Chances are, you haven't even been bumped up to Android 6.0 Marshmallow yet, but that hasn't stopped techie tongues from wagging all over the shop about Android 7.0. It's early days yet, but a number of not-ridiculous-sounding rumours about Google's next mobile operating system have already made the headlines, and we've gathered them all in one place. Here's all of the Android N news and rumours we've found so far.
What’s Android N Going to be Called?
This is the bit that people seem to get most excited about. Features and functionality are way down the page, right where they belong. Its all about that sweet-toothed guessing game. Google’s famous practice of going through the alphabet and naming its Android operating systems after sugary treats invites speculation. We already know the next version of Android will start with the letter ‘N’.
The top candidates right now are Nougat, Nectar and Neopolitan (really?), though the brand names Nutella and Nerds have also been touted - not unprecedented after Kit-Kat. However, we’re desperately hoping that Google decides to have a little fun and throw us a curveball with one of the following: Noghl, Nonpareils, Nanaimo, Natillas, Neenish tart, Norman tart, Nonnevot, Namkhaeng sai, Nǎiyóu sū bǐng, Nunt, Nut roll or Nun's farts (thanks Wikipedia). Spoilt for choice.
When is an Android N Release Date Expected?
Ahh, technology calendar. Always so predictable. The next version of Android will almost certainly drop at Google I/O 2016, which will almost certainly take place at the beginning of June. While Google will show off a number of Android N's headline features there, only the Developer Preview of the software will be made available at the time. Hell, we still won’t have an official name at that point. That'll be revealed during one of the summer following months.
October is when we're most likely to see Android 7.0 land, though a September release isn't off the table. It'll come pre-installed on whichever new Nexus-branded devices Google decides to launch ahead of Halloween, and will slowly be fed to older Nexus phones and tablets, before arriving on the various other flagships around the turn of the year.
Android N Devices
Google appears to have developed a taste for Huawei. Following the creation and release of the Nexus 6P, it looks like the two companies are collaborating once more for the latest in the Nexus 7 line. The rumoured tablet will pick up where the Nexus 7 (2013) left off, with a 7-inch display, buttons and some physical stuff to hold it in place.
If sceptics are to be believed, Huawei reckons the Nexus 7 could improve its standing in western markets, while Google could gain some ground with the Play Store in China. We couldn't possibly comment though.
Android N Features
Here's where it really gets tasty. In a Reddit AMA, Android and Chrome UX director Glen Murphy confirmed that Google's working on ways to make Android a more work-friendly platform. Simply put, they want to make it easier for users to multi-task. Hurrah! Android phone and tablet manufacturers, such as Samsung, have been offering multi-tasking features for a long time, but Android N could be the first version of the OS to offer it as standard.
"There are many things, like multi-window, that we’ve been spending a lot of time on — hopefully we can share more about this soon," he teased. "We’re working on lots of things right now for N that, of course, we wish we had, you know, yesterday… But we’d spoil the surprise of N if we shared all of them. Split screen is in the works!” Murphy also says that Google is keen to make the Android tablet app line-up stronger.
It's also likely that the next version of Android will include a dusting of Chrome OS features. Google's been working on forcing the two to go hand-in-hand for a couple of years, and it may have finally found a good balance. Though key details are sparse, it sounds increasingly like Google will modify Android so it offers better support for peripherals and bigger displays.