Android N Developer Preview: top 5 features

“Here are the goodies you can expect from the next major Android refresh”

In a move that was clearly a surprise one for Android users, Google decided to go ahead and officially roll out the developer preview of the next big update to its mobile platform. The Android N developer preview is now hitting specific Nexus devices worldwide.

While N might not have a proper name yet, it does come with a fair share of improvements and features up its sleeve, and in this article we go over the top five features seen in Android N.

1. Multi-window


Image Source: Official Google Developers Blog

At long last, stock Android offers support for split-screen multitasking. This addition displays two apps on the same screen simultaneously, side by side.

The feature also allows for users to drag and drop items from one window to another. Users can adjust the size of the apps to demarcate the screen real estate shared.


2. Quick Settings facelift

Sliding the notifications shade down will now reveal notifications, plus five toggles. By default these are Wi-Fi, mobile data, DND, battery and flashlight, but the users can customise these the way they want.


Image Source: Android Police


3. Easy app switching

This one enhances the Overview button to easily swap between running applications in an ‘Alt-Tab’-esque manner. 

Double tapping the Overview button now shows all the running apps with a countdown progress bar which sets the particular app to the current one in under a second. Long pressing the Overview button opens up the current application in multi-window mode.


Image Source: Android Central


4. Bundled notifications

Multiple notifications from a single app can now be expanded to show all the notifications. The user can now perform certain actions on individual notifications from the app, instead of opening up the application itself.


Image Source: Official Google Developers Blog

This feature goes hand in hand with the direct reply mode, which allows users to reply to messages or email directly from the notification shade, without actually opening up the app.

5. Night Mode + Hamburger menu


Image Source: Android Police

The feature allows users to activate the night mode contextually: either on the basis of time of day, or the location. Activating Night Mode not only inverts the colours within the stock applications, but also reduces the screen brightness. This is bundled along with the system wide Dark Mode.


Image Source: Android Police

The Hamburger Menu throws up links for a more seamless navigation from within apps such as Settings.

Other improvements

The onus has now shifted to conserving battery life and data, and Google has stated that the Doze feature has been improved to make battery optimisations when the screen is turned off.

Data Saver can also be enabled on a device-wide basis to use less data when needed, over all apps.

Display settings have also been enhanced, with dedicated options to tweak around with the RGB colour calibration and DPI (and therefore the text/icon size).


The Android N preview images are currently available for the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9 (LTE), Nexus Player and Google Pixel C. The final launch is scheduled for Q3, 2016. 


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