back to article Google emits Android N developer preview early to smoke out bugs

Developers usually have to wait for the Google I/O conference in May before getting their paws on the latest Android builds, but this year the Chocolate Factory has let its version 7.0, or N, build out of the bag well before the show. "We're doing something a little different this year by releasing the preview early ... really …

  1. Mikel

    It keeps getting more awesome

    Let's bang that "fragmentation" drum once again though, because that never gets old.

    1. jonathan keith

      Re: It keeps getting more awesome

      I expect to see it arrive via OTA update on my Note 4 at the beginning of never.

      1. Planty Bronze badge
        FAIL

        Re: It keeps getting more awesome

        That was YOUR choice. Just like I have the choice to run M or N on my Nexus 5x

        Since when was choice a bad thing? You made yours, I made mine.

    2. Anonymous Bullard

      Re: It keeps getting more awesome

      "fragmentation"

      Yes, why have the burden of choice when someone else can make it for us.

  2. Barry Rueger

    N = "Not For You"

    Yeah. My year and half old Moto phone apparently will never see Marshmallow, much less anything further up the alphabet.

    At this point, given the near complete lack of any sort of updates, I'm assuming it's roughly as secure as my Windows XP box.

    1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

      Re: N = "Not For You"

      Root it, stick on a third party ROM.

      My four year old Motorola phone has an unofficial Cyanongenmod Marshmallow build already..

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: N = "Not For You"

      Sounds like you need to get in touch with Motorola.

      At this point, given the near complete lack of any sort of updates, I'm assuming it's roughly as secure as my Windows XP box.

      Nope, it's certainly not invulnerable but Android definitely is a lot more secure than XP ever was.

    3. Planty Bronze badge
      Stop

      Re: N = "Not For You"

      Then you assumption is totally wrong.

      Google are security patching Android 6 and Android 5.x , vendors are free to backport anything older.

      Your device runs 5.1 so is supported via Motorola for patches.

      Even if it weren't, Android is very secure, when was the last time year heard of anyone getting problems? You browser (and OS WebKit and openSSL) are all serviced via Google play, and you are prevented by default from getting apps from anywhere but Google play safe zone.

      I'm other words, its a million times more secure than Windows XP, and significantly more secure than even windows 7/8/10

  3. PJF

    Goople "N"

    Nev'a Nev'a

    (is that four syllables?)

  4. WonkoTheSane
    Facepalm

    No love for 5 & 7?

    Not happy.

    1. hellwig

      Re: No love for 5 & 7?

      All you have to do is look at the spec differences between the 5 and 5X to see why..... There's an "X" in the latter one.

  5. DryBones
    Coat

    Easy as pie to get on a Nexus. Not bad at all, still bugs to flatten.

    I do wonder how many phones it's going to take before those that like Android stop looking at anything besides a Nexus device. I mean, they've only seen the cycle of no update releases like 5x before...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Those who like Android" is a few percent of the people who buy Android. Most people are buying Samsung or HTC, not Android. Likewise most iPhone buyers buy Apple, not iOS.

      You aren't going to get people to choose a phone just because it makes updating to newer versions easier. At least not unless there's the equivalent of few things like Nimda and I.Love.You hitting large swathes of Android users - and even then you'd probably see Samsung just backporting fixes for serious holes into older versions of Android even if Google won't.

      No one complains about "Windows fragmentation" even though we see regular stats showing how many people are running XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1 and 10 on their PCs. it doesn't matter for securing PCs (well except for those still on XP) since Microsoft continues patching older versions. Maybe Google would have more luck getting OEMs to provide security patches if they produced patches for version 4.4.3 or whatever so it would be very easy for OEMs to integrate the change into their codebase instead of asking them to go all the way to version 6.x to get the fix. Thing is, Google doesn't care, they get money selling ads to those people no matter what version of Android they're running.

    2. Bluto Nash

      I've got a 5, and I'd be all over a 5X (6 is a bit large) if they'd simply put a damn wireless charger loop in it. A coil of wire isn't THAT expensive.

  6. Shane McCarrick

    I wouldn't mind doing some testing with a Pixel C- looks like a lovely piece of kit.

    How does one enroll in the developer programme for a discount on one?

    I haven't bought one- on price grounds- thus far- the 64Gb version is @ 619 Euro in the Google Store (the 32Gb version is a hundred less). While it is a lovely piece of hardware- Google are hardly doing themselves any favours by making it so expensive. I, for one, would be very happy to nab one- at the 150 Euro discount (my old Nexus 7 is getting mighty long in the tooth- to the extent I rely almost exclusively on my HTC One M8 these days).

    Google- you have loyal followers of your hardware and software- give us a dig out for fecks sake.

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge

      "I wouldn't mind doing some testing with a Pixel C- looks like a lovely piece of kit."

      Yes, it looks fine and specs are great too.

      Anandtech had a review of the thing - twice since the first iteration was next to useless due to bugs - and the updated model still boasted many of the same bugs and crashes. I'm sure they'll address the bugs eventually.

  7. crediblywitless

    Nutella?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Nougat more likely.

    2. Tachikoma

      Nadella?

  8. Mips
    Childcatcher

    N Ho Ho wait till they to Z

    After digesting all these sweeties it will obviously be ZITS

  9. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Good move

    Early access for developers should prove a boon for the conference. It also suggests that Google might be starting to open the development process up a bit.

    It's also good PR for Android as it will mean more articles about what's coming next.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Meh

    "Developers can now write apps that open multiple sizable windows on a single phone or tablet screen"

    Pop up windows with adverts and nagware will now become a feature of apps?

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      You can do that already -- just not in somebody else's app.

  11. dotdavid
    WTF?

    Rearranging the deckchairs

    Every new Android version I hope for a saner update mechanism, and every new Android version I'm inevitably disappointed.

    I got briefly hopeful when Android-based things like Android Wear came out with updates direct from Google and I naively thought it was a sign of things to come, but nothing has materialised. Android-on-phones is probably the only Google product I can think of that *doesn't* auto-update by default and that leaves the millions of Android users that don't have Nexii vulnerable. Yes I know Google patches AOSP even on past versions, even if OEMs rarely distribute/use those patches, yes I know there are custom ROMs but both are workarounds not solutions to Android's support problem.

    So no improved security. Still I'm sure cosmetic tweaks to notifications are a very important feature to have too...

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Rearranging the deckchairs

      >Every new Android version I hope for a saner update mechanism,

      Manage your expectations, dotdavid!

      There are some technical reasons that date back to Android 1.0 why Android updates can't be made saner without a bit of an upheaval (think of something akin to OSX moving from PowerPC to Intel). Google have nailed updates with ChromeOS, and it's possible that the two OSs might converge in future.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Rearranging the deckchairs

      Could be much worse. IOS needs a complete OS update to update system apps.

      Google are way slicker than that. Google can push store updates of system apps, and even functional for the OS via play services...

  12. Drefsab_UK

    My just give this a whirl.

    As to those moaning about not getting updates that down to the handset makers. I had this with HTC a perfectly good device the HTC OneX+ (64gb) didnt get kitkat and an important bluetooth stack bug fix.

    Sure I could custom rom it and belive me a I did but even that was not perfect without the binary blobs from HTC.

    My device want even 2 years old and my vendor basically dropped it. So I decided that I wouldn't suffer that again and bought the Nexus 6. If you buy a nexus phone, the nexus line is not designed to be mass market and is orginally aimed at developers.

    As to those on the nexus 5 and 7, you may well see N for your devices but it it is a lot harder to get the newer os running on the now aging hardware so they probably had to set a minimum spec now for this re-release.

  13. Blacklight
    Stop

    :(

    "The Google Store Promotional Codes Terms apply. Offer (one redemption per person) only available in the United States while supplies last."

    Well sheeeeeet.

  14. Tom Chiverton 1 Silver badge

    " For one-off notifications like a text message, Android N will now support a direct, in-window reply option, just like with the Wear operating system"

    Umm. Signal already does this. On Android 4.

    1. Charles 9

      Handcent/Next SMS also supports this, albeit by using the "Draw Over Other Applications" permission.

    2. The Original Steve

      Wow

      " For one-off notifications like a text message, Android N will now support a direct, in-window reply option, just like with the Wear operating system"

      Bloody hell, a feature Windows Phone / Mobile has before Android!

      MS producing a Linux distro and SQL on Linux all in a week... Hell really has frozen over!

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Wow

        Windows Mobile supported Bluetooth Low Energy before Android did, though some Android handsets had the capable hardware at the time.

  15. Oengus
    Thumb Down

    Australia tax...

    Well there is no way I will be getting a Pixel-C to test out this.

    $699 for the 32Gb model here is a 35% markup (after taking into account GST and the exchange rate).

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