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Google Launches Android N Developer Preview And Beta Program (engadget.com) 24

Google is releasing Android N Preview to developers today. The early release is meant to collect feedback sooner than usual, and even includes a new way to download the update. Instead of installing a drive image, you can participate in an Android Beta Program that installs pre-release versions over the air (as long as you have a relatively recent Nexus device or the Pixel C). The biggest attraction, by far, is a new multi-window mode, which lets you use split-screen modes on phones and tablets, and even specify minimum allowable dimensions. There's even a picture-in-picture video mode, too, so you can keep watching YouTube while you message your friends. Other improvements in the preview include direct reply notifications that let you reply to a message right from an alert, iOS-style. Also, Android N optionally bundles notifications from the same app so that they don't clutter your view. Marshmallow's Doze feature has been improved to save battery life whenever the screen turns off, and coders can take advantage of Java 8 features. Google is also working to reduce the memory needs of Android via Project Svelte, allowing the Android OS to run smoothly on lower specced devices.
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Google Launches Android N Developer Preview And Beta Program

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  • But (Score:4, Insightful)

    by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2016 @05:57PM (#51668849)

    How exciting... all these N improvements I will likely never use, and yet I bet I still won't be able to:

    * List/filter contacts by group, which was TAKEN AWAY from us years ago with no notice and for no apparent reason.

    * Turn on the Smart Lock but WITHOUT the stupid swipe to continue.

    * Have settings menus where the items are actually alphabetized so they can be found quickly.

    * Have a battery usage/monitoring system which actually works and means something (like it used to).

    * Choose the icon set used in various places, especially the main status bar, so they are actually visible and meaningful (yes, they actually took away the "bars" from WiFi, Cell, and Battery... how brilliant)

    * Turn off the persistent Android Wear connected notification which is unnecessary.

    I am sure I can think of a lot more, but I am tired (and yes, we are talking Nexus)

    • How about the very useless and often dangerous HeadsUp Notification popup that actually interferes with whatever you are actually doing at the moment. . Notifications have an area, the bar at the top, use that, like it used to be.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      The Android 5/6 battery monitor is far, far better than the old one. Much more accurate and gives you a real idea of what is using that energy, instead of just 90% "screen". What is it you don't like?

      You can block the Android Wear notification by holding down on it and then touching the bell with a line through it icon.

      My biggest worry about N is that they are thinking of getting rid of the app drawer and going to a stupid iPhone style "shit all your icons out onto the desktop in no particular order". The a

      • >"The Android 5/6 battery monitor is far, far better than the old one. Much more accurate and gives you a real idea of what is using that energy, instead of just 90% "screen". What is it you don't like?"

        On the Nexus 5, it is crap. If you add up everything, it does not equal the amount of battery used.... not even close. I can have 20% of the battery GONE and it shows me 2% in one thing and 1% in about 9 other things and that is it.

        >"You can block the Android Wear notification by holding down on it a

    • at least on nexus 5x, if you use the fingerprint you don't need to swipe. Also if you use trusted places no swiping as well

      another one: put back the old data usage when you could filter data use by day

      • >"at least on nexus 5x, if you use the fingerprint you don't need to swipe. Also if you use trusted places no swiping as well"

        Well, it is not that way on the Nexus 5... and it is running the same version of Android. Turn on trusted locking and you STILL can't just turn on the display, you have to go through a stupid swipe screen. Makes no sense.

  • So they're re-inventing things like window managers, platform libraries, GUI toolkits etc. and it's all (of course!) closed off proprietary locked-down bullshit that can't be used on any other platform. So you must try to cobble together a solution that will work for each platform separately and also learn from scratch several different platforms's APIs.

    I hate to say this, but maybe the web is and should be the platform of the future.
  • Google got it right on Holo, but took a major step back on Material Design.

  • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Thursday March 10, 2016 @03:37AM (#51670539) Journal

    Wow this is incredible! Android has multiple windows at once now! Truly amazing. Will the innovation of mobile never cease? Maybe they'll innovate beyond the copy/paste of plain text too allowing images and etc.

    Truly that would advance mobile to way beyone anything I have on the desktop[*].

    [*] I like retrocomputing from the early 80s. Like 1985 and before.

  • If apps can be resizable and specify their dimensions then they can appear in split panes and later on as windows on a desktop. The way that universal apps do in Windows 10. So I see this as part of Google's efforts to kill ChromeOS and merge some of the concepts into Android. I wouldn't be surprised if the Google's app launcher becomes a kind of desktop in future iterations.

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