The day has finally come! After 5 months of rigorous testing where it has been available to the public and developers as a preview, Android 7.0 Nougat is upon us.
This first batch of excitement is limited to the handful of Nexus device owners and another insignificant number that happened to have bought that General Mobile Android One smartphone we saw unveiled early in the year.
Surprisingly, the Android Nougat announcement is not accompanied by any new Nexus hardware as has been the case in recent years. It is the usual culprits, i.e. previous Nexus smartphones that are getting Android 7.0 first. Probably, as the inclusion of the General Mobile smartphone indicates, the update will make its way to other Android One smartphones. However, until that happens, the update will only be hitting the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Nexus Player and Pixel C over the air (OTA) in the next few hours. As owners of those devices look forward to getting the latest treat from Google, not all Nexus device owners will be smiling. It is the end of the road for an iconic Nexus device, the Nexus 5. At least officially. We all know how strong the Nexus developer community is and as such expect the Nexus 5 to get some Nougat love from other sources.
In Android 7.0, Google is introducing several new features to Android as well as improving on several others. Doze, the feature that detects when an Android device is not in use then powers down apps to save on battery, which arrived at first with Android 6.0, for instance, is getting better. With Doze to Go, the feature will now spring into action even when a device’s sensors indicate that a user is on the move. For the first time ever, Android is officially getting the ability to display two apps side by side in a windowed mode in a feature we’ve come to know as multi-window thanks to the likes of Samsung. There is a new gaming API, Vulkan, with high performance graphics, built-in support for virtual reality devices as Android prepares for the influx of VR-ready devices thanks to Google’s Daydream virtual reality platform. Security enhancements including a new secure boot process (Direct Boot), some new emojis and an updated notification shade are also in tow.
Even though this is the first time that we are seeing Google announce a major Android version without some new accompanying devices to showcase it, we are aware that we will be seeing new Nexus devices before the year ends. Endless leaks and rumours in recent days have pointed to HTC making the next two Nexus smartphones. Even then, they are unlikely to be the first new smartphones to ship with Android 7.0 Nougat. That honour will go to LG’s upcoming V20 smartphone. LG has already confirmed the same and an image on the Android website confirms the company’s claims which were made earlier this month.