Android N Developer Preview 4 is now out!

android developer

For folks who are participating in the Android N beta program, Google has just released the fourth developer preview of Android N.

If you are enrolled and using the latest software, you should by now get a notification to install Android N Developer Preview 4, otherwise here are links to install the update; You can grab the image files here also get the OTA zip files are here.

Just like earlier update versions, there’s support for the Nexus 9, Nexus 9 with LTE, Nexus 6P, Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, the Nexus Player, Pixel C, the General Mobile 4G (Google’s Android One program) and Xperia Z3. The Xperia Z3 software is updated independently via the Xperia Companion software, you can search for the update there if its available.

Here are some of the new feature changes:

  • In previous versions of Android, an app activates with all of its locale resources loaded before locale negotiation begins. Starting in Android N DP4, the system negotiates resource locales individually for each resource object before the app activates.
  • As announced at Developer Preview 3, we’ve deferred the Launcher Shortcuts feature to a later release of Android. In Developer Preview 4, we’ve removed the Launcher Shortcuts APIs.
  • We’ve changed the BLE Scanning behavior starting in DP4. We’ll prevent applications from starting and stopping scans more than 5 times in 30 seconds. For long running scans, we’ll convert them into opportunistic scans.
  • The Multi-Window android:minimalHeight and android:minimalWidth attributes have been renamed to android:minHeight and android:minWidth.

Here are the issues one might encounter

Stability

Users may encounter system instability (such as kernel panics and crashes).

Launcher

The default launcher’s All Apps tray may become unresponsive after cycling the screen off and on. Returning to the homescreen and relaunching the All Apps tray may resolve this issue.

Setup Wizard

Crash on selecting “Not now” in “Set up email” screen.

Media

  • Media playback may be unreliable on Nexus 9 and Nexus Player, including issues playing HD video.
  • Occasional freeze when running the YouTube app with other apps in multi-window mode on Pixel C devices. In some cases hard reboot is required.
  • Apps may have issues playing some Widevine DRM-protected content on Nexus 9 devices.
    Issues handling VP8 video on Nexus 9 devices.

External storage

Apps may become unstable when the user moves them from internal storage to adoptable external storage (this can include SD card or devices attached over USB).

Screen zoom and multiple APKs in Google Play

On devices running Android N, Google Play services 9.0.83 incorrectly reports the current screen density rather than the stable screen density. When screen zoom is enabled on these devices, this can cause Google Play to select a version of a multi-APK app that’s designed for smaller screens. This issue is fixed in the next version of Google Play services and will be included in a later Developer Preview release.

Vulkan support and multiple APKs in Google Play

On devices running Android N, Google Play services 9.0.83 currently reports Vulkan support but not Vulkan version. This can cause Google Play to select a version of a multi-APK app that’s designed for lower Vulkan support on devices with higher version support. Currently, the Google Play Store does not accept uploads of apps which use Vulkan version targeting. This support will be added to the Google Play Store in the future and fixed in the next version of Google Play services (to be included in a later Developer Preview release). Any N devices using the version of Google Play services 9.0.83 will continue to receive versions of apps targeting basic Vulkan support.

Accessibility

  • Switch access doesn’t allow user to navigate web pages in Chrome.
  • Accessibility issues for talkback users with notification dismissal, and wifi selection screen.

Android for Work

  • Currently, CA certificates provisioned through DevicePolicyManager are not available to profiles other than the primary user/profile due to a preload issue. For example, this could prevent a user from connecting to a trusted server when in a Work profile. This issue will be resolved in the next Developer Preview.

Google says that Developer Preview 4 includes API level 24, which is the final APIs . That means apps can now be published with support for API level 24 on Google Play in alpha, beta, and production release channels. Google is also providing the final API to Android Studio 2.1.2 and higher, while also pushing system images to the emulator.

If you are a part of the Android Beta Program, feel free to check for updates in Settings > About phone > System updates, if it is available you will see it.


Android “N” is the codename of an upcoming release of the Android mobile operating system. It was first released as a developer preview on March 9, 2016, with factory images for current Nexus devices, as well as a new “Android Beta Program” which allows supported devices to be upgraded directly to the Android “N” beta via an over-the-air update. The stable release of the operating system is expected in mid-2016.



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