It has almost been a month since Google released the first Developer Preview of Android N. Now it’s time for Developer Preview 2.
We’re not sure what flavor the new update will come in (Nutella? Nougat?), but we do know there will be five Developer Previews before the final software is sent out to device manufacturers. We’ll likely see the launch of Android N some time late in the summer.
Related: Here’s what Android N might look like on desktop
What’s new in the second version of the Developer Preview? Google provided a handy update list, which includes the introduction of Vulkan, launcher shortcuts, and support for Emoji Unicode 9. Google has also squashed a few bugs, such as an issue that didn’t allow users to “connect to hidden Wi-Fi networks, Multi-window pauses, and Direct Reply closing an open activity.”
The new version of the Developer Preview introduces a new “3D rendering API,” which Google says offers a “significant boost in performance for draw-call heavy applications.”
“Vulkan’s reduction of CPU overhead allows some synthetic benchmarks to see as much as 10 times the draw-call throughput on a single core as compared to OpenGL ES,” the search giant said in a blog post.
Related: Hands on with Android N: Multitasking, new notifications, UI tuner, and more
Most people using Android N won’t be affected by this new feature, as not a lot of games are currently built with Vulkan.
Android N now has launcher shortcuts — which means you can set specific shortcuts (3 to 5) within any app that implements them to quickly perform actions. You can add the shortcuts to your home screen for even faster access.
“These shortcuts contain an Intent into specific points within your app (like 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),” according to the announcement.
Emojis of people now look more human in Android, including support for skin tone variations, and Google recommends keyboard and messaging app developers begin incorporating these new emojis into their apps.
There’s also support for Unicode 9 glyphs, “like the bacon, selfie, and face palm” emojis.
Of course, apart from adding new features, the Developer Preview 2 also adds some changes to existing APIs in Android N — such as how developers can now specify a “separate minimum height and minimum width” for multi-window support. You can find more about the changes here.
The update should be rolling out through an over-the-air update if you opted in your eligible device in the Android Beta program. Eligible devices are the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, the Pixel C, and General Mobile’s 4G. The Nexus Player will receive the update in a few days.
If not, you can always download and flash the update manually, but as Google reminds us, “the build is not yet optimized for performance and battery life.” In other words, be cautious about installing this early preview on your main device. If you’re willing to take that risk, we’ve got handy instructions on how to flash updates here.