Starting today, Google is making a developer preview of the next version of Android, codenamed “N,” available for Nexus devices. The preview will be available as an over-the-air update you can sign up for at g.co/androidbeta starting later today.
Android N is expected to have split-screen multitasking, ie Android phones and tablets will be able to show two different apps at once, and video apps will be able to support picture-in-picture.
Google’s description of this release is clearly geared toward educating developers more than it is selling consumers, unless you think that “a new manifest attribute called android:resizeableActivity” is great marketing. But we can learn that apps can specify their “minimum allowable dimensions” and that developers should think of the switch as going from portrait to landscape when it comes to layout. However, we don’t yet know how the user interface to going into split screen will work just yet.
Google is also adding a few features to notifications. There’s a new way for apps to let users reply directly from a notification, a feature that Hangouts already enjoys.
Doze, Android’s battery-saving feature, is also getting expanded. It will now engage more often: instead of turning down power-sucking features only when a phone is stationary, it will soon do it anytime the screen is off.
Google is making updates available for the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Nexus 9, and Pixel C.