Google, famous for keeping its Android OS build names after sweets has surprised the world yet again with not just the name ‘Nougat’ (not ‘Nutella’ as everyone anticipated) but also with its features. Android 7.0 Nougat is the next major version of Android following Marshmallow. This version improves in three key areas which are: Performance, Security and Productivity.
With each major version of Android, Google unveils a new statue at Googleplex. The above photo shows the statue of Android 7.0 Nougat. This version has resulted in a lot of happy faces as Google took into account feedback from its users and so has introduced features like split-screen multi-window support and direct reply notifications.
Let us go over the 10 features of Android Nougat that one must know:
Vulkan API Support
The new Android version will adopt Vulkan API support which is modern 3D graphics API with lower CPU overhead than OpenGL. Hence, Vulkan is designed as a replacement to OpenGL aimed at improving the quality of gaming, VR, and other graphics intensive apps. You will be able to enjoy more detailing in games and rich graphics while using VR apps which will be more power efficient than OpenGL.
Split-Screen and Quick Switch
Google is introducing its own Multi-window functionality with Nougat so you can split the screen with any two apps of your choice. Simply long press the Recents button from within an app and you’ll be able to select a second app alongside it.
You even get to quick-switch so you can, with the simple double press of Recents button, quickly switch to the previous app that you were using. This is as easy as it can get for you to switch to the last app you were working with on your Android.
This feature is aimed at Android TV and not mobiles or tablets. Android Nougat will support the ability to watch video in a pinned window in the corner of the screen while another activity runs in the background on your Android TV. This feature is similar to how you can corner the playing video in YouTube mobile app and still browse through other videos on YouTube. It will now be available to all third party app makers.
Nougat has introduced Direct Reply feature so you no longer need to fire up the app just to reply. Through your notifications, you can directly reply without ever opening the app! Notifications menu will also allow you to control the visibility of apps so you can block all notifications from an app that you don’t like or just silence them. The default mode for every app is set to ‘Don’t Silence’ or ‘Block’.
You even get instant control toggles when you swipe down the notifications menu allowing you to activate Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and other apps quickly.
With Android 7.0 Nougat, Google has unveiled file-based encryption claiming it to be more secure than the earlier block-based encryption. For Android M and earlier, the mediaserver process in Android were responsible for most media-related tasks and so required access to all permissions. But learning from the libstagefright bugs detected in 2015 that allowed attackers to overflow the heap and cause unexpected malicious outcomes, Google has re-architectured mediaserver based upon the principle of least privilege with divided permissions in the latest Android N. Google has also improved its SELinux (Security Enhanced) feature in this version to harden its Android kernel.
In short, better security bundled with this version of Android.
Android 7.0 Nougat will be the OS where Google fully unleashes its VR plans. Daydream is Google’s new VR platform – a set of VR headset and controller hardware standards allied to an Android Nougat-based UI which aims in making discovering and consuming VR content much easier and smoother. Ultra-low 20ms latency should make for a much slicker mobile VR experience than we’ve seen before. This version is having a special VR mode enabling which, take you to Daydream Home, a specially designed home screen, through which you will be able to play all your VR games, access YouTube VR videos and even browse and download VR apps from Daydream App store. The Daydream App store will be a Google app store that will only contain VR apps.
With Daydream, Google is really looking forward to tap the VR sector through its mobile OS platform.
Android 7.0 Nougat has introduced seamless updates taking the manual away and putting in the automatic. To make this work, Android will download updates, whenever it’s available, in the background as a new system image but it won’t update your system. This is to avoid the possibility of disturbing you when you are in the middle of some work. It will be when you reboot your device, that Android will quietly switch to the new image seamlessly with all your settings intact.
Allo and Duo
With so many new features and improvements to Android 7.0 Nougat, two of the most notable additions will be the standalone Allo and Duo apps.
Allo is Google’s new messaging app which incorporates the company’s formidable search, machine-learning and security technologies. With it, you’ll be able to conduct web searches and make bookings from within conversations. The app will suggest replies to messages based on what it understands from the words and pictures that have been sent to you. For the privacy concerned, Allo will have an Incognito Chat which will activate end-to-end encryption for your message and a feature of messages expiring after a certain time.
Duo, meanwhile, is Google’s new one-to-one video calling app, which promises to make video calling as easy as possible. You will be able to do things like get previews of callers before you pick up (a feature called Knock Knock), while calls will be optimized for usage on limited bandwidth connections.
New Just-In-Time Compiler
With Nougat, Google has unveiled a new JIT Compiler which boasts
75% faster app installation and
50% reduction in compiled code size
What it means is that your new apps will compile and install faster than ever and will also take less amount of storage than it needed before. Android users have mostly been seen complaining about insufficient storage on their no-SD card support Android devices and this improved compiler will allow more storage for apps and data.
Google with its Android M introduced Doze, a feature which figured out, using your device sensors, as to when your phone wasn’t being actively used and could scale things back accordingly. This resulted in a dramatic improvement to battery life during less busy periods.
In Android Nougat, Doze now works whenever the screen is off, not just when there’s a prolonged spell of inactivity. This means even more improved battery life when your Android device is not in use.
Google has put in a lot of man hours on Android 7.0 Nougat and the result of this latest build is the net result of all that work. Over 250 new features from material design to enhanced battery saving to more hardened and secure OS, Android N will be the best Android version yet.
Are you happy with the features and design changes in Android N? Let me know in the comments section below.