Following on from last month’s surprise release of the Android N Developer Preview Google has this morning announced the first update to the preview. In the announcement post David Burke, VP of Engineering thanks the community for helping discovery multiple bugs which have been addressed in this update.
This release takes the initial Android N Alpha release to a Beta according to the Android N Developer Preview program overview. This is the first of five planned updates to the original Android N developer preview release, which will bring a variety of updates, including bug fixes, API and SDK updates before the final build of Android N (Nutella? Nougat? Neopolitan Ice-cream?) is released to OEMs sometime in Q3 this year.
While a good update for people experiencing bugs, bug fixes aren’t the whole storey, though, Google have given developers a few more tasty morsels from the Android N treat:
Vulkan is a new 3d rendering API that allows developer better access to the Graphics Processing Unit in your device. Vulkan is a developing standard across the technology industry replacing the older OpenGL to increase interoperability and performance. As of this release, Vulkan is now baked into the core of the Android Platform. What does this mean for Android users? Once developers integrate the new APIs into their apps and games, and we all have Android N or Vulkan enabled phones we can expect either better graphics, increased performance or even reduced battery drain.
This is an interesting one, Google has enabled launcher icon shortcuts via a gesture. Basically, app developers can define a shortcut that will allow direct access to any part of function of their apps, for example, a banking app could create a shortcut that allows a user to assign a gesture that displays a list of shortcut options, such as opening tap to pay. Once enabled the user would simply swipe over the app icon to launch the shortcut list.
Each app can have up to 5 shortcuts assigned to the icon. Additionally, users can pin the shortcuts to the launcher for quick access to those specific features.
Third party launchers have had the idea of app icon gestures before, however, this new functionality allows developers to deeply link these gestures within their apps. We’ve had a quick look at the documentation and it is unclear if the 3rd part launchers will be able to take advantage of these new intents but it looks like they will.
Unlike other N features this requires developers to implement it, so don’t expect to install the N dev Preview and start deep linking into your favourite apps.
Emoji Unicode 9 support
New emoji all round. In N, the emoji for people have been redesigned to look more “human”. The new emoji set also includes skin tone variation. Below is a sneak peek at some of the new emoji.
Outside of the more developer-focused changes, that’s all we’ve spotted so far. The update will be rolling out to those enrolled in the N developer Preview over the coming days. Once we have got a copy of the update we’ll dig into the new features and see what else we can find.
Does anything here spark your interest? Let us know in the comments.