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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  • FourEyedGeek - Friday, August 26, 2016 - link

    You are a dick head. Reply
  • DCide - Monday, August 22, 2016 - link

    The only devices getting the upgrade are less than 2 years old.

    iOS 10 will be releasing next month with support for 4 year old devices, which will continue to get updates for another year.

    The Nexus advantage isn't necessarily longevity - just first dibs on updates for a couple of years.
    Reply
  • sweenish - Monday, August 22, 2016 - link

    While I agree that the length of support leaves something to be desired, at least Nexus owners have the ability to take matters into their own hands. It dulls the pain a bit. Reply
  • mrvco - Monday, August 22, 2016 - link

    At least Nexus phones actually get updates. My Lenovorola X is still sitting on 6.0. Reply
  • CoreyWat - Monday, August 22, 2016 - link

    Although I tip my hat to Apple for the updates, after my 4yr old 4S got 9.0, it takes 5-8seconds for the camera to open and 3 seconds to just unlock it.
    Sometimes Software updates have to end, Google isnt all in the wrong.
    Reply
  • Donkey2008 - Tuesday, August 23, 2016 - link

    That is strange. I personally updated around 25 4S iPhones to iOS 9 when it was released and none of them exhibit that behavior. iOS9 runs fine on them. Even my 5-year-old iPad 3 runs iOS 9 with no issues.

    To be fair, when iOS 8 was released this was definitely not the case in my experience. iOS 8 really made the 4S clunky and my iPad 3 did the same things you said your 4S does now (take 4-5 seconds to open apps, 3-4 seconds to unlock). I think Apple put a lot of effort to clean up their code between 8 and 9.
    Reply
  • Samus - Monday, August 22, 2016 - link

    Not to sound like an Apple Fanboy but the iPhone 4S from 2011 won't be discontinued from updates until next month. It doesn't make sense that Android won't be supported on 2013 hardware that is more than twice as powerful as the iPhone 4S. Once again, the android community will rely on mod's from the likes of Cyanogen to do Google's job. Reply
  • fanofanand - Monday, August 22, 2016 - link

    I have to agree. I am an N5 owner and the phone still feels plenty fast day to day, but having longer battery life and more efficient graphics sure would be nice.....This planned obsolescence is not new, but it doesn't make it any less frustrating. Reply
  • snowmyr - Monday, August 22, 2016 - link

    Google: Stop pushing updates after a couple years
    Apple: Push iOS versions to old phones that run like shit
    Which is worse?
    Reply
  • MonkeyPaw - Monday, August 22, 2016 - link

    Any phone from 2011 will not run very well, as the development curve was steep at that time. I have an Android phone newer than that (2013) and using current apps from the Play store is a horrible experience. There's a lag to everything you do. Reply

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