It’s very initial days for Android N, but with the first release of the Developer Preview we are instantly observing big variations on the horizon. The first and most evident is the fresh notification shade design, which makes huge modifications to both individual notifications and the quick toggles that we’ve all been so fond of in Marshmallow.

Knowing that what we see here is very likely to alter all over the procedure of the Developer Preview being updated, and that what we see here is currently only applicable to Nexus devices, so now let’s see how notifications are changing with the next version of Android.

Notifications

So at first are the notifications themselves. The basic system is quite alike to that of Marshmallow, but a great handful of graphical alterations augment up to quite a diverse experience. Visually, the notifications now cover up full width of the screen, & are also separated by a slimmer line instead of a broad gap — the observed depth of the cards is vividly diminished with these two changes.

Now, the app icons associated with notifications are much reduced, but are separated with name and bangs of color for the app icon to show up from the white, grey and black of the rest of the notification.

However notification bundling was previously incorporated into former Android versions, what we have now turns the handle up to 11: notifications can be bundled up closely with lots of information, and when stretched can be stretched another time to view individual pieces of data and act on them. As this is a head release of the Developer Preview we only have Google’s own apps to go off of here, but Gmail is a good instance of this right now — collecting together several messages into just one notification, then allowing you stretch and act on each.

Obviously we still have the capacity to stretch an individual notification to act on it, whether that’s replying to a message or sharing an image, and those buttons now draw in some of that visual separation with color you see elsewhere in the notification. Google is hopeful of having even more apps to use a new API for replying directly from notifications, as we’ve used it in some apps like Hangouts.

Notifications can be stretched and contracted with the standard two-finger swipe motion, like before, but also small expand and contract buttons are there to the right of the notification subject line, so that you can catch up them fast with a single tap.

One concluding standout feature is a innovative selection for handling how notifications are carried to the notification shade. In Marshmallow you are able to make a long press on the notification for bringing up a notification settings menu to block an app altogether, but now there are 3 options as follows. In place of a long press we can now swipe a slight (as opposite to a full swipe to dismiss) for bringing up a settings icon, that when tapped uncovers a new menu right in the notification.

We now have the option to set each notification, by app, to come in normally, come in silently or not come in at all. The standard notification we’re all used to, would be,” Do not silence or block” where your handset can make noise and vibrate as it reaches. “Silently” is how Google Now shells some low-priority notifications today: it will still smash your notification shade, but you will see it only when stretching your notifications and you would not get notified with vibration or sound. “Block” works just the way we think.

Further settings can also be tapped, which in some ways are duplicative. The only other choice here is to mark the app to override your Priority mode; it means you can let it alert you at any time, even when you have sound else turned off on your device.

While this notification system is only working this way currently on the Android N Developer Preview for Nexus devices and isn’t finished yet, it’s an enjoyable set of functional and visual modifications that have us thrilled for developers to take in and use. Altogether, they get a nice enhancement in the manner notifications work.

Notification quick toggles

The first change to notice in the notification shade is that right at the top of the notification shade; you have access to your top five quick toggles with just one swipe, instead of having all toggles secreted behind a second swipe. Those toggles function with a single tap initiating the toggle and a long press making your way to the appropriate settings area where appropriate, just as you’re used to.

A further swipe down on the bar discloses the full set of toggles, as in Marshmallow, but now you can reveal a second page of quick toggles as you swipe left, if you so wish. So now how do you get that many toggles? Now Android N Developer Preview has the decision to fully customize the quick toggles.

Stretching the quick toggles shade and selecting “edit” takes you to a new interface for choosing and rearranging which quick toggles you want displayed. Long press any toggle and drag it around to rearrange, hide or show it from the view. You can have any from 0 to 9 toggles accessible in the shade, and if you add more than 9 toggles, the additional toggles will show up on the 2nd page.

With the first 5 (looking left -> right, top -> bottom) showing in the non-expanded view, you can rearrange it in any way.

The changes in the Android N Developer Preview to the way the quick toggles function are pretty much like what Android supporters have been requesting for since Android has been around. This is also one of the parts where Android makers have questionably done a well job than Google itself — now the playing field is a little closer.

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