Google Finalizes Android N APIs and SDK

Google today began distributing the Android N Final SDK. Google says developer feedback helped it wrap up the new APIs included in Android N, which are now available via the latest SDK. Joining the final SDK and APIs is Android N Developer Preview 4. Developers now have all they need to put together their Android N apps. 

"The final SDK for Android N ... gives you everything you need to develop and test against the official APIs in the Android N platform," explained Google. "Once you’ve installed the final SDK, you can update your projects to API level 24 to develop with the Android N APIs and build and test on the new platform, for new features such as Multi-window support, direct-reply notifications, and others."

Developers will need to download the final SDK via the SDK Manager in Android Studio. The Android Support Library has been updated, too, to version 24.0.0. Google says this is what will allow developers to access the picture-in-picture callbacks, new notification features, and multi-window. It includes methods for supporting Direct Boot and the new MediaBrowser APIs, which are backward compatible. 

Google says the final set of APIs should allow developers to publish updates compiling with and targeting API Level 24 to the Play Store. This includes alpha, beta, and also production channel apps. Google recommends developers make use of the Google Play beta testing feature in order to get feedback from end users before going full Android N. 

What's new and different in Android N Developer Preview 4? Previous previews forced apps to activate with all its locale resources loaded before the locale negotiation begins. Moving forward, the system negotiates resource locales individually for each resource object before the app activates. The refreshed preview removes the Launcher Shortcut APIs and also changes BLE scanning behavior to prevent apps from starting and stopping scans too frequently. Last, the multi-window android:minimalHeight and android:minimalWidth attributes have been renamed to android:minHeight and android:minWidth. Google says a few things remain broken. For example, the app launcher is somewhat unstable, media playback can be unreliable (esp. on the Nexus 9), and apps run from storage cards may crash. Another issue impacting devices running Play Services 9.0.83 can cause the APKs to report incorrect screen size and resolution, and Play Services 9.0.83 may have trouble reporting the correct version of Vulkan. 

Android N has an exciting batch of new APIs, including several for Google Sheets and Slides, and another for Android Pay, making it easier to add to websites. Perhaps the coolest API in Android N is the Awareness API, which allows apps to add contextually relevant information. 

The Android N Developer Preview 4 should automatically appear to devices enrolled in the developer program and beta program. In case it doesn't Google has posted the device images here. Android N is compatible with the Sony Xperia Z3,  Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, and Nexus 6P smartphones, the Nexus 9 tablet, and the Pixel C. 
 

Eric Zeman I am a journalist who covers the mobile telecommunications industry. I freelance for ProgrammableWeb and other online properties.
 

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