Yesterday Google surprised a number of people by launching the developer beta of the next release of Android, which is codenamed Android N. Normally the beta version of Android comes to developers during Google I/O in May, but in a way it makes sense for Google to release it to developers a few months earlier so they can receive feedback and discuss common questions and concerns during the event.

The early release isn't the only change with this new beta version of Android. In the past I've often complained about Google's poor handling of developer betas. They've always been too monolithic for my liking, with only two or three betas being released to developers before the final version. There was also the problem with installation. While I am not averse to using the Unix shell, there is no reason that a developer should have to use adb via the command line to install a developer beta of Android. It should be done via an update directly from the device, or by some software tool with a proper graphical interface that can be run on your computer. It didn't help that the update packages often failed to work which required you to decompress it and flash each file one by one.

With Android N, Google has recognized and resolved these problems by providing a simple way for developers to opt in to the program via a web interface. Once you opt in, your device almost instantly receives a notification prompting you to install an over the air (OTA) update which will install the Android N beta. This is much more user friendly, and it has the added bonus of making it easier for users to opt in which gives Google more usage and diagnostic data to work with. Because the OTA isn't just making changes to the existing OS it is quite large, with it being just under 1GB on the Pixel C and Nexus 6, and 1.1GB on the Nexus 5X.

In this article I'll just be taking a look at some of the most notable features of Android N, including Multi-Window mode, changes to notifications, and improvements to energy and memory optimizations.

Multi-Window Support
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  • 5th element - Friday, March 11, 2016 - link

    Unless the vast majority of the media you consume is video based.
  • Meteor2 - Saturday, March 12, 2016 - link

    I have a TV for that.
  • Alexey291 - Saturday, March 12, 2016 - link

    You carry a tv in your bag every day eh? Or sit with it in your lap? Nice nice
  • BurntMyBacon - Monday, March 14, 2016 - link

    @Lolimaster: "Sorry but 16:9 is pure sh*t aside from media consumption. 16:10 or even better 3:2 all the way."

    Or 4:3. I'm not a fan of Apple because of their business practices, but credit where credit is due. I personally like 16:10 for desktops and 3:2 for tablets, but I 4:3 is also pretty good and I'd have no trouble adjusting to it if it meant a superior display. 16:9 is only favorable to me for phones, ... , maybe, ... , I'd have to check out a 16:10 phone to make that judgement for sure and I haven't ever seen one.
  • ninjaquick - Tuesday, March 15, 2016 - link

    Thank God for loli, master. 4:3 is best girl.
  • Alexvrb - Saturday, March 12, 2016 - link

    You realize they have apps and such on Win10, as well as a Tablet Mode that's touch and small-display friendly. It ALSO has the capability to do conventional Windows tasks, and usually I only run conventional software when docked or otherwise connected to a larger display via HDMI.
  • ET - Thursday, March 10, 2016 - link

    I'm the opposite. I'd much rather use my Galaxy Tab S 8.4 than any Windows tablet. Android offers a better "desktop" and apps and games that run correctly with touch. I own a Windows tablet (with pen) and a Windows phone, and I always go back quickly to Android. I might get an iPad Mini for better games selection and compatibility, but I can't see myself using a Windows mobile device that isn't a laptop.
  • Michael Bay - Thursday, March 10, 2016 - link

    >android offers a better "desktop"

    Nice joke. Duarte sure painted the turd in ranbow colors, but still a turd it is.
  • raptormissle - Thursday, March 10, 2016 - link

    There is nothing worse than the cesspool that is Windows on a tablet. How people can use these old archaic non touch and tablet optimized apps and still say it's a better experience is delusional.
  • Alexey291 - Saturday, March 12, 2016 - link

    And then we come to the matter of viruses and malware that windows instantly attracts. Hell comes preinstalled with...

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