The next major version of Android will have support for viewing multiple apps at once, thanks to split-screen and freeform multi-window features, support for faster upgrades, and a number of other changes affecting the user interface, performance, and battery life.
Android N isn’t ready for the public yet… but Google released a developer preview in March. Now the company has launched Android Developer Preview 2 with a few new goodies baked in.
Among other things, the new preview includes support for the Vulcan 3D graphics API, Unicode 9 emoji (including selfie and facepalm emoji), and launcher shortcuts.
That last bit lets app developers create shortcuts to specific points in the app, allowing users to save a shortcut to their launcher that lets them do things like tap a button to begin composing an email immediately, playing the next episode of a TV show, or navigating to a specific location using a map app. You don’t have to first launch the app and then choose those actions if you have a shortcut that lets you cut to the chase.
Update: Launcher shortcuts have been delayed and won’t be available in Android N when it launches this summer.
Google says the Android N Developer Preview 2 also includes bug fixes, and updated APIs.
Like the first preview, the new build is available for testing on the Google Nexus 5X, Nexus 6, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, and Pixel C. A Nexus Player build is coming soon.