings such as Battery or Data Saver.

The main Settings screen has also seen a facelift. There’s a “Suggested” area for settings that Android thinks you’ll want to keep an eye on such as Data Saver, Security, and Wallpapers.

Notifications to have seen an update as well. They are more information-centric now. So virtually any developer can build Quick Reply into their app, now, too.

If you do happen to have a phone lying around that is Android N compatible, you can give it a go. Click here to download the image for any of the devices listed above.

If not, then you can wait for the official release in May. There’s still no confirmation on what “N” will refer to. Only time will tell.

Thoughts? Comments? Feedback? We would love to hear from you.

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