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The next version of Android is in beta, and Android experts and fans alike -- those with Nexus devices -- can test it out before its official launch.
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Android N features some updates to Android for Work and Doze, a set of capabilities that put a smartphone or tablet to sleep when it's not in use, which will appeal to enterprise users, expert Jack Wallen said. But none of the changes in Android N beta are set in stone, so until Google officially releases the new operating system, possibly this summer or fall, "a lot of this is just speculation," he said.
Here, Wallen, an author and freelance writer covering Android, Linux and mobility, discusses Android N and what enterprise users can expect from the next OS.
How have Android N features evolved since the most recent OS, Marshmallow?
Jack Wallen: Migrating from Marshmallow to N, one of the best features was Doze. It's amazing what it did with battery saving. The biggest change is the two-tiered system, so now the first tier of Doze will kick in when the screen has been off for a while. It's not going to be as deep in hibernation as when the phone is immobile.
[Google is] going to change the settings menu in Android N; you'll see details of each section in the basic settings menu.
[App optimization] is going to significantly decrease boot time. Right now what happens is all of the apps are optimized at first boot. Instead of that, it will wait until you launch them.
Which Android for Work features are being expanded or improved upon?
Wallen: This feature is not isolated to Android for Work, but you can create profiles on Android now. So you could effectively create a profile for one user, and only make certain apps available for that user.
Now, all Android devices are required to be encrypted; even the consumer version is enjoying the same security. IT has the ability to manage [encryption] from a single dashboard.
Android for Work is out; so how do existing mobile virtual vendors differentiate? Graphite Software explains in this video.
The single most important thing any company has to focus on is security. Android for Work does a great job getting users to separate personal and business accounts.
Which other Android N features will appeal to enterprise users?
Wallen: The free-form window mode will be nice for business users. It will make Android as a whole more productive. On one of the original iterations of multi-window mode, on the Samsung Note, you could open multiple windows but were limited to the top or bottom [of the] screen; you could only resize horizontally. But even on a smartphone, business users will be able to multitask much more on Android N.
Any speculation on what the 'N' stands for?
Wallen: I don't think they could name it Nutella; that's patented. But it's rumored to be 'nougat' or 'nonpareil.'
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