Google surprised everyone on Wednesday by launching a developer preview of its next major Android release, Android N. Traditionally, Google waits until its annual I/O developer conference in May / June to showcase its latest mobile operating system.
In a post on the Android developers blog, VP of Engineering Dave Burke said they're trying something a little different this year by releasing the preview early. The idea is to give them more time to incorporate developer feedback and ultimately, ship the final release to device makers this summer.
So, what's new in Android N?
Split-screen multi-tasking appears to be the signature feature of Android N, allowing users to utilize two different apps at once either side-by-side or one-above-the-other. On TV devices, apps can use picture-in-picture mode to continue video playback while users perform other tasks.
Other changes include data saver mode and the ability to block calls and texts at the system level as well as new notification management and improved Java 8 language support. More new features are bound to crop up in the coming days and weeks as developers get their mitts on the OS.
Android N is available now for select Nexus devices (Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player and Pixel C) as an over-the-air download.
Google isn't yet ready to reveal Android N's official name with SVP of Android, Chrome and Chrome OS, Hiroshi Lockheimer, teasing on Medium that they're "nut tellin'" yet. So yeah, either that's a major troll job or we're looking at Android Nutella.
Mockup via TechCrunch