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With the release of Developer Preview 4, Android N draws nearer

android n developer preview
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

We’re one step closer to the final release of Android’s latest version: Google is rolling out the fourth developer preview of Android N.

There will be five developer previews in total, with the previous one arriving on May 18, the first day of Google’s developer conference. The search giant changed things up this year when it released the first developer preview for Android N in March, much earlier than usual. The hope is that the final version of N will roll out to carriers and manufacturers in the summer, allowing for more devices to be updated when Google officially launches Android N.

Related: Google executive teases Android N’s possible name in a not-so-subtle way

You need to enroll in the Android Beta Program to be able to get the preview on compatible devices, like Google’s Nexus line. If you’re impatient, you can also download the factory images right now. The update is still rolling out, and we’ll revise our hands-on post when we’ve tried it out.

In the meantime, let’s take a look at what’s new based on the post on the Android developer website.

What’s new in Developer Preview 4

There’s not a lot of exciting changes in developer preview 4 — mostly improvements to how the overall operating system runs and app updates.

Interestingly, the final Application Program Interfaces (APIs) have been included in preview 4 — that means developers can begin compiling their apps and publish them in the Google Play Store, making them ready and compatible with the final version of Android N.

Related: Google wants you to help it build more accurate Maps

Launcher Shortcuts, a 3D Touch-like feature, was pulled in the last version of the preview — Google said it wasn’t ready yet, but it would make its way into another release. It looks like we may have to wait until Android O, however, because the Launcher Shortcuts APIs have been completely removed from preview 4.

Reports indicate that the Demo Mode for Android N has the clock resting at 7:00 — it’s usually an indicator of the version number, meaning Android N will likely make the jump from Android 6.0.1 to Android 7.0.

Of course, it’s still a developer preview, so you may encounter some bugs. We recommend backing up your phone before downloading the new preview, and if you want to check out the full list of improvements, bug fixes, and known issues, take a look here.