Google releases early developer preview for Android N

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Google is bringing split-screen modes, direct reply notifications and efficiency improvements to the forthcoming N version of its Android operating system.

The company has released its Android N developer preview to those with Nexus devices or the official Android emulator.

In a blog post yesterday, it identified some of the forthcoming features of the OS. Multi-window allows a user to launch a split screen mode, switching the screens if the device moves from portrait to landscape. Apple already offers split screen multitasking in its iOS.

Other features include direct reply notifications, allowing users to response to messages in the notification screen, and bundled notifications.

Google has also updated its Doze feature from the Marshmallow version of its OS, which reduced battery consumption when a device was stationary. With N, the device goes into a power saving mode when the screen turns off.

Google said it is also working on reducing the memory requirements of Android so N can run across a wider range of devices.

Typically, the developer preview is launched at Google's annual I/O conference, which is due to take place in May.

Dave Burke, VP of Engineering, said: "By releasing a “work in progress” build earlier in development, we have more time to incorporate developer feedback. Also, the earlier preview allows us to hand off the final N release to device makers this summer, so they can get their hands on the latest version of Android earlier than ever. We’re looking forward to getting your feedback as you get your apps ready for N."