N, as in: so early, it’s Not Named yet ;)

Hiroshi Lockheimer
Google Developers
Published in
3 min readMar 9, 2016


Ten years ago, mobile development was tough: the industry was quite nascent and the desktop was still the center of computing. With a host of mobile platforms, we had a closet full of more than 200 phones: J2ME, Symbian S60 and UIQ variants, Windows Mobile… each SDK and toolset completely different such that we were building our apps pretty much device by device.

That’s why Android made so much sense: a belief that aligning around a common, open-source platform would drive innovation across the mobile industry. Android was built by developers for developers, and was created out of the wild idea that we could minimize some of the biggest pain points for building for mobile, while enhancing choice for consumers.

When Android first launched, there was only one device: the HTC G1. That meant one device maker, one chipmaker and one carrier.

Fast forward to today, with 400 OEMs, 500 carriers and millions of developers coming together to create experiences for over 1.4 billion Android users around the world. That growth has meant we’ve expanded the ways we’ve worked together with the mosaic of partners building for Android, from the launch of the first Android device with just three partners to last year’s developer preview of Marshmallow, when millions of developers took part.

As we look to the next release of Android, N, you’ll notice a few big changes aimed at you as developers: it’s earlier than ever, it’s easier to try and we’re expanding the ways for you to give us feedback. We want to hear from you and iterate on the platform with you — that’s what makes Android stronger.

The earliest preview yet.

Last year, we took a hard look at our 2016 plans, with an eye towards building a timeline that gives everyone the opportunity to make the next release of Android stronger. By releasing the first preview and asking for your feedback now (in March!), we’ll be able to act on that feedback while still being able to hand off the final N release to device makers this summer, so they can get their hands on the latest version of Android earlier than ever. Plus, you’ll be able to use this additional time to support all of the new goodies in N in your apps.

An easier way to try the preview.

We’re also making it even easier to get your hands on this latest version of Android, through a new program called the Android Beta Program. Starting today, you can update your Android device [Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, General Mobile 4G (Android One), Nexus Player, Nexus 9, and Pixel C devices] to the developer preview of N via an OTA by visiting g.co/androidbeta. We’ll deliver the latest previews right to your phone! (You can read more about the APIs and features in this preview here, and can also download this preview here).

Android has always been a platform designed for everyone, built on choice and made stronger by the voices of billions of people around the world. By making it easier for you to try out the developer previews, and giving all of us more time to tweak and iterate, we hope to create a stronger platform that’s fine tuned for you and the billions of people that use Android everyday.

So, the burning question that’s on everyone’s mind: what will the N release be named? We’re nut tellin’ you yet.