The Android Update: the N-Release, Virtual Reality, Android Studio 2.2 and more

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In the past year, Android users around the globe have installed apps–built by developers over 65 billion times on Google Play. To help developers continue to build amazing experiences on top of Android, Google announced the next Developer Preview of Android N, an extension of Android into virtual reality and an update to Android Studio.

Android N Developer Preview is available to try on a range of devices

 

Android N: Performance, Productivity and Security

With Android N, the tech giant aims to achieve a new level of product excellence for Android, so the platform was remodeled, rewriting and redesigning some fundamental aspects of how the system works. For Android N, Google focuses on three key themes: performance, productivity and security. The first Developer Preview introduced a brand new JIT compiler to improve software performance, make app installs faster, and take up less storage. The second N Developer Preview included Vulkan, a new 3D rendering API to help game developers deliver high performance graphics on mobile devices. Both previews also brought useful productivity improvements to Android, including Multi-Window support and Direct Reply.

Multi-Window mode on Android N

 

Android N also adds some important new features to help keep users safer and more secure. Inspired by how Chromebooks apply updates, Google is introducing seamless updates, so that new Android devices built on N can install system updates in the background. This means that the next time a user powers up their device, new devices can automatically and seamlessly switch into the new updated system image.

The release of Android N Developer Preview 3 is the first beta-quality candidate, available to test on your primary phone or tablet. You can opt in to the Android Beta Program at android.com/beta and run Android N on your Nexus 6, 9, 5X, 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel C, and Android One (General Mobile 4G). If you’ve got an Android app, you should be testing how it works on N.

VR Mode in Android

Android was built for today’s multi-screen world; in fact, Android powers your phone, your tablet, the watch on your wrist, it even works in your car and in your living room, all the while helping you move seamlessly between each device. Your phone can be a really powerful new way to see the world and experience new content virtually, in a more immersive way; but, until this point, high quality mobile VR wasn’t possible across the Android ecosystem. It is important how the operating system reads sensor data and how it sends pixels to the display–to make it especially built to provide high quality mobile VR experiences, with VR Mode in Android. There are a number of performance enhancements designed for developers, including single buffer rendering and access to an exclusive CPU core for VR apps. Within your apps, you can take advantage of smooth head-tracking and stereo notifications that work for VR. Most importantly, Android N provides for very low latency graphics.

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