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Google Launches Android N Developer Preview 2

April 13, 2016 - Written By Alexander Maxham

After launching the Android Developer Preview last month for Android N, Google is back with the second developer preview which is launching today. The Android N Developer Preview 2 isn’t a huge change over the first preview, and as Google outlines in their blog post today, it is mostly under-the-hood changes. Of course, something that’s new in this developer preview that everyone will love is the support for Emoji Unicode 9. As Google states, they are “introducing a new emoji design for people emoji that moves away from our generic look in favor of a more human-looking design”. Think like WhatsApp and their various different shades of colors for people emoji. That is what we are seeing in this new developer preview. Google warns that developers should start incorporating these emojis into their apps, so that their users are able to have a more streamlined experience once Android N rolls out this fall.

Vulkan is also part of the preview this time around. For those that may not know what Vulkan is, it’s a new 3D rendering API, which is geared at providing explicit, low-overhead GPU control to developers in their apps. Now developers can play around with the Vulkan API in the second developer preview for Android N. Google is also allowing apps to define shortcuts, which users are going to be able to expose in the launcher on their device. This is to help users perform actions even quicker. Launchers can show up to 3 to 5 shortcuts for each app.

Additionally, this preview is giving developers a few API changes, which is part of the process of being in a developer preview. These API changes are here to refine features like multi-window. Google notes that developers are now able to specify a separate minimum height and minimum width for an activity. This is going to be helpful for users, since you are able to adjust the size of these windows in multi-window mode. And as is the case with any update, even a developer preview, there are bug fixes a plenty. Remember if you are running the developer preview, make sure to report these issues through to the public issue tracker. The more bugs that are reported, the more that are squashed before Android N is officially rolled out in the fall.

If you are enrolled in the Android Beta test, you should be seeing the OTA hitting your device shortly. Of course you can also download and flash the updated developer preview as usual. The Developer Preview is available for the Nexus 6, Nexus 9, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel C and the General Mobile 4G Android One handset. It’s also important to note that these updated developer preview builds also feature the April 2016 security patch, which launched just last week.