Google Android N Developer Preview 2 Brings Vulkan 3D API And Emoji Unicode 9 Support

android banner
Google surprised us all in early March when it made available a developer preview of Android N well in advanced of its annual Google I/O conference. Today, Google announced that it has released Android N Developer Preview 2, which brings a few new features to the mix for those that are willing to take a chance testing such early software.

For starters, Google is introducing the Vulkan 3D rendering API with this build, which provides “low-overhead GPU control to developers and offers a significant boost in performance for draw-call heavy applications.” Compared to OpenGL ES, Vulkan offers a 10x improvement in single-core draw-call operations.

Also new is the ability to create shortcuts within the Android launcher. Google describes this functionality:

These shortcuts contain an Intent into specific points within your app (like sending a message to your best friend, navigating home in a mapping app, or playing the next episode of a TV show in a media app).

Android N Developer Preview 2 also supports Emoji Unicode 9, which brings more “human-looking” designs to the table. Skin tone variations are supported and Unicode glyphs like bacon and selfies are included.

android n emoji

Android N Developer Preview 2 in addition includes a number of bug fixes including Wi-Fi connectivity issues, pausing in Multi-window sessions and premature closing of the Direct Reply action. For a full list of fixes, look here.

You can get the Android N Developer Preview 2 in one of two ways. The quickest way to grab it is to join the Android Beta Program and obtain the update over-the-air. If you prefer doing it the hard way, you can also download the update and flash it manually. Currently supported devices include the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Nexus Player (Android N Developer Preview 2 support coming in a few days) and Pixel C devices.

“Please continue to share feedback, either in the N Developer Preview issue tracker or in the N preview community,” writes Dave Burke, VP of Engineering. “The sooner we’re able to get your feedback, the more of it we will be able to incorporate in the next release of Android.”