As we see with every Google I/O over the last 10 years, one of the biggest draws has been Android, and this year has been no exception. Android N was launched earlier this year in a Developer Preview, which recently became known as a sort of Alpha version of Android. Today, Google is introducing their latest Developer Preview, which they consider to be a Beta level sort of version which can be used on your own personal phone with little to no hassle. One of the bigger announcements during I/O this year for Android is that the age old OTA system that devices have been updated with since the first releases of Donut is being changed, for the better.
On stage, David Burke from the Android division outlined the new change that will start with Android N, which was simply called “Seamless Updates” on the featured slides. This works just as it does with Chromebooks, which receive a new system image in the form of an update once every few weeks or every month or so, and then the next time they are restarted or turned off and then back on, they become updated. Now, Android N is getting the same sort of treatment. This means that devices running Android N – when it launches later this summer – will download a new system image as an update in the background and then when you reboot it will simply update. This of course will only work on devices that aren’t rooted or have a custom recovery, but it’s a big step forward nonetheless.
Elsewhere, Google is doing away with the need to use a fingerprint or PIN when your device has been rebooted thanks to the introduction of file based encryption. Users will no longer be subject to the horrid “Android is updating” screen either, because of changes made to the JIT compiler underneath Android’s hood. While there’s no telling if this feature will be available on devices other than the Nexus line of smartphones, we should know more later in the year when Android N starts to hit devices from the likes of Samsung, LG, HTC et al.