Android N may be months away, but Google has already given us the first look at the developer preview for the next build of its mobile OS. More importantly, it comes just a few months after Android Marshmallow became available for release. So what new features has Google added to Android in this short period of time? Check out exciting new features Android N brings to your smartphone and tablet.
Android devices such as Samsung and LG have supported multiple apps on the same window for a long time, but Google is now finally making it a native feature for Android with the next build. Android N will allow users to open two apps in a split-screen mode on the Nexus devices as well as other smartphones and tablets as and when they get the OS update.
The OS will intuitively gauge and change the screen display of various apps, but a user can himself recreate it too with new dimensions. This means, for example, users can keep tweeting while watching a video on YouTube.
More Quick Setting Option
Android N brings with it more “Quick Settings” as you slide the notifications pane down. You can have up to nine toggles in a single “Quick Settings” screen, and access more toggles by swiping to the right.
Find your notifications a mess? Android N may help solve this, courtesy the new feature called ‘Bundled notifications’. With this feature, users can group together notifications from each app in the menu and one will just need to tap the bundle to read individual alerts.
‘Bundled notifications’ is similar to the ‘Notification Stacks’ feature in Android Wear devices.
Doze, a feature that was introduced with Android Marshmallow, gets a few improvements. With Android 7.0, Doze will work not only when your phone is not in use, but also when the screen is turned off. This is expected to improve the battery life of devices running on the latest version of Google’s mobile OS, but the company has not released any figures yet.
The Recent Apps button at the bottom of the screen has remained very one-dimensional so far in terms of function, but that will change with the debut of Android N. In the new build of Android, double-tapping the Recent Apps button from home screen will open the last-used app, while double-tapping the button when an app is already open will take you to the app you had open just before.
Pressing the Recent Apps menu will open the menu of all recently-used apps; you can sift through the apps by hitting the Recent Apps key successively. When you stop pressing the key, the app you have selected will open in full-screen.
Native File Manager
Android got a native file manager with the release of Marshmallow (even though file manager apps have been available on Google Play Store for long). However, this file manager is quite basic and does not let you do much. You can just explore folders and copy files.
Among the new features for Android N native file browser is: hamburger menus, search ability by file types and folders, the option to move and share files, and Google Drive integration. You can even have multiple instances of the file browser open at the same time.
Block Phone number at System Level
Android N allows users to block phone numbers at the system level, directly from apps like Dialer, Hangouts or Messenger. If a number has been blocked at system-level, other apps on the device will also block it automatically, without the need for action from the user’s side. Moreover, even third-party apps will block these numbers automatically.
Add emergency contact and medical info on lock screen
A potentially life-saving feature of Android N is the ability to add your medical information on the lock screen itself, in case of an emergency. You can go to Users in Settings and select the Emergency Information option; fill the details you want to reveal and add an emergency contact for good measure.
The medical information and emergency contact will be on the lock screen and will be available to others when they open the Emergency Dialer.
No more wait for ‘Optimizing Apps’
When an Android phone/tablet running KitKat, Lollipop and Marshmallow gets a software update, it takes quite a while to restart as the system is ‘optimizing apps’ as it says on the screen. This is because Google moved from Dalvik to ART runtime when it released Android KitKat. But this long drawn process of optimizing apps has been skipped in Android N, which means the device will restart faster and even apps in general will take lesser time to install.
Changes in Settings app
Apart from these, Android N brings a few changes that can be found in the Settings app under different menus. These include a new night theme, data saver that blocks background data consumption and provision for display calibration as well as screen zooming, among others.
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