With the latest version of iOS 10 on the horizon, Google is also updating its Android operating system with the latest Android N release. This OS has been officially announced by the software giant, and consumer technology fans all over the world will now be rushing to download and install the software.
Yet as the two big producers of mobile operating systems, Apple and Google, continue their fight to outdo one another, it is particularly noticeable that the latest version of Android N borrows some functionality from its big competitor. Quite a few features, as it happens. So here is a rundown of the feature set in Android N that may be somewhat familiar to users of Apple devices.
Split View (iOS 9) Vs. Multi-Window (Android N)
Split View was introduced in iOS 9 back in 2015, and it does seem that Google has rather imitated this feature with the Multi-Window feature. However, one possible defence for Google is that Microsoft in fact introduced this feature integration back in the rather disastrous Windows 8 release.
Apple’s Split View system enables applications to run parallel on the iPad, whereas the new Google Android N Multi-Window system also works with tablet computers. Thus, Google has built on the functionality already offered by iOS, even if users of the Apple operating system will note the plagiarism.
Picture-in-Picture (iOS) Vs. Picture-in-Picture (Android)
Picture-in-Picture was a major feature of iOS 9 last year, with the system enabling iPad users to play videos in a floatable window, which provided new flexibility. Again, this is an excellent Aspect of the iOS armory, but is only available in the range of Apple tablets. Android N delivers a similar system that is only compatible with the Android TV version of the operating system. It is interesting then that this similar feature has device limitations in both of the major operating systems, and this suggests a gap in the market that Apple could address later this year when iOS 10 arrives.
Night Shift (iOS) Vs. Night Mode (Android)
The Night Shift system in iOS was introduced earlier this year when the iOS 9.3 update hit the market. Again, it is arguable how original this particular piece of software was to begin with, as similarities with an excellent third-party app called f.lux are evident. Essentially, this system makes it possible for the color temperature of the display to be changed at various times throughout the day.
Android will provide similar functionality by including an updated Night Mode system in its palette of features. There are a couple of extra color options included in the Google program which perhaps give it a slight edge over the Apple iOS system, but the similarities between the two are also immediately obvious.
Quick Reply (iOS) Vs. Direct Reply (Android)
Apple had introduced the Quick Reply system some time ago now, with this feature first emerging in iOS 8 back in 2014. At that time, the Quick Reply system was only applied to stock Apple applications, with the consumer electronics giant then opening up the system to third-party software with the release of iOS 9 last year. It’s now possible for incoming messages and other media to be replied to directly from the notification with this update, thickening the broth of this particular feature.
Android noticeably offers the exact same functionality as has already been included in the iOS operating system, enabling users to reply directly from the Notification Shade. There is literally no difference between these two systems whatsoever other than the name of the branding, but at least Android users can now benefit from something that iOS has offered for a couple of years.
Notifications: Group By App (iOS) Vs. Bundled Notifications (Android)
Naturally, notifications are of extreme importance in any form of mobile technology. Ultimately, the main reason we carry mobiles around is for convenience, and to gain access to information as quickly as possible when away from home in particular. Thus, both Android N and iOS have been attempting to upgrade the message and notification-related functionality in their OS, which brings us to the Group By App system.
Most software which offers any sort of dynamic nature introduces some sort of notification in order to keep users engaged. iOS currently enables users to optionally group notifications together in order to make the organization of such notifications easier within the Notification Center. This can be accessed in the existing highway system under the Settings > Notifications > Notifications View menu.
And, sure enough, the new bundled notifications feature included in Android N delivers exactly the same functionality as has already been witnessed in iOS 9. Nifty for Android users, possibly a little irritating for Apple!
Nonetheless, when looking at this form of imitation, it should be remembered that on one level it is the sincerest form of flattery, and on another that all major technology companies borrow from one another at an extremely rapid rate. Apple would be skating on rather thin ice to suggest that it had never done anything similar, or that it had never been influenced by the Android operating system. That reality is that naturally the two largest operating system producers in the world borrow feature sets, functionality and software ideas from one another on a regular basis, and Android N will certainly be no exception to this general principle.
Aside from the similarities between iOS and Android N, Google may have released the developer preview of the software, but there is still speculation regarding what its ultimate title will be. Of course, Google will continue the sweet-based theme that was originally Inspired by such Internet staples as cookies, but it has not been officially confirmed what the N in Android N will indeed stand for.
Android Nutella and Android Nougat have been suggested in some quarters, but it seems that we will have to wait a little while longer yet before finding out precisely how this extremely significant software release will be titled.