Android N was announced last week, and as people dig deeper and take a look at all the other little goodies that Google has put under-the-hood of this latest version of Android, some of the tweaks and additions might surprise you. While multi-window, one of the headlining additions in Android N makes a lot of sense, and other tweaks to the UI and general behavior are fairly straightforward, there are some oddballs here and there. One of those is the fact that Android N will allow users to playback whatever audio the system is currently dealing with – be it music, a YouTube video or one more episode of House of Cards – in Mono.
For those that are unfamiliar with Mono Audio, it’s basically just one stream of audio, instead of having two channels for left and right. You might be wondering why a version of Android in 2016 would be launching with such an oldschool feature, but Google haven’t lost it. Let’s say, for instance, that you’re listening to a pair of in-ear headphones – like the Pinnacle P1 pictured above – and you only want to use one in one ear to hear a conversation or whatever with your other ear. When playing something back in Stereo, you’re only going to hear one channel of anything, which means you’ll totally lose any detail from the right channel. Playing back in Mono however, should even that imbalance out, and make listening with one earphone a little less painful. Not to mention those that have some sort of hearing issue and can hear out of one ear better than the other, or not at all in one of their ears. Playing back in Mono will allow them to hear more from their favorite tracks or videos.
Adding Mono playback to the long laundry list of additions and tweaks to Android N, it appears as though the Google of old is back, the same Internet giant that was willing to let Android become a tinkerer’s paradise right out of the box. This isn’t to say that Lollipop and Marshmallow weren’t customizable or flexible – because they were – but Android N is already shaping up to be even more flexible and malleable than previous versions have been.