Google launches second Android N Preview complete with new Vulkan 3D rendering API

Google launches second Android N Preview complete with new Vulkan 3D rendering API
After unveiling a first preview of Android N a few weeks ago, earlier today Google unveiled the second preview for its upcoming mobile OS version. Included in this second Android N Preview are a range of bug fixes, as well as a several new - and very interesting - features.

Right off the bat, we'd like to note that the second Android N preview fixes several known bugs discovered in the first version, such as problems with connecting to hidden Wi-Fi networks as well as issues with the Multiwindow system. Speaking of the new Multiwindow feature, the second Android N preview also brings an API change that allows developers to set maximum and minimum heights and widths for their apps.

The most interesting addition that Google's second Android N preview brings to the table is the new Vulkan 3D rendering API, one that allows 3D app developers to access the GPU directly. Google says that the Vulkan API will bring a notable boost in performance for graphics-heavy apps. The blog post that announced the new Android N preview mentions that, in some cases, performance in synthetic benchmarks can increase up to tenfold when using the Vulkan API compared to OpenGL ES, the standard solution.

Another notable addition are the new Launcher shortcuts. Using a new API, app developers can now expose quick action shortcuts to the launcher. Google says that launchers can be expected to show between 3 and 5 shortcuts for an app. As for shortcut examples, IM apps are expected to expose shortcuts for messaging most frequently used contacts while mapping apps are expected to expose "navigate to home" shortcuts.

The new Android N preview also boasts several new people emoji. As you can see for yourself in the image below, these are nothing to write home about. 

The new Android N preview is now available for Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, and Pixel C devices. The preview can also be downloaded on General Mobile 4G Android One devices. The update will also be made available for the Nexus player in the following days.

What do you guys think of the new Android N preview? Are you excited about the new Vulkan API?

source: Google



2. vuyonc

Posts: 1091; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

Really, really hoping Vulkan games are done properly on Android. Vulkan hasn't got any love on PC, initial PC benchmarks have been poorly optimised (losing to DX11 even) and DX12 implementation has been messy overall.

4. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

This is normal for a new API, for an example look at DX9 at release and now, the difference is, well, mindblowing. It will take a bit of time before people get to know vulkan and iron out the possible issues with how you need to optimize and such, but adopting it early means people 'can' do that, so it isn't that PC hasn't given Vulkan any love, it is fully supported currently last I checked, the 'problem' is developers haven't had time to figure out how to make use of it properly.

20. vincelongman

Posts: 5806; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

This. Vulkan is about a year younger than DX12 It's going to take time for AMD/NVIDIA to bring their Vulkan drivers on par with their other drivers BTW here some early benchmarks, NVIDIA's Linux driver actually shows a huge improvement compared to DX11 Most game engines are designed for DX11/OpenGL 4.5, and have only added support of Vulkan We are waiting for them to be redesigned for DX12/Vulkan

3. johanbiff

Posts: 415; Member since: Mar 31, 2015

guess s7 users can benifit from this since it is built in? not so in the this so if someone can explain it to me I would really appriciate it :)

5. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Vulkan isn't build into Android M which the S7 devices come with, but they will most definitely be getting the Android N upgrades when they are ready. Version naming is not any devs strong suit though, for help. Go there and try to understand why what names were chosen, I can't.

14. tedkord

Posts: 17509; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

My understanding is the S7 TouchWiz Marshmallow version does contain and support the Vulkan API.

21. vincelongman

Posts: 5806; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

My understanding is Vulkan only requires new drivers That's why Windows 10 and Marshmallow skins can support it, the OEM just needs to include the driver Stock Android Marshmallow on the Android Player can support Vulkan, you just need to flash the beta PowerVR drivers

23. Pitrich

Posts: 239; Member since: Apr 13, 2016

Hey man, I know alot about phones, basic how to root, a geek but I couldn't build an app or anything. How did you get your knowledge about the different programming and coding. School? Self taught? Jw

27. FluffyBled unregistered

Learn yourself a programming language or 2, and then it's best to get a book explaining the lifecycle of an activity and the API of the OS you're interested on, that's all!

10. vuyonc

Posts: 1091; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

Samsung just spun it to make it sound like that. Everyone is getting Vulkan with Android N.

11. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Hrm, you are right, seems they have adopted it separately? but android officially only gets support at Android N, so yeah my mistake, a thing I must have missed.

8. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Until Google rewrites Android for direct hardware access as iOS and Windows has with Direct X, any API that runs within a VM is still not going to offer equal quality. To me, Vulcan is just a fail attempt to mimic the real thing. It would be cool if Microsoft was an Android OEM and they wrote a Direct X API for Android that would give direct hardware access. Microsoft own Virtualize platform, VMWare as well both have API's that even when using a VM tap the direct hardware capabilities of the CPU and GPU. If Android had this and we do benchmarks, those scores would be 4 times higher than an iOS device consider that Android has 4 times the CPU power, double the RAM which means you can load apps in more memory space which means you can add more graphics to games and apps with it causing performance issues...just like on a PC. Come on Google, you have the money. Hire someone to figure out how to make this happen.

9. Ordinary

Posts: 2454; Member since: Apr 23, 2015

ART already does it and scores wont be 4 times higher.

22. vincelongman

Posts: 5806; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

BTW Vulkan does allow direct access to the hardware In fact, AMD first made Mantle a few years ago Then Apple made Metal and Microsoft made DX12 AMD donated Mantle to Khronos, who developed it into Vulkan Also Metal still uses the OpenGL binding model, doesn't support tessellation and geometric shaders So actually, Metal was aa rushed attempt to mimic the real thing But luckily for Apple, rushing Metal out early and being the target platform for mobile games, meant that Metal didn't fail

13. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

As Ordinary already has said, this has already been done in Android N. But yeah it won't be a solid number because it also depends on how the benchmarks and games have used Vulkan right., so yeah.

15. jove39

Posts: 2149; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

Vulkan will only improve fps in single digits. Draw call rates would improve significantly (2x may be) but fps gains wont be as high. Here is example not of vulkan but apple's metal api similar to vulkan & dx12. For iPad air 2 - GFXBench 3.0 Manhattan (off screen) - 41(metal), 37.8(open gl). GFXBench 3.0 T_Rex HD - 78(metal), 70.3(open gl). Source:

16. Well-Manicured-Man

Posts: 726; Member since: Jun 16, 2015

First time that you write a comment with a reasonable length to which I can agree. +1

17. jove39

Posts: 2149; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

I am really holding my self from buying N6P (2015)...just to try Android N.

18. cripton805

Posts: 1485; Member since: Mar 18, 2012

I'm loving my Nexus 6 on Marshmallow. It's so smooth and stable... :) It does everything very quickly. I don't feel the need to upgrade in a while.

19. djkhalid

Posts: 156; Member since: Jul 01, 2013

app icons got smaller now :/

26. Shocky unregistered

It's going to take time for this be adopted by developers, not much advantage having this now. I'd go as far as to say there is no advantage to having this right now.

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