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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  • Xailter - Monday, August 22, 2016 - link

    "The Nexus 5 and 7 (2013) are not eligible for the update."

    Crap, guess it's time to update my phone!
  • michael2k - Monday, August 22, 2016 - link

    You mean buy a new one?
  • basroil - Monday, August 22, 2016 - link

    The only reason that android is still a pos operating system even after 7 major revisions... I have computers from 2006 running Windows 10 (four major revisions, 8 "minor" revisions from XP SP2 to Win 10 1607), yet my 3 year old phone was upgraded from 4.2.2 to 4.4 and never received another update! Basically no excuse for android to have so many revisions at this point if hardware compatibility with those revisions is not a priority!
  • t.s - Tuesday, August 23, 2016 - link

    1. Your phone is nexus? If not, rant to your carrier / manufacturer.
    2. Computing power of 10 years old x86 CPU is not that different with today's x86 CPU; 10 years old smartphone CPU is like earth and heaven with today smartphone CPU.
  • Michael Bay - Tuesday, August 23, 2016 - link

    E6600 I had exactly ten years ago is hardly comparable to i5-3570 I have now.
  • ImSpartacus - Thursday, March 30, 2017 - link

    They both can run the same software.

    It's not like there's any popular software that magically won't run on Conroe.
  • mmrezaie - Tuesday, August 23, 2016 - link

    Nexus 5 is absolutely not an obsolete hardware by today's standards either, and it is Nexus. Google always abandon their own hardwares too, but it has better software support of the other androids.
  • close - Tuesday, August 23, 2016 - link

    The customer doesn't care (and doesn't have to care) about who makes the hardware and who makes the software, they just want an update. The manufacturer is implementing an update model that Google designed and baked into Android. You don't just buy a Samsung or an LG phone, you buy an Android phone and the inability of one of the largest companies around to provide an update model that actually works in the customer's favor, not for the OEM can just tell you where you are on their list or priorities. The OEM always conveniently forgets to update your phone because it's too expensive and because it's a much better deal for them if you just buy a new one.

    There's no reason for Android not to run on older hardware considering the ARM ISA doesn't change every day. As long as it can run on a SoC it means the only limitation is that Google went for the model that is admittedly cheaper but favors OEMs instead of the consumer.
  • Ratman6161 - Tuesday, August 23, 2016 - link

    close: I'd agree with you on the part where you say the customer doesn't care about who makes the hardware or software. But I would disagree with you that most customers care about updates either. I'm sure that almost everyone who is reading this article to begin with does care. But we are in no way the typical customer. My wife certainly does not know or care what version of Android her phone runs on. She might be aware of the fact that the brand of phone she has is HTC but that's only because it says HTC on it. I am completely certain she does not know or care that its a One M9 with a Snapdragon 810 CPU. FYI when the upgrade to Android 6 came out for it, I manually updated it for her (from 5.x) to make sure she didn't have any problems and that it didn't happen at an inconvenient time. As an experiment, I purposely did not tell her it had been updated to see if she would notice. She did not. I strongly believe she is much more of the typical consumer of these devices than I am.
  • Ratman6161 - Tuesday, August 23, 2016 - link

    PS: There is one thing that Google really could/should do and that is to take control of the security related patching. Even if a device is not going to get an Android version update, it is still important to get security patches through some mechanism similar to Windows Update from Microsoft.

    New features I can live without. Patches to known vulnerabilities are a different matter and should be addressed separately. I would like to see google commit to security patches for at least three major releases i.e. Now that 7.0 is released, we should still be able to get security patches back as far as 4.x. Or if they don't want to go that far back, there should be some well defined cutoff; weather its number of versions, number of years, etc that is consistent across the board.

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