Latest Android N preview brings Vulkan API support, more emojis

Google engineers are quietly beavering away on Android N, the latest version of its all-conquering mobile platform.

Last month, the company introduced the first preview for developers, giving us a peek at a host of upcoming features. Now, Google has released its second developer preview, giving us a look at a few more hitherto unannounced features.

First of all, the new preview delivers support for the Vulkan graphics API, which offers a massive boost over the platform’s current APIs. Vulkan also harnesses multiple cores for faster performance.

The second big addition is the inclusion of “launcher shortcuts”, which allows users to post a shortcut of an app’s functions/sections to their homescreen.

Related: Android N: what you need to know about Google’s ‘nutty’ OS

“Android N allows apps to define action-specific shortcuts which can be displayed in the launcher. These launcher shortcuts let your users quickly start common or recommended tasks within your app,” read a description on Google’s developer website.

Examples given by Google include linking to a particular location in a mapping app, loading the last save-point in a videogame and sending messages to a certain friend in an IM app.

Emojis are also seeing some love, as the second preview delivers updated people emojis as well as a few new ones, such as face-palms, bacon and a selfie emoji.

These new features join several that were shown off in the first preview, including multi-window support, a data saver function and direct replying to notifications.



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