Google has launched the second preview of its Android N operating system, within just a month of launching the first one. The launch, which gives us an improved look at the upcoming Android, has also
sparked off debate that Google’s next may just be around the corner.
The new preview comes on the heel of its predecessor. However, Google has managed to pack some significant improvements and has also acted upon feedback to fix most of the bugs that were reported. Some of the major issues that were reported and have been fixed include, not being able to connect to hidden Wi-Fi networks (AOSP 203116), Multiwindow pauses (AOSP 203424), and Direct Reply on closing an open activity (AOSP 204411).
However, bug fixes aren’t why this preview is grabbing eyeballs. The latest preview also gives us a look at some more of Android N’s features. While they may not be as exciting as last month’s previews multi-window, they are significantly important in terms of the performance boost provided.
First up is Vulkan. Described by Google as a brand new, 3D rendering API capable of providing explicit, low-overhead GPU (Graphics Processor Unit) control to developers, the API offers a significant boost in performance for resource intensive apps.
The API has all the folks at Google pretty excited, who believe that it will make a significant difference in the overall performance of the system. As per Google, 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.
Next up are the launcher shortcuts, which are small but handy addition to Google’s next Android. The feature lets you create launcher shortcuts for things that you do repetitively.
As per Google “these shortcuts contain an Intent into specific points within your app.” Meaning that you could basically define an icon which would play a particular song from your library, or navigate you to a particular location on the maps or so on, with a single click.
Finally, Google has introduced a bunch of more human looking emojis and has urged developers to start incorporating them into their apps and keyboards. Also, the skin tone variation visible first on
whatsapp, has been introduced here as well.
To get hold of the brand new features and big fixes offered by the preview 2, you need to enroll yourself in the Android Beta program by clicking here.The update is currently available for Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Android One and Pixel C devices.
However, google has emphasized that this build is not the final Android N.
Developer Preview 2 is intended for developers and not as a daily driver; this build is not yet optimized for performance and battery life.
However, reading between the lines, it seems like Google’s next may be released soon!