N Developer Preview 2 Rolling Out to Nexus Players

A few days ago a handful of Android phones and tablets received an OTA update to the newest version of Android N. This second preview is now rolling out to the Nexus Player as well. In a Android Development blog post, they highlight a few pretty big changes to the operating system.

Vulkan

Vulkan is a really awesome new set of graphics APIs that make vast improvements over the current OpenGL libraries. Graphics can take better advantage of modern hardware and really shine on app. While these APIs are currently only available on the NVIDIA Shield TV, Google is working on implementing the current standard into the operating system in Android N. Not only will the Nexus Player be able to take advantage of it, but so will phones and tablets. You should see new games getting a big spike in graphics capability.

Emoji Unicode 9

Emoji have quickly become the best part of the Unicode standard, a standard for assigning codes to characters across different fonts. As emoji are tied to fonts, each operating system and font can implement them differently, which is why they look slightly different compared between an iPhone and Android device.

Shrug Emoji

Juggler Emoji

Now they’re getting more similar. Google is moving away from the classic blobs to more humanlike characters. Support has been added for skin-tone differences in many emoji, allowing a glyph to look just like the person sending it. They’re also including the new glyphs from the Unicode 9 standard, which includes “shrug” as well as other popular icons.

Nexus Player Specific

Ian Lake adds some specific Nexus Player issues on a Google+ post. These things will certainly be addressed in later builds, although getting a barebones implementation of Vulkan to developers will be appreciatd.

Specific to the Nexus Player:
– Playback of Netflix HD content may fail on Nexus Player.
– Any application that relies on dynamic video resolution changes may fail on Nexus Player.
– Any application that use the VP9 video codec may fail on Nexus Player.
– – Vulkan: SPIR-V shaders may trigger driver asserts.
– Vulkan: Some pipeline configurations may cause vkCreateGraphicsPipeline() to crash.

Conclusion

Aside from these big changes, there have been some bug fixes based on public feedback as well as some changes to the APIs to help developers build their apps. There may be some other minor differences, and we’ll be sure to let you know if we spot them. If you don’t want to wait for the OTA update, you can manually flash the images here.

Nick Felker

Nick Felker

Nick Felker is a student Electrical & Computer Engineering student at Rowan University (C/O 2017) and the student IEEE webmaster. When he's not studying, he is a software developer for the web and Android (Felker Tech). He has several open source projects on GitHub (http://github.com/fleker)Devices: Moto G-2013 Moto G-2015, Moto 360, Google ADT-1, Nexus 7-2013 (x2), Lenovo Laptop, Custom Desktop.Although he was an intern at Google, the content of this blog is entirely independent and his own thoughts.

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  • josuearisty

    Hey Nick, thanks for the article.

    I really want for N to come as soon as possible! Im really desperate to see what is coming in the final version.