This may be the most anticipated feature in the new Android release. Even though it caters more toward users than developers, it’s such a big feature we have to mention it. In Nougat, you can display multiple apps simultaneously on the same screen, with handy sliders to adjust the window size for each. For developers, all it takes is a couple of lines in your manifest file to add support for this feature. Your app can define a minimum window size, or choose to disable multi-window so your app is only displayed in full-screen. For more info, check out the implementation guide here.
You’ll quickly notice that the interface for notifications has been updated in Nougat, but there has been some additional functionality added as well. The styling is easily configurable for your app’s notifications using the MessagingStyle class, and custom views have been extended.
Beyond cosmetic changes, you can now bundle notifications into groups so your users can easily process and manage multiple notifications. This is particularly useful for managing messaging topics or email threads. Direct-reply has also been added so users can reply to an incoming notification directly from the notification itself.
To learn more about the new notifications, check out the full implementation guide here.
These may not be flashy new features, but don’t shy away from implementing them for your app. There are some considerations developers should take into account when developing for Nougat and beyond. Users are becoming increasingly aware of apps that drain too much battery and burn too much data, so it’s important for your app to adhere to the functionality provided by the OS to optimize this usage.
Android N includes ‘Data Saver’ mode, a switch users can flip when they want to conserve data. Background data requests will be blocked while in this mode, and apps receive a signal to use data wisely. Developers should adhere to these suggestions via the ConnectivityManager to ensure user expectations are met.
On the battery side, Doze has been given some updates to improve battery life even while on the go (rather than the existing implementation that took effect when stationary – sitting on a table or in a drawer, for example). Background tasks, which can be resource-intensive, have also received some updates – most notably to the JobScheduler class. This gives you the ability to schedule hard-working tasks when certain conditions are met on the device, like battery level and network state. To read more about background optimizations, check out the guide here.
If you’re a developer that utilizes 3D graphics, be sure to check out the Vulkan integration in Android N. Likewise, the existing TextureView class has been replaced with a performance-optimized SurfaceView class.
There have also been updates to WebViews, improvements to app performance via a just-in-time compiler, and the ability to add your own tiles to the quick settings menu. And who could forget about the most important new feature in Nougat? New emojis! Woo!
To see all the changes and features in Android N, check out the official Android site here. What do you think of the latest Android Nougat features?