I/O 2016: Google launches Android N beta with speed boosts, VR hooks & iOS-drawn improvements

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 2016
At the beginning of its I/O developer conference on Wednesday, Google revealed that the next major version of Android -- codenamed "Android N" -- is launching in beta later today, and will introduce features like better performance, improved multitasking, and even virtual reality support when it officially arrives in late summer.

Image Credit: The Verge
Image Credit: The Verge


One of the key aspects of the update is the integration of Vulkan, a faster cross-platform graphics API. Google has also made Android's compiler up to 75 percent quicker, and reduced the amount of space required for app installs.

Borrowing from iOS, users will be able to quick-reply to messages from notifications. Likewise Android is getting support for split-screen and picture-in-picture multitasking, something present on iPads since Septemer's iOS 9. Android users can, however, take advantage of split-screen on both phones and tablets, and picture-in-picture on Android TV.

Another multitasking improvement is a streamlined app switcher, limited to the last seven apps used, with a "Clear All" button for quickly closing every open app.

Android N will also include a dedicated VR Mode as part of a broader hardware and software initiative called Daydream. The first Daydream-compatible phones should launch in the fall, and will have screens, sensors, and other components tailored to VR. Part of the goal is to minimize latency, since instant response is important for immersion and avoiding motion sickness.

A special Daydream homescreen will in fact let people launch apps and content, including VR versions of YouTube, Street View, the Play Store, Play Movies, and Photos. Some initial third-party content providers will include Netflix, HBO, IMAX, the New York Times and others.

Daydream-ready phones will have to be paired with a compatible headset and controller, for which there is only a reference design at the moment.

Image Credit: Android Authority
Image Credit: Android Authority


Unusually, Google said it hasn't settled on a final name for Android N, and will be taking submissions on what the "N" should ultimately stand for, though Google is reserving the right of final selection.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 35
    512ke512ke Posts: 782member
    Apple...

    VR
  • Reply 2 of 35
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,595member
    How many Android users will be using this newest OS when it gets released?

    0.0001736%

     :# 

    I haven't seen any recent charts, but the majority of Android users are still probably on an ancient version of Android that was released a long, long time ago.
    calijony0lostkiwi
  • Reply 3 of 35
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    512ke said:
    Apple...

    VR
    Tim Cook believes in VR.

    Trust me they'll be the first to get it right(or Nintendo).
  • Reply 4 of 35
    SnRaSnRa Posts: 65member
    The reference controller has a simple design. Clickable touch-pad, two buttons and motion sensing.


  • Reply 5 of 35
    apple ][ said:
    How many Android users will be using this newest OS when it gets released?

    0.0001736%

     :# 

    I haven't seen any recent charts, but the majority of Android users are still probably on an ancient version of Android that was released a long, long time ago.
    I know what the goog should call Android N.  Nobody!
    caliapple ][jony0lostkiwi
  • Reply 6 of 35
    ericthehalfbeeericthehalfbee Posts: 4,050member
    This whole Google I/O was a big snoozefest. What did they actually announce that was so groundbreaking?
    calilostkiwi
  • Reply 7 of 35
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    This whole Google I/O was a big snoozefest. What did they actually announce that was so groundbreaking?
    What did you expect?

    It's a snoozefest every year and they showcase last years iOS software.
  • Reply 8 of 35
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    SnRa said:
    The reference controller has a simple design. Clickable touch-pad, two buttons and motion sensing.


    It's missing the Siri button :open_mouth: 
    1983
  • Reply 9 of 35
    SnRaSnRa Posts: 65member
    This whole Google I/O was a big snoozefest. What did they actually announce that was so groundbreaking?
    I agree that there wasn't anything groundbreaking, but the integration of Vulkan, the ecosystem development for VR and the Instant Apps are great steps forward. Not just for Google, but for the mobile industry. 

    I still think Apple dropped the ball when they abandoned Vulkan for Metal.
  • Reply 10 of 35
    SnRaSnRa Posts: 65member
    cali said:
    SnRa said:
    The reference controller has a simple design. Clickable touch-pad, two buttons and motion sensing.


    It's missing the Siri button :open_mouth: 
    That's what the microphone is for, "Hey Siri" ;)
    cali1983
  • Reply 11 of 35
    koopkoop Posts: 337member
    As a Google fan it was definitely a snoozer. Googe's sad attempts at chat at this point is borderline cringe-worthy. Google has released, butchered, released chat apps that nobody uses because nobody uses it. The new "surprise! here's my dick!" feature for their video calling app i'm sure will be groundbreaking.

    Google Home is long overdue and most Googlers have wondered why it took Google this long to develop. So far it looks very, very similar to Echo so in that sense it was kind of a snooze. I do like how it integrates with Chromecast and Chromecast audio. 

    Android Wear Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Google Daydream - Kind of cool, but i'm more interesting in VR experiences from Occulus that use real GPUs and not weak mobile chips.

    Android N - Great update, but everything they talked about I've already played with on the beta on my Nexus 6P. Nothing new there.
    calipatchythepirate
  • Reply 12 of 35
    M_RaczM_Racz Posts: 2member
    apple needs to revamp siri...its really falling behind ....google assistant was pretty impressive.
    edited May 2016 cali
  • Reply 13 of 35
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,506member
    At the beginning of its I/O developer conference on Wednesday, Google revealed that the next major version of Android -- codenamed "Android N" -- is launching in Unusually, Google said it hasn't settled on a final name for Android N, and will be taking submissions on what the "N" should ultimately stand for, though Google is reserving the right of final selection.

    Google asks the Internet for N-words – what could possibly go wrong?


    edited May 2016 patchythepirateai46
  • Reply 14 of 35
    glindonglindon Posts: 17member
    apple ][ said:
    How many Android users will be using this newest OS when it gets released?

    0.0001736%

     :# 

    I haven't seen any recent charts, but the majority of Android users are still probably on an ancient version of Android that was released a long, long time ago.
    I know what the goog should call Android N.  Nobody!
    Android NewPhoneRequired has a better ring to it.
    avidthinkerlostkiwi
  • Reply 15 of 35
    glindonglindon Posts: 17member

    SnRa said:
    This whole Google I/O was a big snoozefest. What did they actually announce that was so groundbreaking?
    I agree that there wasn't anything groundbreaking, but the integration of Vulkan, the ecosystem development for VR and the Instant Apps are great steps forward. Not just for Google, but for the mobile industry. 

    I still think Apple dropped the ball when they abandoned Vulkan for Metal.
    Why would you say that? We've had metal since the 5S and it's backed by all the major 3D engines. It's taken way too long for Vulkan to come to fruition.
  • Reply 16 of 35
    redstaterredstater Posts: 49member
    "Borrowing from iOS, users will be able to quick-reply to messages from notifications." Funny, I can do this already using Google Messenger on my Nexus 6. "Likewise Android is getting support for split-screen and picture-in-picture multitasking, something present on iPads since Septemer's iOS 9." Funny, I was able to do this back in 2013 with my Samsung Galaxy Mega. As Samsung and LG phones and tablets and Jide tablets and Android PCs have been able to do for even longer. What is new is that this is coming into base Android. It was unable to before because of performance reasons: 512 MB and 1 GB of RAM devices running on Qualcomm 200 and low end MediaTek CPUs couldn't handle it. This was also why this functionality is not in the iPhone 6S ... it required the extra GB of RAM that went into the iPad Pro. "Google has also made Android's compiler up to 75 percent quicker" In 2014 they went from just-in-time to ahead of time compilation to make it faster. Now 2 years later they are going BACK to just-in-time compilation to make it faster. Unless they did a major redesign in the underlying architecture, either to the JVM or to the native OS, I will believe it when I see it.
    dasanman69
  • Reply 17 of 35
    SnRaSnRa Posts: 65member
    glindon said:

    SnRa said:
    I agree that there wasn't anything groundbreaking, but the integration of Vulkan, the ecosystem development for VR and the Instant Apps are great steps forward. Not just for Google, but for the mobile industry. 

    I still think Apple dropped the ball when they abandoned Vulkan for Metal.
    Why would you say that? We've had metal since the 5S and it's backed by all the major 3D engines. It's taken way too long for Vulkan to come to fruition.
    Vulkan is cross-platform low level API with feature support equivalent to DX11/DX12. Support for Android, Windows, SteamOS, etc.

    It has taken longer to be released than Metal, but it's much more than Metal.  Metal is essentially a low level mobile API with equivalent feature support to OpenGL ES 3.1.

    Vulkan 1.0 launched a few months ago, and in that time, nVidia, AMD, Intel, Qualcomm and Imagination Technologies have all launched drivers. We've seen demonstrations of Unreal Engine on mobile hardware and support announced for a number of other engines. Doom, a brand new title on PC (and consoles), already has Vulkan support.




    edited May 2016 cnocbui
  • Reply 18 of 35
    cali said:
    512ke said:
    Apple...

    VR
    Tim Cook believes in VR.

    Trust me they'll be the first to get it right(or Nintendo).
    There's a reason Nintendo is bleeding money. Too Slow. Apple also sometimes too slow
  • Reply 19 of 35
    redstaterredstater Posts: 49member
    apple ][ said:
    How many Android users will be using this newest OS when it gets released?

    0.0001736%

     :# 

    I haven't seen any recent charts, but the majority of Android users are still probably on an ancient version of Android that was released a long, long time ago.
    33% of users are on 2013's KitKat. 36% of users are on 2014's Lollipop. 7.5% are on 2015's Marshmallow. 25% of Android users are on versions released before 2013.
    ration alapple ][cnocbui
  • Reply 20 of 35
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,595member
    redstater said:
    apple ][ said:
    How many Android users will be using this newest OS when it gets released?

    0.0001736%

     :# 

    I haven't seen any recent charts, but the majority of Android users are still probably on an ancient version of Android that was released a long, long time ago.
    33% of users are on 2013's KitKat. 36% of users are on 2014's Lollipop. 7.5% are on 2015's Marshmallow. 25% of Android users are on versions released before 2013.
    That's pretty sad.
    ration alcalilostkiwi
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