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.

Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • qlum - Tuesday, August 23, 2016 - link

    My note 3 still holds up perfectly on android 6 custom roms.
    I don't see the performance leap between the snapdragon 800 and the 820 as something too big especially since there are plenty of phones running lower end chips that work perfectly fine.
  • snowmyr - Tuesday, August 23, 2016 - link

    Maybe, but that ignores the immediate and obvious worsening of performance you get when you upgrade iOS on an old iphone.
  • Donkey2008 - Tuesday, August 23, 2016 - link

    If you had said iOS 8 (or even iOS 7) I would agree with you, but iOS 9 runs perfectly fine on supported devices. Why do I say this? I manage hundreds of iPhones on Mobile Iron and I have seen the impact of every single iOS update since the iPhone came out.
  • Samus - Tuesday, August 23, 2016 - link

    My buddy has an iPhone 4s and it did run IOS 7 better than 8, but 9.3 is a wash he says. It isn't like unusable like people try to make it sound, he still uses the phone daily and actually complains about not being able to find a charger more than the performance (it's so old it's the 30 pin connector)
  • zeeBomb - Monday, August 22, 2016 - link

    There will be ports man! Just wait, I'm thankful I got MM on my N4.
  • Morawka - Monday, August 22, 2016 - link

    " Galaxy Note7 should receive an update perhaps in the next 2-3 months."

    I'd be pissed if i just bought a $700 phone and had to wait 3 months for the latest update. I don't know why it would take samsung that long to update. They have had the beta for 5 months, so it's not like they are starting from square one with today's release. Samsung needs to take the beta's seriously and get these updates out within a week of release.
  • serendip - Tuesday, August 23, 2016 - link

    It's because of that TouchWiz crap that Samsung slaps on top of Android. They usually have trouble porting the latest releases to older devices because there's not enough RAM.

    Other than Nexus devices which aren't available everywhere, what OEMs have long upgrade policies? I can think of Sony and Xiaomi, at least with non-Mediatek systems.
  • zeeBomb - Monday, August 22, 2016 - link

    Ars did a good in-depth review on it. ANDROID NOUGAT: best version since 4.2-4 4
  • Flunk - Monday, August 22, 2016 - link

    My Pixel C got the update today, before I even read this article. So the updates are really out there.
  • mortimerr - Wednesday, August 24, 2016 - link

    The level of performance with modern SoCs vs the increase in performance from year to year, the only real reason I'd ever see of upgrading would be due to hardware failure, where the price and level of difficulty to repair isn't worth it. (which brings up an entirely different problem)
    Otherwise, even if a device doesn't get updated, you can still use an updated ROM and be on your way. (Again, which brings up an entirely separate issue)

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now