David Burke, Google VP of Engineering, made the announcement this afternoon via the Android Developers Blog, and describes this “early… really early” look at Android N as a “work in progress” and that the entire Android Team is working hard to make the next tasty Android treat available in release form this summer.
Given this accelerated launch schedule — new Android releases typically launch with fresh flagship smartphones in the fall — Google wanted to get these early builds out to developers as soon as possible, hence the break with tradition. Google is also launching the Android Beta Program, which allows you to update your device to Android N via a simple over the air (OTA) update (no more scrounging around for developer builds to download).
The Android N Developer Preview (for now) supports the following devices:
- Nexus 6
- Nexus 5X
- Nexus 6P
- Nexus Player
- Nexus 9
- Pixel C
All of the above devices support the OTA option, however, you can still get access the Android N Developer Preview the old fashioned way by download the system image here.
Although we haven’t gotten a chance to install the Android N Developer preview yet, at first glance, it looks like yet another refinement of Android rather than a drastic overhaul (the same could be said for Marshmallow). Some of the new functionality included in the Developer Preview include Multi-window support, Direct reply notification support for all apps (similar to what’s currently possible with Hangouts and Messenger), an improved Doze mode and support for Java 8.
We’re sure that there’s a lot more to be announced, but that will likely have to wait until Google I/O, or at least until developers and enthusiasts have had enough time to peruse through the Developer Preview.
“Android has always been a platform designed for everyone, built on choice and made stronger by the voices of billions of people around the world,” said Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google SVP for Android, Chrome OS and Chromecast, via Medium. “By making it easier for you to try out the developer previews, and giving all of us more time to tweak and iterate, we hope to create a stronger platform that’s fine tuned for you and the billions of people that use Android everyday.”
In addition to the Android N Developer Preview, Google also announced today that it will give developers a $150 discount on the Pixel C if they help try out the latest mobile operating system and provide valuable feedback. The Pixel C currently retails for $499 without the discount.