Sony has now followed Google’s example in making the Android N Developer Preview available on one of its handsets, specifically the Xperia Z3. Google already made the update available for the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Pixel C and Nexus Player, but now the Xperia Z3 is also getting in on the action.
Google I/O has kicked off as of May 18, issuing a couple of developer preview versions earlier this year and now releasing a “beta-quality” build that it says is ready for regular use. Sony Xperia Z3 users can now update their Android OS to Android N developer preview with this guide.[irp]
Xperia Z3 units designated as D6603 or D6653 models can now gain quick and easy access to all the in-development features, including split-screen applications, advanced Doze battery saving capabilities, and an enhanced interface. You can check the model number by going to Settings>About Phone, although to be brutally honest if you didn’t at least know that already you probably shouldn’t be flashing your smartphone and installing an incomplete developer preview! This is all at your own risk, as usual!
What’s new in Android N Developer Preview?
Android N introduces several great new features for developers, with more to be added as Google continue to develop the Android N release. Here are some highlights:[irp]
Multi-window – This new multitasking feature lets users view two apps or Activities at the same time, with the system resizing them as needed to fit the device or tablet screen. All apps targeting Android N are sizeable unless they opt-out, so make sure your layouts and resources are optimized.
Bundled notifications – You can use the Notification.Builder.setGroup() method to group your app’s notifications together for easier scanning.
Direct reply notifications – Use the Remote Input notification API to enable users to respond quickly to notifications, without leaving the notification shade.
Efficiency – Adapt your apps to use Doze to save even more power in Android N. There are also new behaviors in Project Svelte, aiming to reduce the memory needs of Android.
How to Flash Developer Preview into Sony Xperia Z3
Bear in mind this will be Google’s vanilla flavour of Android so the Xperia launcher interface will disappear (not that this is a bad thing, in our view). Here’s the word straight from Sony on how to install the update:
- Connect your compatible Z3 device to a computer with a USB cable.
- Xperia Companion will open automatically
- Make sure you have Xperia Companion version 1.1.24 or later. If not, download the latest version from here.
- Hold down the ALT key on your computer and click on Software repair on the home screen, then follow the guide.
- You’ll be asked to disconnect and turn off your device, then to reconnect whilst holding down the volume down key to start the software flashing.
- You can return to factory settings at any time by connecting back to Xperia Companion and following the Software repair
As for a public release date, expect to be downloading it for certain phones come October. There’s a few reasons for this. First, Marshmallow appeared during the same time-frame last fall. Second, an OS update spurs sales of new devices—important for the holiday shopping season. Third, Apple will be releasing iOS 10 around the same time (probably in September), which will mean Android devices will need some new features to tout.