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5 things we now know about Android N

The first developer preview of Android N has been released, and here's what it reveals about the next iteration of the OS

Android N developer preview

Android N developer preview

Google has released the first developer preview of Android N, so what does it reveal about the upcoming flavour of Android? Here are five new features found in the developer preview.

Split-screen multitasking

We reckon you’ll need a phablet or tablet to take advantage of this, otherwise your view will come up too small, but this great feature will mean that you can view and use two apps at once without having to constantly bounce in and out of them. Great for copy-pasting essential info from emails to calendars and lists, sharing articles on social media and generally making a lot of tasks quicker and easier.

Data Saver mode

Ideal for when you’re roaming, coming to the end of your monthly data allowance or you’re on PAYG, this mode allows you to tell apps to use less data. It can stop apps quietly eating data in the background and allow you to reduce the bit rate on streaming media and the quality of online images, so you can view more internet (albeit at lower quality) for less.

System-level number blocking and call screening

Say goodbye to spam calls for good. If you have a Nexus then you’re already familiar with this feature, which allows you to permanently block unwanted calls and texts (they won’t even come up in your missed calls list). It’s in the Nexus dialler by default, but in Android N it’ll be available at a system level so everyone can take advantage of it.

Redesigned Settings menu

The refreshed Settings menu is organised by sub-headings, making it a lot quicker and easier to find the information you want. It’s easy to implement Do Not Disturb mode from a big bright-green bar at the top of the Settings menu, meaning that it’s only a click or two away at night. And the hamburger menu we mentioned a while back does indeed make an appearance – it allows you to jump back to the top level of the Settings menu and skim quickly through its main headings, making navigation quicker and easier.

Improved Doze mode

Doze will now save battery power when the screen is off too (in Marshmallow it focuses on the phone being stationary). Meanwhile, Google continus to invest in Project Svelte (which people said would kill Android back in the days of KitKat) to reduce memory needs and make the OS more efficient. It now means that devices running Android N will use less resources when moving from data to Wi-Fi or when you take a picture or video (which normally causes any app that has access to your media to wake up in case it’s needed).

What else would you like to see in Android N? What do you think of the features above? Do you think Google will ditch the app drawer? And most importantly, what do you think they’re going to call the latest version of Android? Let us know in the comments, or head over to our Facebook or Twitter.

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