Two years ago, Google surprised us by releasing a developer preview for Android L at Google I/O, which later became Lollipop. Last year they improved the process by publishing several preview releases for Android M, which was announced at Google I/O. This year, we expected the trend to continue. Yet Google continues to surprise. They just published the first preview for Android N, months before I/O.
There’s a lot of changes to the OS. Multi-window support, night mode, bundled notifications, and direct reply notifications are all headline features. There’s likely many more things that we’ll see down the line as we explore further. Bundled notifications and direct reply are taken from Android Wear and brought into the main OS. Another great feature for developers is support for Java 8, which will make developing easier.
Get Android N
If you don’t feel like running in an emulator, and have a Nexus Player, you can flash Android N right now. You’ll need to download the system image to your device. This method will erase all system data.
But in the spirit of Google trying new things, you can register your device to the Android Beta program to get an over the air update for the developer preview. Only certain devices are eligible, such as the Nexus Player. The Nexus 6, 9, 5X, 6P, and Pixel C are also eligible devices. These are previews, so your experience may vary.
Are you getting Android N early? What do you think?