Android N Hands-on: Everything you need to know (Video)

Matthew Moniz

March 11, 2016 5:49pm

Google surprised everyone earlier this week by uploading an early preview of the next major release of Android. The expectation was that the company would start talking about N during its annual I/O developer conference in May.

Android N factory images are available to download on the Nexus 6, Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Nexus 9 and Pixel C Tablet. This is not the final version of Android N but only the first of many developer previews. Those that sign up for the Android Beta program can also get the preview through an OTA — though doing so requires wiping your device. Also keep in mind that this is a beta with a lot of bugs that need to be sorted out by Google before its final release.

Still, there are more than a few features here that Android users have been waiting to check out. Here’s some of the important stuff so far:

  • Split-screen multitasking
  • New notification system
  • New Quick Setting Toggles
  • Subheadings for the Settings menu
  • More information about each setting under the Settings menu
  • Data Saver
  • Doze improvements
  • Change the Display size

Currently, it’s hard to tell if Android N will be a major overhaul or a small but important iteration like Marshmallow. One thing for sure is that there will be additional developer previews down the line.

Watch the video above and let us know in the comments which features you’re most excited about. Don’t forget to tell us what you think the “N” stands for.

  • dandoozled

    Nutella, clearly

  • 4SerenityNow

    Clarification: if you opt into OTA updates in the developer program, the device wipe only occurs if you leave the program and wish to revert back to a stable release. My N6 is now on Android N and I can confirm it didn’t do a factory reset before installing the ADP firmware.

  • Mo Dabbas

    wow…. you risked installing a prereleased os (with possible tons of bugs) on a 700 dollars phone. You are a brave man.

    • This is why my wife married me! In all seriousness, it’s surprisingly pretty stable. There are tons of bugs like the app drawer glitching to the left side and if you resize the display some of your icons get removed. But in terms of the device actually freezing or requiring a reboot, it’s pretty stable for an early preview.

    • George

      Its a preview… for developers… there is zero risk when you know what you’re doing.

    • Mo Dabbas

      Doesn’t it risk voiding the warranty??

    • George

      What does Android N have to do with voiding your warranty?

    • Mo Dabbas

      Isn’t rooting and flashing ROM void the warranty? That’s how I thought it is. If I’m wrong let me know.

    • George

      well, there’s no need to root or flash anything in order to get Android N on your device, so there’s no voiding of warranty anywhere. Simply sign up on the Android Beta page and the OTA will be sent to your phone.

    • It does require you to unlock your boot loader which makes your device less secure. But it doesn’t void warranty since Google expects developers to be flashing and testing Roms on Nexus devices.

  • Subo Ranatunga

    As an iPhone user, I must say that android N is shaking up to look pretty cool. I’m unsure of how practical something like split screen would really be on a smartphone but it looks nice.

  • downhilldude

    So, mostly Samsung features that have been out a few versions already (again). I guess I’m already familiar with “N” then.

    And people complain that Samsung is late getting updates…

  • downhilldude

    As usual, a few “new” features that have been on Samsung for awhile, but also as usual, it won’t stop a handful of guys from complaining that Samsung is SO-O-O late getting Android updates. Sheesh!

    • norsem4n

      Can I install this on my S7 Edge from Rogers?? Is the new JRE in N?
      Do we need new .apk files for existing apps to work on N beta?

    • George

      with these features baked into Android natively, it would help Samsung get rid of some bloat in touchwiz and bring these features to other Android phones. it’s a win win situation.