Google announced the launch of the Dev Preview 2 build yesterday, and it brings us bug fixes first and foremost. Other goodies are packed in the new preview as well, and we can’t wait for these changes to hit our devices once N is officially launched.

If you’re curious what we’re going to get in the new N build, here are the highlights:

New emojis

emojis

Emojis on Android have went through a couple of iterations since they first made an appearance, and the second developer preview of Android N shows new emojis making an appearance, and they’re significantly less blobby than the current ones.

A lot of Android users have expressed their dissatisfaction with the new emojis, and I tend to agree – they’re not supposed to look human, and caricatures are just a basic representation of an emotion, that’s it. But oh well, at the end of the day it’s just smiley faces.

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A new look for folders

It’s really a hit and miss with cosmetic upgrades in this dev preview – the second update that messes with Android’s aspect is the second one that’s criticized the internet over; this time, it’s folders.

folders

As you can see, icons in folders have been updated and it’s like you’re looking through a paper hole to the sheet underneath, where all the other icons are. That’s sort of in keeping with Material Design mentality, but it’s going to take some time for us to get used to them.

Launcher shortcuts

Launcher shortcuts have been a thing in Android for a while, albeit not in Google’s launcher. The developer blog has more info about this update:

“Android N allows apps to define action-specific shortcuts which can be displayed in the launcher. These launcher shortcuts let your users quickly start common or recommended tasks within your app. Each shortcut contains an intent, which links the shortcut to a specific action in your app.”

What this means that you can actually have a shortcut to a specific place/activity inside an app; awesome stuff, and it really makes shortcuts better this way.

“Clear all” button in Recent Apps

As far as I know, Android has a grip on RAM and it knows when and what processes to kill if it needs that extra oomph, so I never clear my recent apps. I’ve got dozens open at any given moment, and my phone isn’t any worse for wear.

clear all

But I do understand why some people clear their open apps, a lot of my friends do too. And it’s frustrating to clear them one by one, so the recent Android N update brings a “Clear all” button that allows you to swipe every app with a tap.

Vulkan support

As the Google devs put it:

“Vulkan is a new 3D rendering API which we’ve helped to develop as a member of Khronos, geared at providing explicit, low-overhead GPU (Graphics Processor Unit) control to developers and offers a significant boost in performance for draw-call heavy applications.”

In layman’s terms, this means that Android N will make it easier for 3D games to run on our devices. After playing graphic-intensive games like World of Tanks lately, I’ve found that this is exactly what’s missing from my game list.

I know I’m most excited about this Vulkan support in the new developer build, I think it will have the biggest long term impact on our ecosystem. Which is your favorite?

Image sources: techradar.com, androidpolice.com

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