Google has released an early preview of its forthcoming Android N mobile operating system to give developers a chance to update and create apps, as the tech giant switches Java APIs following its legal loss against Oracle last year.
Google decided to give up its five-year long fight against Oracle over the software company's copyrighted Java APIs this January.
It said it would instead go with the open source OpenJDK for Android N, which is expected to be given the version number 7 by Google and possibly nicknamed Nutella.
The company's vice-president of engineering, Hiroshi Lockheimer, said Google wanted feedback on Android N before releasing the final version of the mobile operating system to its original equipment manufacturing partners this coming May.
Under the hood, Android N promises improved battery life, integration with the Chrome OS operating system, secure 'direct boot' with encrypted storage for both credentials and the device, 'data saver' to restrict cellular data usage, and restrictions on background process broadcasts.
A new set of icons and redesigned settings pages with a more square and flat look will also be introduced in the next version of Android.
Borrowing from Apple's iOS and Microsoft Windows, Android N will support split screen windows for easier multi-tasking. Picture in picture (PiP) is also coming, along with quick replies, and new bundled notifications.
Google may also squeeze the Rich Communications Services (RCS) messaging replacement for the ancient SMS system into Android N. The company bought RCS specialist Jibe in September last year, and said it is commited to the next-gen carrier messaging system.
The Nexus 6, 5X, 6P, Player, 9, and Pixel C devices from Google can be updated over the air, and there are also preview image files available.
Developers can also trial Android N and test their code for the new operating system in an updated version of the Android Emulator, also released today.