Google released Android Nougat in August. Here’s what’s new in Android N and we try to answer your big question: When will my phone get Android N? Also see: When will I get Android Marshmallow?
You’ll also be interested in: Google I/O 2016 as it happened | How to get Android Nougat now | Daydream VR | Nexus 7 (2016) | Nexus 5 & Nexus 6 (2016) | Android Pay UK | Google Home | Android N review.
Android N name: What will Android 7.0 be called?
Following Android Alpha and Android Beta, Google has always named its Android OS updates after sweet treats, and in alphabetical order. So far we’ve had Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, KitKat, Lollipop and Marshmallow. In 2016 we have Nougat. Also see: How fast is Android Nougat? And how to split screen in Android Nougat.
Android N UK release date: 22 August 2016
The final version of Android Nougat is out now. It was tipped all over the place to launch in August, and the closest we had to a release date was a Telus software schedule suggesting the Nexus 6P and 5X would receive the update on 22 August. With no word from Google we were dubious, but it did indeed launch Android Nougat yesterday.
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If you have a Nexus 6P or Nexus 5X you should by now have been upgraded to Android N.
The official Android blog talks more about the rollout: “Today, and over the next several weeks, the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Nexus Player, Pixel C and General Mobile 4G (Android One) will get an over the air software update to Android 7.0 Nougat. Any devices enrolled in the Android Beta Program will also receive this final version.”
It also says that the LG V20 will be the first Android phone to ship with Android 7.0 out of the box, which is another surprise, since many were expecting the new OS to be the first preinstalled on the new Nexus 5 and Nexus 6 for 2016, which have since turned out to be the new Pixel and Pixel XL, which will be announced next week. (Also see: LG V20 UK release date, price, specification and feature rumours.)
Other flagship Android devices will get the upgrade toward the end of the year or early 2017.
In an unusual move Google unveiled the Android Nougat Developer Preview ahead of Google I/O in order to give it more time to incorporate feedback from developers. At Google I/O the company discussed some new features that we’ll detail below, and announced that a public beta of Android Nougat was available.
Click here to learn how to install Android Nougat now.
Also see: Best new phones coming in 2016.
When will my phone get Android Nougat? Will my phone get Android Nougat?
As we’ve said above, Nougat is only on certain Nexus devices and the LG V20 right now. Nexus phones and tablets are always the first to get new operating system updates, but even Google won’t support them forever. Security updates are provided for three years following the device’s release, or 18 months after it is removed from the Google Play Store (whichever is longer).
So, for example, the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P will be supported by Google until September 2017, which means they will get both Android Nougat and next year’s Android O. The Nexus 9 and Nexus 6 will both be supported until October 2016, which should mean they get an update to Android Nougat but not Android O. Older Nexus devices will not be upgraded.
Those with supported Nexus devices should find the update rolls out to their device following the launch of the new Nexus phones for 2016, or at least within a few weeks of launch. Also see: How to direct reply in Android Nougat.
If you have a recent flagship phone or tablet from a well-known maker such as Sony, Samsung, HTC, LG or Motorola, it’s likely you’ll see the update rolled out within the first few months of 2017. However, before you can get the update both the hardware manufacturer and mobile operator must be ready to roll it out, which can slow down things.
Sony has already confirmed that its most recent Xperia devices will get Nougat, including the Z3+, Z4 Tablet, Z5 series and X series. However, the Z2 and Z3 series will not receive Android Nougat.
HTC has also confirmed which devices will get Nougat, quoting the HTC One A9, HTC One M9 and HTC 10. It has a 90-day guarantee, which means those devices should get Android N in Q4.
Motorola says its Moto Z and Moto G4 families will get Nougat in Q4 2016.
It’s telling that even a year and a half after its release, Android Lollipop has only recently become the most popular Android operating system. Often only the most recent flagships get an update to new Android operating systems (also see: How to update Android), and even then nothing is guaranteed. With thousands of people still using Android phones that are entry-level models, from less well-known manufacturers or simply old, there are still people out there running Froyo and Gingerbread – and they will never get an update to Android Nougat.
At the latest count on 5 September 2016, Android Developers published the following breakdown of Android platform segregation:
Android Nougat new features: What to expect from the next Android OS
Android Nougat new features can be divided into three clear categories: performance, security and productivity.
Performance in Android Nougat
Also see: How fast is Android Nougat?
For performance Google is focusing on graphics and runtime in Android Nougat. It has introduced the new Vulkan 3D graphics API, which has a much lower CPU overhead than OpenGL and allows developers to squeeze much more graphical detail into frames. It’s also introducing the JTI Compiler, which speeds up app installs by 75 percent and reduces the compiled code size by 50 percent.
There are also new platform features aimed at optimising battery and memory consumption, such as Doze and the new background optimizations.
Security in Android Nougat
For security Android Nougat introduces file-based encryption, media framework hardening and seamless updates. The latter means new updates to the operating system will be downloaded silently in the background, ready to use on the next restart. Unfortunately, seamless updates are likely to be available only on phones sold running Android Nougat out of the box – it works by each phone having two system images, and one is updated in the background while you use the other. Today’s phones, of course, have only one system image.
ZDNet has also reported how Android Nougat will stop password-reset ransomware, stating that: “The new operating system will no longer allow users or software to invoke a command that clears already-set passwords.” However, in order to protect your device it notes that you will need to set a password in the first place.
Productivity in Android Nougat
Also see: How to split screen in Android Nougat | How to Direct Reply in Android Nougat
The most exciting area for consumers is productivity. We’ve already heard about Android Nougat’s new Direct Reply feature, which allows you to directly reply to messages, emails and more from the notification bar, and now apparently we’ll be able to change a notification’s visibility by long-tapping it and selecting an option.
When we do reply to a message we have loads of new emoji at our fingertips. The professional women emoji that leaked just recently are among 72 new Unicode 9 emoji glyphs, which are more realistic and support different skin tones.
Google is also said to be redesigning the navigation buttons, which in Android Nougat will be animated and change their colour when long-pressed.
Even better are the new multi-tasking improvements in Android Nougat. Google has finally added a Clear all button to the top of the recent apps menu, and it has reduced the number of apps shown here by automatically removing those you haven’t used in a while. You will also be able to switch back and forth between your current and last-used app with a double-tap of the recents button.
Multi-window is a feature we’ve seen previously on Samsung phones, and it’s finally going to be built into the Android OS. There are two variations – Split Screen and Picture in Picture – with the first designed for phones and tablets and the latter for Android TVs. You can long-tap the recents button to select a second app to display onscreen.
The final new feature coming to Android Nougat is Daydream, which is Google’s new VR platform. Although it is producing a dedicated Daydream headset, it is also building support for a VR Mode into N that supports low latency (under 20ms) and a VR system UI. It will mean hundreds of Daydream-ready phones will be available, with the first coming later this year from the likes of Samsung, HTC and LG. Also see: Best Android apps and Best Android games.
Other new features include:
• Bundled notifications: multiple notifications from the same app can be grouped together
• Efficiency: Doze now also saves battery whenever the screen is turned off
• Improved Java & language support: Java 8 language features are coming to Android
The Google Keyboard app in Google Play has now been updated to the Android Nougat version. There are new emoji, new coloured themes, new background images and a new keyboard toggler. Check out the updated Google Keyboard here.
A user on XDA has posted a beta build of Android 7.0 Nougat for Huawei P9 users, should they want to try out the software in beta form.
Those of you who have already installed the Developer Preview of Android Nougat may be pleased to know that it now works with Pokemon GO. A bizarre update to make, but it appears the world has gone Pokemon crazy…
Will Android Nougat use Swift?
Nope. There are rumours that a future version of Android will go some way to replace Java with open-source Swift as its first-class language, but it won’t be Android Nougat, since it will require a lot of re-writing of Android’s core code. According to TheNextWeb, Android would first need a runtime for Swift, to make its entire standard library Swift-ready, to support the language in APIs and SDKs, and to re-write some low-level C++ APIs and high-level Java APIs, which Swift can not currently bridge to.