Google begins offering tasty Android Nougat to Nexus devices


— 3:45 PM on August 22, 2016

Android development at Google has been going on at a steady clip. The computing giant has begun the rollout of Android 7.0, codename Nougat, to recent Nexus devices worldwide.

Google calls Nougat the "sweetest release yet," so here's a quick run-down of how it will improve the taste of your mobile experience. Both performance and battery life should prove superior in comparison to Marshmallow, thanks to under-the-hood improvements. Multi-tasking support is now an official OS feature, and supports both windows and split-screen modes. Android's notifications and Quick Settings panels are top-notch already, and Google saw it fit to improve them further still.

The new Display Size feature is rather neat: it tells the OS to visually scale everything to the user's taste—not just text. On the gaming front, there's now Vulkan support on tap, as well as the VR-oriented Daydream software platform. If you use your Android device for business purposes, though, you'll be happy to learn about the new Google for Work features. On the technical side, there's a new JIT compiler, seamless OS updates thanks to a dual-partition scheme, and file-based encryption. Oh, before we forget, there's a ton of new emojis. Very important.
 
Users of Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Nexus Player, and Pixel C devices can enjoy the tasty Nougat right away with a simple over-the-air update. However, Google seems to be following the quick deprecation path treaded by its partner OEMs by dropping support for the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 devices. Neither of those has yet had its third birthday, and to our eyes this seems a questionable move, especially considering that Apple's upcoming iOS 10 will support devices as old as the iPhone 5, which came out in September 2012.
 
On a more positive note, Google says that it is "moving Nougat into a new regular maintenance schedule over the coming quarters." Hopefully this can translate into more frequent updates. Reviews of the new operating system are already circling around the internet, too, and the overall feedback is positive.
 
However, there's a huge mechanical elephant in the room. As of today, only 15.2% of Android devices worldwide are running Android 6.0, thanks to OEMs and carriers' unwillingness to offer software updates to any device that's older than, uh, about 24 hours. Android Nougat's release doesn't seem likely to improve this situation.

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