Good news to Android fans: Google has unexpectedly rolled out the developer preview of the next version of its mobile operating system, billed Android N.

Previously, people expected that the Mountain View-based company would begin talking about Android N on its I/O developer conference this coming May. However, Google decided to surprise fans in pushing out this "work-in progress" of Android N in a bid to collect developers' feedback, which is essential toward building the Android N's final version.

"By releasing the first preview and asking for your feedback now (in March!), we'll be able to act on that feedback while still being able to hand off the final N release to device makers this summer, so they can get their hands on the latest version of Android earlier than ever," says Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google's Senior Vice President for Android, Chrome OS and Chromecast. 

Let's take a closer look at the new top features of Android N.

Split-Screen Mode

The upcoming version of Google's mobile OS will soon pack in an interesting, new functionality – the ability to show more than one app at the same time.

Two apps will soon run on mobile devices "one-above-the-other" or "side-by-side" in split-screen mode.

Users of TV devices, in the meantime, will soon view apps in a "picture-in-picture" mode so owners, for instance, can continue streaming a video while using another app.

For developers, the N Preview SDK will enable them to set how their apps are going to handle multi-window display.

Bundle Of Notifications

Another good addition for the next Android OS is the feature to bundle notifications. With the Android N, developers are now able to group their app notifications together.

Through this new functionality, users will soon see a bundle of notifications from a particular app so the notification menu isn't a mess of various alerts. They will only need to hit the bundle to expand each of the notifications and perform different actions on each of them.

Better Battery Life

The power-saving Doze mode is beefed up in the Android N. Doze used to function only if the phone wasn't being moved. Google has now enhanced the system in an aim to save battery "whenever the screen turns off." This implies that Android devices will soon even have longer-lasting batteries than the older version of Doze offers.

Respond Through Notification Shade

Google will soon allow Android users to reply to notifications through the notification shade without having to visit the app. Google says Android N extends the existing RemoteInput notification API to support inline replies.

Thanks to Android N preview's early rollout, app developers can now add memory- and power-saving support, multi-window user interface and new notification features to their apps, as well as test them on Nexus devices. We hope to learn more about the Android N at the upcoming I/O developer conference.

If you wish to know more details about Android N's features, head on to the Android N Developer Preview page.

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