Android N preview release: Google releases early version of its mobile operating system by complete surprise

The company usually waits until May to unveil the new features of Android — but decided to drop split-screen multitasking and improved battery life two months early and without much of a fuss

Google has revealed the new version of Android, months before it was expected and by complete surprise.

The company showed off the new features of the update, including improved battery life, split-screen multitasking and other improvements.

Usually, the company shows off its new operating system in May, at its Google I/O event for developers, and then releases it in October. But the company has decided to unveil it earlier, and will look to get the final release out to manufacturers by the summer.

That move should help it get into people’s hands “earlier than ever”, the company said. That could be an attempt to speed up the rollout of the new version of Android — updates often take a long time to actually arrive on phones, leaving users without new features and often liable to security bugs.

The update will also give developers extra time to integrate the new features into its apps, Googel said.

The biggest of those changes is multi-window view. That allows people to run two apps at once on the same screen — though many manufacturers have changed their versions of Android to do so, that feature has never been available in the stock version of Android.

It also features a night mode — like the upcoming iOS 9.3 — new smarter notifications and updates that improve battery life.

The company also rolled out a new way for people to get hold of the new Android, through a new Android Beta Program. That allows people to sign up and download the software when it is updated, providing updates over the air.

The Android Beta Program will only be available for Nexus devices, from the msmaller Nexus 5X to tablets like the Pixel C.

The company said that it hoped the different rollout process would help make the service and the apps that run on it more dependable.

“By making it easier for you to try out the developer previews, and giving all of us more time to tweak and iterate, we hope to create a stronger platform that’s fine tuned for you and the billions of people that use Android everyday,” wrote Hiroshi Lockheimer, the head of Android, in a Medium post announcing the release.

The company hasn’t yet decided what the new release will be called. Google works through the alphabet and names each of them after a dessert — but the only queue to the new name was that “We’re nut tellin’ you yet”.

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