The Google Android 7.0 Nougat operating system has gone official, giving a more complete picture of what the new OS will offer, following its succession of developer preview releases.
Here we take a look at the features of Android Nougat, followed by the official announcements from mobile phone manufacturers, confirming which of their phones will be eligible for a Nougat update.
We first took a look at the Android Nougat features back in May, but the official release sheds more light on these features, as well as introducing us to new features that hadn’t previously been announced.
Android Nougat user interface
The user interface gets a big overhaul and there is a set of entirely new and updated emoji, giving users access to more than 1,500 emoji and more than 70 new ones.
A Split-screen Mode runs two apps side by side and this lets the user watch media while typing a text or using any other combination of apps. When using apps in full screen mode, a double tap on the Overview button can be used to switch between the two most recently used apps.
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The overall look of the interface can be customised more than on previous versions of Android. The text size and icon size can be changed, the magnification gesture can set and different wallpapers can be set for the lock screen and the home screen. Text to speech can also be customised with variable speaking speeds and pitches.
Multi Locale language settings allow two or more languages to be used at one time and search results can be shown in multiple languages. This means that multilingual users will not see the option to translate websites, that are in a language they already know. The expanded languages pack has 100 new languages and language preference settings can be used to tell apps to pick the right keyboard language and text.
The drag down Quick Setting Tiles can be rearranged to preference and the Quick Settings Bar has been redesigned, for faster access to Quick Setting Tiles. Device backup on Android Nougat covers more settings such as run-time app permissions, Wi-Fi hotspot settings and Wi-Fi network restrictions, making it far easier to reset, when needed.
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Quirkier additions includes the option to add Emergency Information to the lock screen and this can used to show first responders the owner’s name, allergies, blood type and emergency contact details.
Finally, a Work Mode has been added and this can be used to quickly to turn work notifications and apps on or off, for a better work life balance.
Android Nougat notifications
Notifications in Nougat have had a big makeover and the most useful of these is Notification Direct Reply. This creates mini-conversations within the notification itself and allows the user to reply from the notification, without having to open a messaging app.
Bundled Notifications will make it easier to get an overview of all notifications and these bundles can be tapped to expand them, allowing the user to see more info, without opening an app.
Notification Controls have been made more accessible and a long press on a notification will open mini-settings that can for example, silence future notifications of the same type or from the same app.
Android Nougat performance
The first performance enhancer is the inclusion of the Vulkan API and this brings high-performance 3D graphics to Nougat phones. These graphics will be sharper than anything seen before.
Daydream-ready phones will also be getting a Virtual Reality Mode for apps. VR Mode is coming this autumn and will feature a comfortable headset and a new intuitive controller.
Doze on the Go updates the existing Doze system to save even more battery power. Doze on the Go does this by going into a low power usage state, when the phone detects that it is being carried in a pocket or purse.
A toggle on/off Data Saver can be used so that when on, apps cannot access mobile data in the background, which is useful when moving away from a Wi-Fi connection.
Android Nougat security
Selected Android Nougat smartphones will enjoy Seamless Updates and these will download automatically, in the background, and include new security tools and security patches.
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File-based Encryption will further improve security by encrypting data at a file level. This will allow Android Nougat phones to isolate and protect files for individual device users.
A new Direct Boot will allow smartphones to start faster and run apps more securely, even before you enter your lock screen password.
Trusted Face is a part of Smart Lock and a new face recogniser will used to make unlocking easier. The face recogniser will be less sensitive to different lighting levels, facial hair changes and eye wear.
The LG V20 will be the first smartphone to come with Android Nougat out of the box but what about existing Android smartphones?
Sony phones to get Android Nougat update
In a very brief press release, Sony has confirmed which of its Sony Xperia phones will be getting an over-the-air update, to Android 7.0 Nougat.
In a phased roll out, Sony will make Android Nougat available for the Xperia Z3+, Xperia Z4 Tablet, Xperia Z5, Xperia Z5 Compact, Xperia Z5 Premium, Xperia X, Xperia XA, Xperia XA Ultra and Xperia X Performance. Sony is working to bring the update to as many devices as possible, and in the shortest amount of time.
HTC phones to get Android Nougat update
Samsung will be rolling out the update to Samsung Galaxy Note 7 owners and this will most likely be followed by updates for the Samsung Galaxy S7. The Google Nexus 6P and Google Nexus 5X will get the update and so should the LG G5.
For most smartphone owners, it is a case of waiting for their mobile phone’s manufacturer to get in gear but Google has been putting pressure on mobile phone manufacturers to ensure that this happens as quickly as possible.
Written by: Michael Brown