Every Android release brings a lot of features for both common and advanced Android users. The last Marshmallow had bought a lot, such as System UI Tuner and Android Doze Mode, which were quite superb. Despite the fact that Android v6.0 is to be rolled out to some devices, Android N is under progress in backstage. After Google I/O 2016, we also see the whole cult of suggesting the name for Android N release – a name that starts with alphabet N. In I/O 2016, Android N Developer Preview 3 and Public Beta were also launched.
Developer Preview of Android v7.0 was released back in March 8th and the final release would be later in Q3 of 2016. It means that we’ll have to wait a few months to get our hands on the final release of Android N. But you don’t have to wait to know the expected and confirmed Android N features.
In this article, we will go through some of the best features that are expected in the final release of Android N. It has to be noted that features come and go as we move between various developer previews (1, 2 and 3). Now, however, we are covering the best features that have been more or less confirmed. So, we can start with the stunning features coming to Android N.
Split-Screen or Multi-Window Mode — and, a new Recents Menu
It’s a fact that Android has perhaps the best multi-tasking experience to offer, with recent tiles and all! However, the lack of multi-window mode has been a complaint from many users — Android N fixes that! You might have seen this feature in other devices such as that of Samsung. With the release of Android N, however, all Android devices are to get this awesome feature. The process to enable split-screen mode is quite simple — you have to go to the ‘Recents’ menu, drag one app tile into one part of your device screen.
Just after, you can have the multi-window experience, delivered to you. This is perhaps the best Android N feature, because of the practical uses. For instance, you can see the map to one location while video-calling someone via Hangouts. Or, you can watch your favourite YouTube videos even when you’re skimming an article. Nevertheless, it needs to be noted that it is up to a developer to enable split-screen mode. For common and advanced users, this is a worth-expecting feature, we bet.
A feature to be read along with is that of Picture-in-Picture of Android N. however, it is available for Android TV as of now, and there’s no mention about the Android Smartphone or tablet PC scenario. Using picture-in-picture, you can launch a small window on top of the main phone interface in use.
As you know, the Recents Menu is the main feature that allows multitasking in Android OS. This feature has received some cool optimizations in Android N release, thus making multi-tasking an easy thing to accomplish. For instance, if you want to switch between the app you currently use and the app you used last, you can double-tap on the square. Like before, single-tap on the square will take you to the Recents menu, but this double-tap feature is quite useful.
Android N Features – Android Doze on Steroids
Recently, we had published an article on Android Doze Mode, discussing its working principles and some ways to get best results out of Doze. This Doze Mode is receiving some extra optimizations in Android N release, making it one of the stunning Android N features. One of the problems of Android M’s Doze Mode is that it won’t work if your device is moving (for instance, if it’s in your pocket). However, in the Android N release, Doze Mode gets a two-tier system.
The first layer of Doze Mode kicks in if the device screen has been switched off for a while; it does not matter if that device is moving or not. So, you are going to have the benefits of Doze Mode even when the device is in your pocket, and is moving a bit. The second tier of Doze is quite powerful. If there is no movement for a longer period, the device is kicked into a deeper state of idleness, thus saving a lot of battery backup.
Doze has been one of the most effective features we’ve found in Android Marshmallow, especially with the possible tweaks. So, we have lots of hope on the two-tier system Doze is going to attain.
Google has introduced a brand-new settings menu in Android N release and it’s one of the most expected features.
You might not see bigger changes when you open the settings menu, but the changes are subtly useful. For instance, now, you can find basic information along with the menu shortcut itself. If you want to know the name of the Wi-Fi network you’re connected to, it will be shown along with the Wireless & Networks Tab.
The settings menu also has a hamburger menu in it. You can pull from the left side of screen to get a slide showing major areas of settings. You’ve the option to get to one of those sections without actually hitting the back-arrow button.
Other changes in Settings menu of Android N release are the splitting of Sound and Notifications into two different setting areas and those suggestions shown on top of settings menu. Altogether, navigating through the Settings part has become more or less easier.
Quick Reply, Bundled Notifications and Power Notification Control
Apart from the looks of Android N notification shades, there are some other cool features too. You might be familiar with the quick-reply feature seen in some Google apps — that is, the option to reply to a message without having to open the specific application. Starting with Android N release, this feature can be implemented in all Android devices if the developer wants to. This quick reply feature is going to be a time-saver for many.
In addition, Android N introduces Bundled Notifications! For instance, if you have twenty notifications from the same app, they will be shown together. However, given that you need specific care, you can separate these notifications. It is also going to be a worthwhile feature to be seen in Android N release, given the practical uses.
In Android Developer Preview 3, there’s a new feature called Power Notification Control, which can be found in the System UI Tuner section of Settings. If enabled, this feature allows you to set different level priorities to each app. It has five six levels — ranging from Level 0 to Level 5. If Level 5 importance is given to notifications of one app, all the notifications will be shown on the top and the app will be given full-screen interruption. On the contrary, if you give Level 0 importance, no notifications will be shown from the particular application. This way, you can control which all notifications are given the priorities. It also has an Auto-Priority mode. To change the priority of each notification, you can press and hold on the notification. In the upcoming sub-menu, you can select the desired priority level.
In short, with these three features, Android N Release will totally revamp the way you deal with your notifications. It can also be said that Android notifications have become quite a lot smarter.
A Better Quick Settings Panel & Notifications Shade
The notification shade and the Quick Settings panel of Android N have received some cool changes! When you pull the notification bar once, you will be seen the notifications along with a shorter set of quick settings button. You can see buttons for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Battery, Flashlight etc. These icons can be changed according to your requirements.
In the right side, you can see an arrow, pressing which will bring the complete Quick Settings panel. In addition to it, you have better customization of Quick Settings. Without opening a menu page, you can re-organize or remove the tiles in Quick Settings page. Well, these features are quite convenient from the productivity point of view.
Data Saver and Call Blocking
These two features are definitely intended for the practical Android user. While the Data Saver helps you to save the bandwidth while browsing web, Call Blocking will help you to get rid of unwanted callers. The Data Saver works just as the Battery Saver Mode. When you are about to reach the predetermined FUP limit of cellular data, Data Saver will be turned on, thus saving your bandwidth. Talking of the Call Blocking feature, it is effective in the whole device. If one number has been blocked from calling you, there are little chances that it will have access to other apps such as Hangouts.
Better Support for Physical Keyboards
In Developer Preview 3, we’ve better support for Physical keyboards. That is, when you have connected a Bluetooth-based keyboard, you can have easy access to keyboard shortcuts. You have to press Alt+/ to get the list of keyboard shortcuts. These shortcuts are very useful when you are using your Smartphone for big needs, such as writing.
An All-New Google Keyboard
Quite recently, Google had released a fully-revamped version of the official Google Keyboard. This new keyboard has been set as the default keyboard in Android N Release. It consists of a handful of features, the lack of which had created a bad impression among many users. First of all, the Google Keyboard has a one-handed mode, which gives you a better typing experience, especially with a bigger phone screen.
Secondly, it’s having a set of options for customization. You can enable key-boarders, adjust the height of keyboard depending on the length of your finger and have a specialized keyboard for typing numbers. It also has a collection of 14 color themes in it. You can pick one, depending on your taste and feel. It’s all about the keyboard, and you’re going to have a superb keyboard experience with the Android N stock keyboard.
The Miscellaneous Features
We have actually mentioned the most significant and obvious Android N features. Apart from these, there are some other features — seemingly simple, but worthwhile.
- You can now put emergency information on lock screen. Without really unlocking the device, you can access this information. The possibly useful information includes your name, blood group, address etc.
- Android Beta Program has become quite simple and anyone can sign up for the program. This way, you shall get the latest developer previews to the device, Over the Air.
- Clear All button in Recents Menu (We’ve been seeing this feature in custom Android ROMS)
- You can give quick replies from the Lock Screen itself, given you set the privacy-oriented stuff in right way.
- In the Developer Preview 3, Google has replaced the wallpaper collection with another cool set.
- Starting from Developer Preview 3, Android Pay is supported. Given that Android Pay is available in your country, you can start using this for payment.
- In addition, along with Android N Developer Preview 3, Android Public Beta has also been launched. That is, if you are interested, you can have your hands on the new version — comparatively safer.
Android N Features – Conclusion
So, we have talked about the most noted Android N features out there. This information is based on what Developer Previews have been showing. Apart from these confirmed features, there are rumoured features too, such as stock-stylus support, introduction of a brand-new SMS app, Chrome OS integration and support for Virtual Reality and 3D Touch technologies etc. However, we will have to wait till 2016 Q3 to know what the official release of Android N comes with. Meanwhile, you can check out the Android N Beta Program for your device!