Published: Sat, March 12, 2016
Tech | By Dwayne Harmon

Top 5 features you need to know about

Top 5 features you need to know about

Google will be incorporating the feedback that it receives over the course of the preview program into the development of Android N to have the operating system work as great as possible upon its final release.

Google just took the wraps off of the developer preview for "Android N", the next version of Android.

Google has launched the Android N Developer Preview program early, as most fans were not expecting to see the new operating system until May. There are ton of new features, including a huge one we've been wanting for a while: multi-window support for phones and tablets. This will allow you to run multiple apps side-by-side in the same view. Additionally, it also features a picture-in-picture mode, so users can continue watching videos while doing something else on a different app.

Second, notifications support a new "direct reply" feature so you can respond to a text, WhatsApp, tweet or anything else straight from the notification pane without having to launch the app in question.

Hopefully this means that Nexus handsets will get it earlier than previous year, and that OEMs will be able to work on updating their software to the latest build and get it into the hands of customers. Google intends to release regular updates for the devices, but still, it may not be worth the risk on your daily driver.

Okay, how about what's Android N?

However, Google put paid to the rising optimism by calling the merger of Android OS with Chrome OS a figment of fantasy. Runtimes are packages that run the code of an app to bring it to life when you click its icon (for lack of a more technical explanation). Android's Jack compiler is going to track the Java language more closely while maintaining backward compatibility. This year, Google is kind of breaking tradition as the company is offering a preview of the latest Android N right now. In Marshmallow, Doze would help your device to save battery while it was stationary, but N extends that feature to save battery whenever the screen turns off.

So, by enrolling in the beta, you can get the Android N developer preview via an over-the-air update as you would get any standard update. If you own a Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Nexus 9, or Pixel C device, you can opt in to this program and download Android N later today. Where it counts is how these features are implemented, and who wins that battle is up to you. In Marshmallow, you'd have to access the Quick Settings panel to see any of these toggles, but Android N appears to include a few at the top of the notification shade for even easier access.

Are you looking forward to these three features on your soon-to-be-updated smartphone?

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