Google has just announced that it will begin rolling out the second Android N Developer Preview starting later today!
According to the blog post, this updated preview brings a multitude of bug fixes relating to Wi-Fi connectivity issues, Multiwindow, and Direct Reply from notifications. In addition to bug fixes, here are some of the main features this new version brings to Android:
- Vulkan: Vulkan is a new 3D rendering API which we’ve helped to develop as a member of Khronos, geared at providing explicit, low-overhead GPU (Graphics Processor Unit) control to developers and offers a significant boost in performance for draw-call heavy applications. Vulkan’s reduction of CPU overhead allows some synthetic benchmarks to see as much as 10 times the draw-call throughput on a single core as compared to OpenGL ES. Combined with a threading-friendly API design which allows multiple cores to be used in parallel with high efficiency, this offers a significant boost in performance for draw-call heavy applications. With Android N, we’ve made Vulkan a part of the platform; you can try it out on supported devices running Developer Preview 2. Read more here.
- Launcher shortcuts: Now, apps can define shortcuts which users can expose in the launcher to help them perform actions quicker. These shortcuts contain an Intent into specific points within your app (like sending a message to your best friend, navigating home in a mapping app, or playing the next episode of a TV show in a media app).
- An application can publish shortcuts with ShortcutManager.setDynamicShortcuts(List) andShortcutManager.addDynamicShortcut(ShortcutInfo), and launchers can be expected to show 3-5 shortcuts for a given app.
- Emoji Unicode 9 support: We are introducing a new emoji design for people emoji that moves away from our generic look in favor of a more human-looking design. If you’re a keyboard or messaging app developer, you should start incorporating these emoji into your apps. The update also introduces support for skin tone variations and Unicode 9 glyphs, like the bacon, selfie and face palm. You can dynamically check for the new emoji characters using Paint.hasGlyph().
- API changes: This update includes API changes as we continue to refine features such as multi-window support (you can now specify a separate minimum height and minimum width for an activity), notifications, and others. For details, take a look at the diff reports available in the downloadable API reference package.
- Bug fixes: We’ve resolved a number of issues throughout the system, including these fixes for issues that you’ve reported through the public issue tracker. Please continue to let us know what you find and follow along with the known issues here.
The easiest way to get the update is to enroll your device in the Android Beta Program. All you need to do is opt-in, and an OTA should be headed to your device in no time. If you’re already enrolled, you should receive the update shortly. Just like the first preview, this Android N preview is only available for the Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, Pixel C, and the General Mobile 4G Android One device. Google notes that the Nexus Player’s update will be on its way in the next few days.