Updated: The Android N Developer Preview 2 is here. Google's April update to its Android 7 'beta' shows smooth progress at adding sweet features, and squashing nutty bugs.
[Developing story. Updated 8:08 am PT with more kick, snare and comment]
If you're an app dev with a recent Nexus or Pixel device, jar yourself out of that coma and get with the program, will ya? It's choc-full of newness, and there's nut long until August. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers spread it around.
What’s the craic? Andrew Cunningham sits on Android N’s second preview build:
Google has just released the first of several promised updates. ... Android N Developer Preview 2 makes several major changes...includes bug fixes and tweaks.
The biggest addition is support for the Vulkan graphics API...analogous to DirectX 12 in Windows or Metal in iOS. [It] includes support for Unicode 9.0 emoji. ... Google has added something called "launcher shortcuts"...to specific in-app activities.
Google plans to release three more preview builds...one per month. ... The final build will be released sometime in Q3.
What's new in DP2? Abner Li lists everything that’s new:
Those who have already enrolled...will get an OTA update. ... But if you’re impatient...you can download new factory images.
Apps [can] add shortcuts to the launcher. [e.g.,] sending a message to your best friend, navigating home...or playing the next episode of a TV show.
Unicode 9 [emoji] replaces the current generic people for more human-looking ones. [It] introduces support for skin tone variations and...glyphs like bacon, selfie and facepalm.
Homescreen folders have received a slight redesign. [It] now shows the first four apps. [It] is convenient, but could use some polish.
[The] Emergency Info screen has received a much bolder Material revamp. ... Preset emergency contacts are more easily accessible.
What about bugs? Kellen Barranger lists a few fixed in Build NPC91K:
Here are some of the issues...fixed: Can’t connect to hidden SSID or non-broadcast Wi-Fi. ... Microphone mute state persists across activities. ... Changing multi-window focus pauses YouTube. ... Direct Reply may close open activity.
What about non-Nexus devices? Paul Thurrott confirms it is Here:
Recent rumors suggested that Google would open up the...Preview to non-Google devices. [But] that’s not happened yet.
[It] is currently available for the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, and Pixel C. ... Nexus Player will get the update...in “several days.”
Hurrah! Derek Walter cheers for the fixes in Developer Preview 2:
If you’ve been test driving...get ready for...some badly needed bug fixes. ... The most welcome part of the update is...bug fixes. ... N is quite unstable. This update specifically fixes...problems reported through the public issue tracker.
What’s an update without fresh Emoji? ... As part of an effort to make...emoji less, well, weird...Google is doing away with the blob people.
What if you sensibly skipped DP1 but now want to get on the train? Google's Dave Burke reminds us how to get Developer Preview 2:
The easiest way to get this and later...updates is by enrolling...in the Android Beta Program [at] g.co/androidbeta. ... If you’ve already enrolled...no action is needed on your part.
Developer Preview 2 is intended for developers and not as a daily driver. ... To build and test apps with Developer Preview 2, you need to use Android Studio 2.1. ... Please continue to share feedback.
Update: There are other features that come with updated apps for Android N. For example, Tom Dawson spots new Wallpaper Options for Home and Lock Screen:
This latest find is an interesting little tweak. ... Android has...two different wallpapers, one on the lock screen and one [on the] home screen, but it [doesn’t have] the option to choose.
It’s something that a lot of users...have been asking to hit stock...for a long, long time. ... But now Google seems to be adding it.
This new feature [has] been added to the new Google App...itself version 5.12.16.NYC.21. [You can] set a wallpaper as...home or lock screen wallpaper, or both. ... The Google app is odexed, [so] it won’t run on versions below Android N. ... Those running the second preview of Android N will be able to give this a try.
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