Google has unveiled the latest updates to its next version of Android — the tentatively titled Android N. The newest iteration of the world’s most popular operating system gets improved security, performance, notifications, and most interesting of all, virtual reality.
That platform, called Daydream, will rely on your smartphone to transport you to a different world. Google already has a design for a virtual-reality headset, and it said a number of app makers and game developers have been working on their own reality offerings for Daydream — including Netflix, Hulu, HBO, The New York Times, Electronic Arts and Ubisoft. Naturally, Daydream will work with Google Play Movies and YouTube, as well as Google Photos.
Beyond that, much of what was shown off was previously revealed as part of Google’s Android N developer preview that was available for download in March.
That includes features like Android N’s new performance updates and improvements to the software’s Notifications (which now let you reply to messages from the Notifications shade and silence notifications).
Google also gave us a stage demo of Android N’s new multitasking feature, which allows you to view apps in split-screen mode on your phone or tablet and to use picture-in-picture mode for Android TV.
Performance improvements include app installs that are 75% faster than before, which means you’ll be able to get apps downloaded and work more quickly than before.
Google is also pumping Android N’s graphics improvements for mobile gaming. A stage demo of “Need for Speed,” for example, offered impressive reflections and lighting effects.
Interestingly, a handful of Android N's updates seem to have been pulled directly from other companies’ own Android customizations.
For example, Samsung already lets you answer messages from your phone’s Notifications shade. And split-screen mode has been available on phones from Samsung and LG for years.
Android N will be available for download later this year.