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Google announces brand new features coming to Android N

Updated May 18th, 2016 2:21PM EDT
Android N New Features

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We’ve already seen a few big announcements from Google at the annual I/O keynote in Mountain View, California, but the company’s not done yet. Following the reveals of Google Assistant, Google Home, Allo and Duo, Google has finally turned to Android N, the next major software update for the mobile OS.

DON’T MISS: Live coverage: Watch the Google I/O 2016 keynote right here

Dave Burke, VP of engineering for Android, took the stage this afternoon to discuss Android N, which, surprisingly, still doesn’t have a name. Burke admitted that the company has been struggling to come up with a name, so it’s giving the fans a chance to come up with a name (though Google reserves the right to pick a winner).

Starting with performance, Burke said that Android N uses a graphics API called Vulcan and has a lower GPU overhead, which should make everything run smoother. With the software’s JIT compiler, apps will install 75% faster and the compiled code size will be reduced by 50%. Good news for developers and users alike.

Burke also discussed three ways that Android N will improve security:

  • File-based encryption
  • Media-hardening framework
  • Seamless updates

That last one should be especially exciting for Android users, because it means they’ll never have to see an update dialog notification ever again. System images will download automatically from now on.

Moving on to productivity, Burke explained how the recent apps carousel is undergoing a bit of an overhaul, with recent apps beyond the last seven you’ve used going into a list. There will also be a ‘Clear All’ button, which might be the best thing that Google has announced at the entire event so far.

At least, it was the most exciting, until Burke revealed that split screen mode would be coming to both Android phones and tablets. A long tap on the square button allows Android N users to open two screens at a time. In addition, Google is introducing Picture-in-Picture for Android TV.

Finally, Burke announced that direct replies will give users the ability to respond to notifications without actually opening the app and Unicode 9 emoji support, with emoji that look less like monstrous blobs.

Over 250 new features will be in Android N, which is coming this summer.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.