It’s official: Android Nougat – also known as Android 7.0 – is slated to be released later this summer.
Given the fact Android enjoys a whopping 84 percent market share worldwide, according to Statistica, we thought we’d take a look at this new OS version with features that range from saving battery and memory to extending your app experience with a multi-window user-interface, direct reply notifications, and more.
Here's a few things you need to know about the Android Nougat for smartphones and tablets, including additions and improvements that can save you time and improve productivity.
Yep, it’s called ‘Nougat’
As you likely know by now, Google chooses confectionary names for its OS versions, such as “Gingerbread” (Android 2.3 to 2.3.7), “Ice Cream Sandwich” (Android 4.0), “Jelly Bean” (Android 4.1 to 4.3.1), “KitKat” (Android 4.4), “Lollipop” (Android 5.0 to 5.1.1), and “Marshmallow” (Android 6.0 to 6.0.1).
You may have noticed the sweet names go through the alphabet, too – hence “Nougat” for Android 7.0, which was suggested by fans for the first time – but there were other contenders, too, such as “Nibs,” “Nerds,” and “Nutella.”
Android Nougat has revamped its Recent apps feature to speed up app switching.
With the new OS, simply double-tap the Overview button on the Android device – usually next to the Home button -- to immediately jump to the last app you were using. You no longer have to sift through a stack of screengrabs to find and open the last app you were in.
Instead of flicking each app to close it one by one, Android Nougat will let you clear all of your open apps with one tap of the Clear All button -- just like clearing notifications with one tap. Anything that hasn’t been used in a long while won’t show up in your stacks either, which reduces clutter.
Android Nougat will usher in a multi-window mode, which could be a boon for productivity-seeking users, as it lets you access and run two apps, side by side, on the same screen.
When you're running an app, press the “Overview” button and you'll launch into “Multi-window” mode. You’ll see recent apps to select from for your second window. You can move the divider to see more of one screen and less of another. Android Nougat will support a free-form mode on any device, if enabled by the device manufacturer, allowing you to resize your app window to suit your needs.
I love how Android Nougat could help you get more done in less time. Case in point: the Direct Reply feature lets you respond to incoming messages directly from your notifications tab. In other words, you won’t have to open your messaging app to reply.
Google says this will work with any messaging app that adds support using the notifications APIs (“application programming interface”) software tools.
Better battery life
There’s nothing worse when you’re on the go and your smartphone is running out of juice.
Thankfully, Google says it has optimized battery life for Android Nougat-powered devices.
In particular, it’s handling it in three ways: reducing background activity for open apps and services; enhancing the “Doze” low-power mode to be used even when you’re on the go; and optimizing performance to make background memory processes less taxing on the phone’s processor.
In a word: Yay.
Jelly Bean introduced a Quick Settings section – small icons that give you direct access to frequently used phone or tablet options – but Nougat will also let you customize which of those quick settings appear.
For the first time, third-party apps running on Nougat will be able to offer their own Quick Settings tiles, which you can add using this interface. For instance, tap on your battery to see how much battery is left before it needs recharging, while a tap and hold may show you what apps are eating up your battery.
The Settings app has also been updated to show you more relevant info in fewer taps.