Google announced the Android Nougat update several months ago. Yet, the new OS has reached selected Android phones and devices. Interestingly, the new OS is spotted on premium Android phones and a vast majority is still awaiting its rollout for their devices.
Android Nougat is the latest iteration of the Android OS. Needless to say, almost every new Android phone and device will be sporting it. Therefore, it is necessary to know what it brings to the Android ecosystem. Your current device may or may not receive the Nougat update, but your next Android device will surely be based on it.
On the surface, it resembles Android Marshmallow to quite an extent. Google has cleverly improvised on its Android OS with subtle yet important updates underneath a familiar looking OS. Here are 5 things you must know about Android’s Nougat update:
1. Improved notifications and quick settings
Pull down your phone’s notification drawer and you are bombarded by an endless list of notifications. Nougat will bundle your notifications cleverly into groups. Users can expand notifications with a single tap and react to them right from the notification panel. This allows users the freedom from opening the app for basic replies.
The new OS allows notification control through a long press on any notification. You can manage and customise notification alert behaviours for individual apps. Quick settings get an update as well. They’re indicated with neat small icons and can be rearranged easier than before. Also, quick settings can trigger a particular settings sub-menu right through the notification panel.
2. Preserve data and battery
Data saver is now offered as a quick setting and is designed to reduce data consumption by apps running in the background. This will not only save your internet package from depleting but will help improve battery life as well.
Speaking of battery life, Android Nougat enhances Doze, a power-saving utility which was first introduced with Android 6.0 – Marshmallow. This feature enables low power usage while your Android phone’s display is turned off. Advanced users can tinker their Doze settings to optimise their battery usage even further. Overall, it’s a welcome change from the battery hogging Android OS of yore.
3. Two new ways of multitasking
Android has improved multitasking over the years. Android Nougat takes a quantum leap in improving the way users can multitask between apps. Apart from optimised RAM usage for apps running in the background, Nougat brings two refreshing new ways to multitask.
Quick Switching between apps
Android Nougat added a new feature to your recent apps keys. Double tapping it will allow users to switch between two consecutive apps. This brings more functionality to the table especially when you are interacting with apps. Copy and paste got a whole lot easier.
Finally! A feature every user envied from the Samsung Note line-up was the capability to run two apps on a single window. It took Google quite some time to implement this feature in stock Android, but it is finally here. Now users can open two apps simultaneously in a single window.
You can also force incompatible apps to open in multi-window through developer settings. Imagine watching a YouTube video while chatting. If it’s multi-tasking you dig, then this feature is tailor-made for you.
4. Google Assistant and Instant Apps
This is a long shot, but like the Google Pixel, these features will make their way to your devices too. If there’s a future we can predict, it’s one which includes AI (Artificial Intelligence). Everyone has tried yelling Ok Google at their devices, with varying degrees of success. While there are likes of Siri, Alexa, Cortana and zillion other voice-based AIs available today, Google’s assistant is the one we all will be conversing with the most.
Google’s Assistant is by far the most accurate at decoding Indian accent. Consider Indians and their accents to be a benchmark. If an AI can decode Indian accent, it can decode most other languages with ease. Install the Google Allo app to get a taste of Google’s Assistant. Although text-based on Allo, this experience is a glimpse of Google’s voice-based assistant cooked into Android Nougat.
With seamless Google service integration, the assistant learns and personalises a unique experience based on user interaction. It also sounds a whole lot natural and encourages a smooth flow of conversation.
As simple as this may sound, instant apps is an Android revolution. Our Android phones are loaded with apps and we end up using a few on a regular basis while others do nothing other than update themselves. These apps consume our phone’s data and storage. Android Nougat will allow users to interact with an App when required. Thereby, providing users with the freedom from app installations and unwanted updates.
Imagine a future where you pay through PayTM without having the app installed. Sounds fun, right?
5. Other small though important updates
Apart from the ones mentioned above, Android Nougat plans to bring some subtle yet important updates to your Android phones. Here is a quick run down.
Vulcan API for smooth gaming and animations
Android Nougat features Vulcan API. This will improve animation smoothness with better gaming capabilities across device hardware. Not only will this improve smoothness in device usability but also empower better graphics on latest chipsets. Imagine every phone being a Nintendo Switch!
Daydream VR (Virtual Reality) is Google’s latest platform for VR. There are barely any phones that support this new VR platform, but the future is all about alternate realities powered by your phone’s display. From VR gaming to other interactive VR apps, Daydream is a virtual dream come true.
With Nougat, Android brings file-based encryption for every phone and device. Your phone is a personal device and may contain sensitive personal data. Its security is utmost important in this insecure world. With Android Nougat, users are protected better than ever.
Content size customisation
Android Nougat will allow users to not just change the size of text but also the size of icons and user content. Some like it big, some like it small. Head over to Settings -> Display -> Display size, to choose the size you like the most.
New emojis and language support
Nougat brings 72 new emojis to Android. From, talk to my hand to region-based expressions, there is an emoji for everyone. There is a large potential market for various age-segments of India. People are now willing to make a switch if their phone speaks their language. And with Android 7.0, this distinct dream could be real in no time.
Lonely souls can feed a cat
What am I talking about? There is a hidden app in your Android version. Head over to Settings then tap Android 7.0 a few times to get the Nougat logo. Tap Nougat’s “N” icon a few times to reveal a small cat icon. Now pull down quick settings and click edit to reveal the Android Easter egg. Long press this tile to drag it as a quick settings tile. The tile will display as Empty dish.
Lonely users can keep accessing it to feed cats from a choice of food items. Selected food item will be added to the Empty dish. Users will be notified when a cat eats from this dish. You can tap on the cat to rename it as you like. Keep collecting cats if you are a regular on r/aww on Reddit.
Added features on Android TV
Android TV will now be DVR capable and also feature picture-in-picture. Users can be browsing other apps via a smaller window while playing their favourite content on a large display. Multi-tasking finally makes its way to Android TV.
I’m sure reading the list of features has you excited about the Nougat update for your device. Unfortunately, only a select few devices will ever get an official Android Nougat update. If you believe your hardware is capable enough, scout the internet for custom ROMs based on Android Nougat.
Eventually, every Android phone will come with the above-mentioned features. Let’s be ready with the knowledge of how to use these and when.