Android Nougat 7.0 UK release date rumours | Android Nougat new features

It's official: Android N will be called Android Nougat. Like it or hate it, here's what's new in Android 7.0, plus Android Nougat release date rumours. Also see: When will I get Android Marshmallow?

You'll also be interested in: Google I/O 2016 as it happened | How to get Android Nougat now | Android VR | Nexus 7 (2016) | Nexus 5 & Nexus 6 (2016) | Android Pay UK | Google Home

Android N name: What will Android 7.0 be called?

Following Android Alpha and Android Beta, Google has always named its Android OS updates after sweet treats, and in alphabetical order. So far we've had Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, KitKat, Lollipop and Marshmallow. Also see: How fast is Android Nougat? And how to split screen in Android Nougat.

Next in line is Android 'N', sure to be a sweet treat, but Google was having difficulty in deciding which one. It allowed people to vote on the new Android N name at android.com/name-n until 8 June, and has now announced that it will be called Android Nougat. Also see: How to direct reply in Android Nougat.

Android Nougat UK release date: When is Android Nougat coming out? Android Nougat Developer Preview 4

In an unusual move Google unveiled the Android Nougat Developer Preview ahead of Google I/O in order to give it more time to incorporate feedback from developers. At Google I/O the company discussed some new features that we'll detail below, and announced that a public beta of Android Nougat was available.

We're now up to Android Nougat Developer Preview 4, which doesn't appear to have any major new features but is mostly concerned with APIs. There will be one more Developer Preview prior to the final release. Click here to learn how to install Android Nougat now.

At I/O 2016 Google said the final version of Android Nougat would be available later in the summer. Our money is on late September, at which point it will likely ship the new OS preinstalled on the new Nexus 5 and Nexus 6 phones for 2016. Android Nougat will be available to download to older Nexus devices soon afte, and other flagship Android devices will get the upgrade toward the end of the year or early 2017.

The Android Nougat Developer Preview was announced in March 2016, and Google has provided the following timeline. Preview 1 is the initial release or Alpha version of Android Nougat. Preview 2 and Preview 3 are incremental beta updates. Preview 4 will include the final APIs and official SDK, Play Publishing, while Preview 5 is the near-final system image for last-minute tests. The final release will follow Preview 5 in Q3 2016.

Some time between the Developer Preview going live and the final version of Android Nougat being announced Google will confirm the new operating system's name and number, revealing a new Android lawn statue at the US Googleplex. And we will find out exactly how far off the mark is our guess of Android 7.0 Nectar. Also see: Best new phones coming in 2016.

Android Nougat UK release date: When will my phone get Android Nougat? Will my phone get Android Nougat?

As we've said above, Android Nougat won't be released until Q3 2016, and even then only on certain Nexus devices. Nexus phones and tablets are always the first to get new operating system updates, but even Google won't support them forever. Security updates are provided for three years following the device's release, or 18 months after it is removed from the Google Play Store (whichever is longer).

So, for example, the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P will be supported by Google until September 2017, which means they will get both Android Nougat and next year's Android O. The Nexus 9 and Nexus 6 will both be supported until October 2016, which should mean they get an update to Android Nougat but not Android O. Older Nexus devices will not be upgraded.

Those with supported Nexus devices should find the update rolls out to their device following the launch of the new Nexus phones for 2016, or at least within a few weeks of launch, giving a timeframe of around September 2016.

If you have a recent flagship phone or tablet from a well-known maker such as Sony, Samsung, HTC, LG or Motorola, it's likely you'll see the update rolled out within the first few months of 2017. However, before you can get the update both the hardware manufacturer and mobile operator must be ready to roll it out, which can slow down things.

It's telling that even a year and a half after its release, Android Lollipop has only recently become the most popular Android operating systems. Often only the most recent flagships get an update to new Android operating systems (also see: How to update Android), and even then nothing is guaranteed. With thousands of people still using Android phones that are entry-level models, from less well-known manufacturers or simply old, there are still people out there running Froyo and Gingerbread – and they will never get an update to Android Nougat.

At the latest count on 6 June 2016, Android Developers published the following breakdown of Android platform segregation:

Android version

Codename

Distribution

2.2

Froyo

0.1%

2.3.3-2.3.7

Gingerbread

2.0%

4.0.3-4.0.4

Ice Cream Sandwich

1.9%

4.1.x

Jelly Bean

6.8%

4.2.x

Jelly Bean

9.4%

4.3

Jelly Bean

2.7%

4.4

KitKat

31.6%

5.0

Lollipop

15.4%

5.1

Lollipop

20.0%

6.0

Marshmallow

10.1%

Android Nougat new features: What to expect from the next Android OS

Android Nougat new features can be divided into three clear categories: performance, security and productivity.

Performance in Android Nougat

Also see: How fast is Android Nougat?

For performance Google is focusing on graphics and runtime in Android Nougat. It has introduced the new Vulkan 3D graphics API, which has a much lower CPU overhead than OpenGL and allows developers to squeeze much more graphical detail into frames. It's also introducing the JTI Compiler, which speeds up app installs by 75 percent and reduces the compiled code size by 50 percent.

There are also new platform features aimed at optimising battery and memory consumption, such as Doze and the new background optimizations.

Security in Android Nougat

For security Android Nougat introduces file-based encryption, media framework hardening and seamless updates. The latter means new updates to the operating system will be downloaded silently in the background, ready to use on the next restart. Unfortunately, seamless updates are likely to be available only on phones sold running Android Nougat out of the box – it works by each phone having two system images, and one is updated in the background while you use the other. Today's phones, of course, have only one system image.

Productivity in Android Nougat

Also see: How to split screen in Android Nougat | How to Direct Reply in Android Nougat

The most exciting area for consumers is productivity. We've already heard about Android Nougat's new Direct Reply feature, which allows you to directly reply to messages, emails and more from the notification bar, and now apparently we'll be able to change a notification's visibility by long-tapping it and selecting an option.

When we do reply to a message we have loads of new emoji at our fingertips. The professional women emoji that leaked just recently are among 72 new Unicode 9 emoji glyphs, which are more realistic and support different skin tones.

Google is also said to be redesigning the navigation buttons, which in Android Nougat will be animated and change their colour when long-pressed.

Even better are the new multi-tasking improvements in Android Nougat. Google has finally added a Clear all button to the top of the recent apps menu, and it has reduced the number of apps shown here by automatically removing those you haven't used in a while. You will also be able to switch back and forth between your current and last-used app with a double-tap of the recents button.

Multi-window is a feature we've seen previously on Samsung phones, and it's finally going to be built into the Android OS. There are two variations – Split Screen and Picture in Picture – with the first designed for phones and tablets and the latter for Android TVs. You can long-tap the recents button to select a second app to display onscreen.

The final new feature coming to Android Nougat is Daydream, which is Google's new VR platform. Although it is producing a dedicated Daydream headset, it is also building support for a VR Mode into N that supports low latency (under 20ms) and a VR system UI. It will mean hundreds of Daydream-ready phones will be available, with the first coming later this year from the likes of Samsung, HTC and LG. Also see: Best Android apps and Best Android games.

Other new features include:

• Bundled notifications: multiple notifications from the same app can be grouped together

• Efficiency: Doze now also saves battery whenever the screen is turned off

• Improved Java & language support: Java 8 language features are coming to Android

Will Android Nougat use Swift?

Nope. There are rumours that a future version of Android will go some way to replace Java with open-source Swift as its first-class language, but it won't be Android Nougat, since it will require a lot of re-writing of Android's core code. According to TheNextWeb, Android would first need a runtime for Swift, to make its entire standard library Swift-ready, to support the language in APIs and SDKs, and to re-write some low-level C++ APIs and high-level Java APIs, which Swift can not currently bridge to.

Android Nougat @ Google I/O 2016 live blog

Follow our live blog of the Google I/O 2016 keynote for details of new Android Nougat announcements and real-time expert analysis.

Google I/O keynote 2016: Watch again

Read next: Check out our round-ups of the best current Android phones and Android tablets.

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