Android is the biggest OS by a considerable margin, though, unlike iOS, the most prevalent version of Android in use is not the latest build; it’s not even Marshmallow. Lollipop and KitKat builds are still the most active versions of Android in use around the globe.
This is just the nature of Google’s Android ecosystem, though. Things are fragmented because of the sheer number of Android phones produced every year, the careless nature of the firms that build them, who are, in most cases, more focussed on new hardware over updating the software on their existing releases, and also the fact that people are holding onto their phones for longer.
Android 7 Nougat is a very impressive update, however, one that sees Google take things a step further with its own line of Pixel phones, which benefit from quite a few software USPs.
Things like Google Assistant, the new UX layout, and optimizations inside the operating system make Android Nougat one of the most potent versions of Android ever released.
Android 7 Nougat Key New Features
“There are over 250 major features in Android Nougat,” says Google, “including VR Mode in Android. We’ve worked at all levels of the Android stack in Nougat — from how the operating system reads sensor data to how it sends pixels to the display — to make it especially built to provide high quality mobile VR experiences.”
It added: “Nougat brings a number of new features to help make Android more powerful, more productive and more secure. It introduces a brand new JIT/AOT compiler to improve software performance, make app installs faster, and take up less storage. It also adds platform support for Vulkan, a low-overhead, cross-platform API for high-performance, 3D graphics. Multi-Window support lets users run two apps at the same time, and Direct Reply so users can reply directly to notifications without having to open the app. As always, Android is built with powerful layers of security and encryption to keep your private data private, so Nougat brings new features like File-based encryption, seamless updates, and Direct Boot.”
Check out our feature on Android 7 Nougat’s Best Features for a more detailed breakdown of what’s cracking inside the new platform.
Android Nougat Release Date: When Will It Be Available For Your Android Phone?
Google shipped the most complete version of Android Nougat aboard its new Pixel phones. You can read our Pixel XL Review for a full break-down on what makes these phones tick and why you’ll likely want to pick one up in 2016. The Pixel handsets are expensive, yes, but they are also two of the best phones on the planet right now. Nothing else comes close to the XL’s overall performance in the opinion of this writer, so make sure you check one out.
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The thing that makes the Pixel phones so unique is their software; both run a bespoke version of Android Nougat that you simply will not find anywhere else. Exclusive features for the Pixel and Pixel XL include:
- Google Assistant
- Unlimited Storage For Photos and Video (even 4K video)
- The Pixel Launcher
- Smart Storage
- 24/7 Support
- Pixel Camera
But these aren’t what make the Pixel special. No. What makes the Pixel XL so special in the opinion of this writer is its overall performance. The handset simply flies; nothing can hold it down. Couple this with market-leading battery performance – the type that has to be seen to be believed – and a brilliant camera and you have one hell of an Android phone.
Google has also revealed, as of October 20, that the Google Pixel phones will be guaraunteed updates to the latest Android builds for the next two years. On the firm’s “Check & update your Android version” page it promises to keep the Pixel series updated until October 2018.
“Pixel phones get Android version updates for at least 2 years from when the device became available on the Google Store. After 2 years, we can’t guarantee additional updates.”
Security updates are guaranteed for three years, however.
But if you, like the majority of Android users, aren’t rocking a Nexus handset, well, you might just have to wait that little bit longer for Android N to arrive on your device. The reasons for this are myriad. Unfortunately, long delays on Android updates, even for flagship phones, is a fact of life within the Android Kingdom.
A device that’s not often thought of when talking about Android is Google’s Pixel C tablet, but as of early April 2017 Google has now pushed the over-the-air build of Android Nougat 7.1.2 to the slate; this is the final, non-beta version as well and weighs in at 340.1MB. The evidence comes via an image capture showing the System Update message, allegedly aboard a Pixel C unit, posted by a user on Reddit.