Google has completed its five month beta program and is officially releasing Android 7.0 Nougat today. The company will begin rolling it out to select Nexus devices, including the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, Nexus Player, the Pixel C tablet, and the General Mobile 4G (Android One phone), as an OTA over the next few weeks. The Nexus 5 and 7 (2013) are not eligible for the update.

The LG V20 will be the first new device to ship with Nougat installed. Manufacturers and carriers have not committed to a specific timeline for rolling out updates for existing devices, however. Samsung’s President of Mobile, Koh Dong-jin, revealed in an interview with The Korea Times that the recently released Galaxy Note7 should receive an update perhaps in the next 2-3 months. HTC stated that the HTC 10, HTC One A9, and HTC One M9 will all be receiving Nougat updates, but did not provide any dates, only stating that timing and any additional eligible devices will be announced later.

We took our first look at some of Nougat’s features when we got our hands on the first developer beta back in March. Since then, Google has continued to refine the OS and add new features. The new Split-Screen mode, which provides a native API for using two apps side by side, should provide a boost for multitasking. This will be more useful for tablets, but phablet phones should benefit too. There’s also many smaller tweaks, such as double-tapping the overview button to switch between the two most recently used apps, that improve usability and productivity.

Nougat also includes the ability for apps to bundle notifications, reducing clutter on the lock screen or in the notification shade. The bundles can be expanded for more detailed information about each specific notification, and you can even reply to notifications directly from the notification shade without launching an app first.

Performance and battery life should also improve with Nougat. The updated JIT compiler claims to improve the runtime performance of apps while also reducing the amount of storage space they require. Android 7.0 also includes official support for the new Vulkan graphics API. Similar to Apple’s Metal, it’s a low-level API that dramatically improves 3D performance by reducing the overhead of draw calls. The changes to Android’s Doze feature, first introduced in Android Marshmallow, promise a small boost to battery life by allowing the phone to go into a lower power state when it’s being carried around with the screen locked.

Android has been plagued with security issues, and while this will remain a topic of concern for the foreseeable future, Nougat does bring some new security enhancements. Perhaps the biggest change is the hardening of Android’s Stagefright mediaserver library—a combination of better code sanitization to eliminate buffer overflows and splitting the library into several sandboxed components with more restricted permissions. Nougat also adds file-based encryption, a more secure boot process, and behind-the-scenes OS updates.

Nougat provides too many improvements to fully cover here, but even the visible and not so visible changes mentioned above should prove to be welcome additions to Android.

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  • Ratman6161 - Tuesday, August 23, 2016 - link

    basroil: Funny you should mention that you have PC's from 2006 running Windows 10. That's significant because that's when dual core CPU's that abandoned the (more or less) failed Pentium 4 architecture came out. The Core 2 Duo E6600 was release in Q3 2006 according to Intel (google ARK E6600) . It was around this time that CPU's on desktop PC's finally reached a point where there were a lot of people who just did not need any more. My own search for speed ended in 2011 with my i7-2600K which is still my primary workstation today (though its memory has increased from 8 GB to 32 and its spinning disks have disappeared in favor of SSD's).

    The point is that the journey that resulted in those 2006 PC's or my 2011 PC began way back in 1981 with the original IBM PC running the 8088 CPU (and there were PC's before that). So it took 25 years for desktop PC's to reach the level of the 2006 machines you are talking about. Keep in mind that the first iPhone didn't come out until a year later in 2007 - only 9 years ago (yup, I know there were smartphones before the iPhone like my ancient Samsung i760 with its Windows Mobile 6 but the iPhone brought about the smartphones we know today).

    My current phone is a Galaxy Note 5 which is the first phone I've had where I've been able to say that the performance is good enough and that unless I significantly change the way I use a phone, Its good enough and will be good enough for a long time. So even with PC's getting a 25 year head start, my Note 5 has already caught up with my PC as far as being "good enough". The phone I had three years ago wasn't. So, if I were still using that phone today i'd probably get a new one even if an update was available.

    So, yes, now it seems updates may be more important than they used to be as I plan to keep the device a lot longer. But the entire model of an open source OS combined with the entire business model of phones in general (other than iPhones - more on that in a moment) means there is little or no incentive to update phones more than about 2 years old. It costs money and there is no return on the investment because Samsung, HTC, and all the others made all the money they were ever going to make on that phone at the time that they sold it to you. This is very different than the PC world (pre-Windows 10) where Microsoft made you pay for three of those version upgrades you made (assuming you got the Windows 10 updgrade free). Would you be willing to pay for an Android Update like most people used to have to do for Windows?

    Even Apple draws a line at the iPhone 5 as the oldest phone that will run iOS 10 and that was released in 2012 so...only four years backwards from today. Apple does have an advantage on the money making front however. Their various stores, services etc let them keep making money on the phone long after the sale which Android makers can't really do. Going back to my point that phones are now good enough, i'm actually wondering if someday Apple will start making mid-range phones and essentially giving them away just to keep people in the iOS ecosystem. got an iPhone 4 that can't be updated? No problem. Bring it to your local Apple store and we will exchange it for a brand new iPhone SE for free...and you just keep paying us for our services and a cut of all purchases you make from the phone.

    In the Android world, we will probably descend into commodity territory. Don't worry about updates cause a $150 phone will meet all your needs; so just buy a new one every couple of years. different business models to handle essentially the same problem.
    Reply
  • mortimerr - Wednesday, August 24, 2016 - link

    How is that equivalent? Smartphone SoCs didn't even exist 10 years ago.
    A 3 year old CPU is CERTAINLY comparable to one today. A terrible software environment is the only reason why 3 yr old devices don't get updated.
    Reply
  • Mumrik - Tuesday, August 23, 2016 - link

    Or just slap on an unofficial ROM.

    Hell, my old HP Touchpad is still on current Androids.
    Reply
  • serendip - Tuesday, August 23, 2016 - link

    If you're lucky enough to have an OEM and chipset vendor that releases source code. Qualcomm do a decent job and a lot of old Snapdragon-based phones can run the latest ROMs. Mediatek are total s***s on this, I've vowed never to buy a phone with an MTK chip again after being marooned in Kitkat-land. Reply
  • timbates - Sunday, September 25, 2016 - link

    Nicely said @michael2k!

    In Sept 2016
    Apple supports iPhone_5 (on sale sept 2012). Drops iphone_4S released Sept 2011
    Google supports Nexus_5x (on sale October 2015). Drops Nexus 5, released Oct 2013
    Moto supports Moto X gen3 (on sale July 2015). Drops Gen 2, released Sept 2014
    And carriers (90% of android phones?) basically never update anything.
    So, - years from carriers, 2 from Moto, 3 from Nexus, and 4 years from Apple.
    With Apple having zero lag, Google 2 months, and Moto 6 months.
    Reply
  • SteelRing - Monday, August 22, 2016 - link

    They should really keep updating all devices, especially Nexus ones, until there is hardware limitation being hit. Reply
  • MonkeyPaw - Monday, August 22, 2016 - link

    Yeah, especially since some of the enhancements are attempting to reduce overhead and storage requirements. But I guess making the old devices better might inhibit the"need" to upgrade to a new one. Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Monday, August 22, 2016 - link

    I seem to recall that Google will continue to release security updates for the Nexus phones for a year or two after they stop releasing feature upgrades[Citation needed]. IE, you'll be stuck on 6.0, but you'll still get monthly security patches. That's not so bad. It's certainty better then OEM phones that never get security updates. Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Monday, August 22, 2016 - link

    Hmm. Guess it's not as long as I though. Historically, they'll only get updated through October.

    http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2016/08/android-nou...
    Reply
  • HideOut - Monday, August 22, 2016 - link

    Must be nice. I got an S4 thru VZW and they never took us past 4.4. VZW is crap for updates. Reply

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