In Short

In a surprise move, Google in early March 2016 — ahead of the year's Google I/O conference — released an early developer preview of Android N. This is the next major version of Android following Android 6.x Marshmallow and will see the introduction of features such as native multi-window, direct-reply notifications and bundled notifications, plus improvements to the Doze feature (which extends battery life) and changes to the way Java is used and implemented, including support for Java 8.

Developer preview hardware images were immediately available for the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Nexus 9 and Pixel C.

In addition, Google unveiled the Android Beta Program, which lets developer devices receive over-the-air update of future preview releases — as well as enroll in the N Developer Preview in the first place. So if you don't know how to flash developer images manually, you're not left out in the cold this time around.

On April 13, 2016, a second release of the Android N Developer Preview was made available. The release included some minor updates and bug fixes, but still carries the beta tag — so think twice before trying to make it your daily driver.