The Android letter-mill keeps on churning, and while Marshmallow is barely out of the gate eyes are now turning to the next update: Android N. While that update isn’t likely to be officially launched until the Google I/O conference in May, details are beginning to surface. Here’s all the latest news and rumours about Android 7.0.
Android N: What’s it going to be called? Nougat, Nutella, Naan bread?
Google likes to keep a sweet-tooth when naming its Android OS updates. Aside from Android Alpha and Android Beta, all of the updates have been named after sugary treats: Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, KitKat, Lollipop and Marshmallow.
So N is very likely to stand for something sweet. The top contenders at the moment are Nectar, Nougat and Nutella. Following KitKat a branded name isn’t out of bounds, but Android Nougat has a good ring to it so we’re going for that one at the moment.
Then again, it could always be Nesquik, Nachos, Nutty, Noodles, Nutmeg, Nectarine or, my personal favourite, Naan bread.
Android N: Release date
Android M was announced at I/O 2015, and it’s very likely that Google will take a similar approach to Android N and launch it at I/O 2016. This year that conference falls between 18-20 May, so expect to see N make its public debut during the opening keynote.
After a May launch, an Android N Developer Preview will likely be made available. Later in the summer Android N will get a name, and then around October the update will start to roll out officially. New Nexus devices that come out in autumn will have it pre-installed, and it will then gradually make its way onto older Nexus phones and tablets, as well as other Android devices around the new year.
Android N: Features
One of the main features potentially coming to Android N is the inclusion of split-screen multi-tasking. In a Reddit AMA, Android and Chrome UX director Glen Murphy said his team is working on ways to make Android a more productive OS.
“We’re working hard on a range of enhancements for Android in this form-factor,” he said. “There are many things, like multiwindow, that we’ve been spending a lot of time on – hopefully we can share more about this soon.”
Aside from split-screen functionality, there are also signs that Android N could eat up Chrome OS. The specifics are currently vague, but the idea would be that Android absorbs a number of elements from Chrome OS, presumably with an aim to increase Android’s reach over laptops. Whether or not this cannibalisation will occur in time for Android N, instead of Android O, remains to be seen.