Google just released its second preview of Android N for the developer community. Here’s everything offered in the latest release:
- The Android N developer preview 2 includes a new API for 3D rendering called Vulcan, which should offer better performance at a higher efficiency. The update also includes new Launcher shortcuts to quickly perform various actions within a specific app.
- Google is also changing its emoji design for what it calls a more “human-like” look. Developers working on messaging and keyboard apps can start updating their emoji now.
- The update offers a few improvements to multi-window support, which is a major new feature for Android N. There are some bug fixes as well that should make for a smoother experience overall.
Android N is still only meant for developers, but if you have a Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, a Pixel C or the General Mobile 4G from the Android One series you can try it out for yourself through the Android Beta Program.
Complete list of all the changes in Developer Preview 2
Launcher Shortcuts: One of the more obvious user facing features in DP2 is the ability for apps to add shortcuts to the launcher. Examples include: 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.
Emoji Unicode 9 support: Following Android 6.0.1‘s new emoji, Dev Preview 2 adds support for Unicode 9 which replaces the current generic people for more human-looking ones. The update also introduces support for skin tone variations and Unicode 9 glyphs, like bacon, selfie and face palm.
Dev Preview 2 adds support for the Vulkan 3D rendering API [Not all devices will support Vulkan, with more details available in the developer documents
New Folders: Homescreen folders have received a slight redesign. While still circular, the folder icon on the homescreen now shows the first four apps. The window effect into the folder is convenient, but could use some polish as the corners of app icons get cut. When there are only three apps in a folder, the third one gets centered.
Calculator Shortcut in Notification Shade: There is now a shortcut to the Calculator app in the notification shade.
Clear All in Multitasking: There is now a ‘Clear All’ button in multitasking. Users have to swipe all the way to the top of the card stack in order to see it.
New Setup Screen: During the initial setup process, a new screen lists shortcuts to set up a mail account, ‘Ok Google’ hotword detection, and control lock screen notifications, etc. Tapping on them will open the corresponding setup screen in the Settings app. However, the screen does not appear to be fully flushed out as pressing ‘Additional apps’ does nothing.