May 18th, 2016

Google touched a bit more on Android N at their big developer event today. While most of their presentation was a big recap of many of the Android N features we’ve already been enjoying in developer previews there are a couple of big new things coming as part of today’s Dev Preview 3 release.

By the way, that update is currently making its way to your Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, Pixel C, and Nexus Player devices. It’s also worth noting that Google considers this a beta quality update while they downgraded Android N Preview 2 to alpha. This should mean that they consider Dev Preview 3 to be stable enough to be your daily driver going forward.

Android N Dev Preview 3 Features

The biggest is VR mode, a new mode within Android that will manage CPU and GPU usage while you’re using Google Cardboard or other VR platforms and apps. This makes it so that other apps on your phone can’t eat up all the power you need to make for a low-latency VR experience. Google says this brings 100ms of latency on the Nexus 6P during Cardboard usage down to 20ms, which is a really significant difference.

The other new addition is a seamless update process that can download OTA updates in the background when they’re available. Instead of going through a series of menu clicks in the Settings menu, Google will simply apply the update the next time you reboot your phone. You’ll be on the latest software, and you might not even know it unless you’re paying close attention.

This particular feature is little more than a convenience thing — it’s a near-guaranteed process for getting people upgraded to the latest firmware even if they don’t know there’s an update available. Google says this technique on ChromeOS resulted in a 99% update installation rate, which is astronomical.

You’d be surprised how many people don’t know that their phones ever need updates, and even some who do know are hesitant to go through the process. Android N is going to melt those concerns away because Google will practically do it for you. Grab the update and let us now how you’re liking it.