Android N Developer Preview 4 Available for Nexus Devices And Sony Xperia Z3

We're inching ever closer to the formal release of the next major version Android, referred to simply as Android N, which is due out any day now. In the meantime, Google has made available fourth developer preview of Android N, noting that the APIs for Android N are now final, along with the Software Development Kit (SDK). All that's left are some "finishing touches" before rolling out to consumers later this summer.

Supported preview devices include the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Nexus 9G, Nexus PLayer, Pixel X, General Mobile 4G (Android One), and Sony's Xperia Z3 handset. If you have a supported device, you can update to the Android N preview by enrolling it to receive automatic over-the-air (OTA) system updates through the Android Beta Program, or by downloading the proper system image and manually flashing your device. More details can be found here.

Android N

"Along with the Android N final SDK, we’ve also updated the Android Support Library to 24.0.0. This allows you to use multi-window and picture-in-picture callbacks, new notification features, methods for supporting Direct Boot, and new MediaBrowser APIs in a backward compatible manner," Google stated in a blog post.

One of the more potentially significant upgrades that Android N brings to Google's mobile operating system is the Vulkan 3D rendering API. This provides low-overhead GPU control to developers to boost performance for draw-call heavy applications. And compared to OpenGL ES, Vulkan offers a tenfold improvement in single-core draw-call operations.

Namey McNameface

Of course the big question on everyone's mind is what the heck will Google call Android N? Will it be Nutella? Nut Brittle? Nougat? That has yet to be answered and you won't find any clues in the fourth developer preview, though Google did use the opportunity to playfully troll users. There's an Easter egg in the preview—go to Settings > About > Android version and long-press the "N" logo. If you do that a few times, it'll read "Namey McNameface."

That's obviously not what Google plans to name Android N (though it would be hilarious if it did), but a two-part reference. The first is to Boaty McBoatface, the name the Internet community came up with when a British government agency solicited name suggestions for a $287 million polar research ship, according to The New York Times. And the second is to Parsey McParseface, the name Google gave its English language parser in SyntaxNet, a open-source neural network framework.

Well played, Google!