Android N: 7 top features we’re looking forward to (CNET)


Back in March, Google gave a sneak peek at its upcoming mobile operating system, Android N. While the final version of the OS won’t be available until summer, the company announced more Android N features, as well as a few other initiatives, at its annual developer’s conference in May.

Currently, Android is the most popular mobile OS in the world. In addition to beefed-up security updates and new emojis, N will integrate Google’s interactive Assistant service and better battery efficiency. For now, we’re getting a taste of what the new flavor of Android will have, with more features to come. Let’s take a look at the top new features Google has divulged so far.


Google Assistant

The new Assistant software will let you engage in more natural back-and-forth dialogue with the Android device than you can with Now (Google’s current digital and search assistant), in order to get things done, like research a restaurant and make a reservation through OpenTable.

Instant Apps

Timed with the release of N but also available on phones running OS versions as old as Android Jelly Bean, Instant Apps lets you access or use certain apps without having to download and install said apps. This is especially useful for digital payment transactions, where you can pay with Android Payinstead of whatever system the app would have made you use.


Looking at two apps at once will become standard on Android phones and tablets. With multiwindow, you can see apps in a split screen. This feature has been available on Samsung and LG phones for a few years, and now it’ll come to many more Android devices. It’s also very similar to what the Apple iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 4 and iPad Pro can do, thanks to Apple’s latest OS, iOS 9.

Google’s adding a picture-in-picture option for apps that play video, too, similar to what we’ve seen on the iPad Air. That means, you should be able to watch a YouTube video while also browsing Twitter, or perhaps check email while watching a movie through Google Play.

Reply in a notification

Brought over from Android Wear watches, Google now lets you reply to text messages from the notification shade. When you get a new message, a little alert will pop up at the top of the screen and you can type your reply right there and go back to what you were doing. iOS has had a similar feature for awhile, so it’s great to see it come to Android.

Bundles of notifications

If your notification menu is a mess of alerts, this feature might help. Developers will be able to group together notifications from their app. You’ll see a bundle of notifications from each app in the menu, and you’ll just tap the bundle to expand it and see each individual alert.

Again, iOS has something like this for its notification menu that you have to manually toggle on, so it’s a welcome addition to Android too.

Doze on the Go

Android 6.0 Marshmallow was the first to get Doze, a battery-saving setting that halts background computing that kicks in when your phone is not in use and sitting still. Doze on the Go does the same thing, except your phone can be in motion (like if it’s inside your pocket sitting idle). Google’s also working on Project Svelte, which aims to reduce the amount of memory Android needs. The goal is to bring the latest versions of Android to more devices, especially those with lower-end specs.

Night Mode

Similar to Apple’s Night Shift feature, Night Mode aims to reduce eye strain from viewing a bright display at night. This setting tints the screen yellow, which keeps you less revved up in later hours than the usual blue tint. You can also adjust the brightness and tint of the sepia hue.

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