The Stable release of Android 7.0 Nougat is finally out. Though you’ll only be able to see it on Nexus devices. These include the Nexus 6, 6P, 5X, the Pixel C, General Mobile 4G, Nexus Player and the Nexus 9. The beta has been out since March 9th this year and the verdict is an overall positive response. The update improves upon Marshmallow aesthetically more than anything else and doesn’t add anything terribly new to the OS. You could call it the iPhone 6S of updates. If you’re on a non-Nexus device and a long time Android user you know the drill. You’ll have to wait for your updates. But don’t despair, you probably already have what you need with Marshmallow. With that said, here are the updates from 7.0 Nougat:
You can finally answer a text without jumping in to the app. You simply drag down the card and hit reply on the lock screen. Alerts are also bundled together so you don’t have to address them separately. Long pressing a notification now brings up options for that app so you can quite those pesky beeps and buzzes. The notifications are also now the width of the screen.
Now when you swipe down from the top of the screen, your six most used settings are visible. When you swipe down further you’ll get the full set and you can customize them however you want.
In a classic case of catch up the Stock Android OS is finally including true multi-tasking. It’s been available on Samsung, Apple and Windows devices for a while now. Better late than never I guess. To use the feature you have to long-press the square overview button. Your current app will slide to the top or the left depending on whether you’re in landscape or portrait mode. Then you can pick any app from the list available or press the home button to launch another app. There are some apps that freeze during the multi-tasking view because there simply isn’t support for them yet. Nougat also allows you to have two browser windows open at the same time.
You can also use the square button to switch between your two latest apps.
This is mostly a negative. First of, the app doesn’t support split views. That’s a bad sign. When your stock app doesn’t support a key feature of your update that’s bad. Also the Google app is frustrating in that it’s not simple. It’s supposed to give results depending on what’s already on the screen but that doesn’t work very well. Then there’s the custom browser window that the search app opens for websites. Android should establish a direct link with the Chrome browser by default.
Behind the Scenes
A lot of the background stuff that happens in Nougat is welcome. For instance there are seamless updates. The software quietly downloads in the back while you can carry on with your work. This will be possible when new Android devices will ship with a partition. The updates will install and when your reboot the phone it’ll automatically switch to the update. File based encryption has also made it to Nougat.
There are 72 new emoji for you to play with. That’s about it.
Android Nougat is a mixed bag. There isn’t that much to complain about but there isn’t much to say hurrah over either. And because only 15% of Android devices are on last year’s Marshmallow update, it won’t much matter. Overall, the verdict on Nougat is a big “Meh”.
Make sure you have a compatible device; any mentioned in the first paragraph will do. Then go ahead and sign up for the Android Beta Program using the same Google Account you use on your device. Select the device you want to enroll and click “Join Beta”. Google says it’ll take up to 24 hours to send you the update but according to The Verge, it may very well be a few seconds.
P.S. There’s apparently a cat game hidden in the update that helps you feed your cat. It’s in the same place where that Flappy bird knockoff in Android 5.0 Lollipop was. Have fun.