Two Big Improvements from Android N

Posted by Kirhat | Wednesday, May 25, 2016 | | 0 comments »

Android N
Google I/O has kicked off as of last 18 May and so far Google hasn't given Android N its confectionary name yet. Android L was "Lollipop" Android M was "Marshmallow," so what could Android N possible stand for? Many have suggested Nougat or Nectar, even Naan Bread.

However, one thing is certain. The response to the developer preview has been "overwhelming". Google has detailed the update's "late summer" release date as well as a few of other features it is now prepared to reveal. One of the BIG features Google was keen to reveal on day one is related to the platform's performance, with the big G saying it has improved this on two fronts; runtime and graphics.

Google also let slip that it is now building its own chipsets. Called the Tensor Processing Unit, the chipset is what’s powering The Big G’s Assistant AI platform. This is kind of a big deal because it puts Google in direct competition with the likes of NVIDIA, Qualcomm and Intel. Whether these chipsets will come to mobiles in the future remains to be seen, but starting to build your own SoC isn’t exactly cheap, nor is it an endeavour one takes on for just a single product.

Perhaps this is why Google only mentioned it in passing; maybe it didn't want to upset its long-standing chip-making partners. Qualcomm invests billions in R&D every year and is involved in a fiercely competitive space with the likes of Samsung, Intel and NVIDIA. The addition to Google likely wouldn't be seen as welcome news given the company’s financial size and influence.

The graphics and runtime side of things is down to the new Vulkan API, essentially offering an extensive series of optimisation tweaks so that devs can squeeze better graphics out of current and forthcoming hardware AND it'll run more efficiently too thanks to a new graphics compiler that is claimed to be 75 percent speedier than the previous architecture. Google also says these tweaks will mean applications will be smaller in terms of storage space than before, so users will get more apps into their device!

The Vulkan API is also cross-platform and scalable, while the benefts are obivous to mobile, an Nvidia demo showcased the API running the new Doom game on a desktop machine.

Always a focal point of Android is the multitasking, and Google has tweaked things a little further for the new build - the multitasking hub will now show only the last seven apps a user has used rather than every single one, plus there's now a "clear all" option. Android N features split-screen multitasking with application windows.

Nobody yet knows the details for phones, but tablets will allow users to have two applications dividing the display in half, or run a smaller window in the corner of a larger full-screen application, say a YouTube video in the corner of the web browser, for example. Messages in the notifications menu will now allow a quick-reply option.

An of course VR is a BIG deal this year. Google announced its VR scheme called "Daydream" and Android will be involved with its own VR mode, and Google is providing OEMs with a required spec sheet if they want to be able to run Daydream - the "Daydream Ready" spec.


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