Android 7.0 Nougat – What’s New
The latest and greatest mobile operating system (OS) is coming to town. Of course, the first device expected to run the Android 7.0 Nougat will be the latest Nexus device. Despite the believe though the Nexus device might launch later than the OS. The OS is expected to be launched on the 5th of August, 2016. In fact, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 that is launched on the 2nd of August, 2016 (according to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia +8.00 GMT) at 11.00p.m. should be one of the first devices to load Android 7.0 as well. With the hype building around the Nexus devices that are reported to be manufactured by HTC and Android’s 7.0 Nougat OS, what is new in the OS?
The Developer Preview of Android Nougat has been out for a while now. There is plenty that one can learn from the developer preview alone of an upcoming OS User Interface (UI). From the upcoming Android 7.0 Nougat preview you can definitely expect a flatter UI experience with much less clutter than the already simple Marshmallow. The UI looks much more streamlined as well with the inclusion of hamburger menus in the settings menu. What this does is basically stack a number on setting menu of the same category in a single sub-menu to make navigating through the menu much easier and intuitive. No more endless scrolling through your setting screen to adjust your system volume.
First up, we start with something more technical. Bare with me. Android N will no longer be using Oracle’s proprietary Java application programming interfaces (API). Instead they are moving to OpenJDK which is the open source version of Java Development Kit. No, Android is not changing its coding language. Not entirely anyway. For users there will be no changes whatsoever, it will still work and perform like the Android that you cherish and love. For developers though it will take some time to adapt to the open source version of the development kit. Of course going open source also means that developers will have more freedom to tweak and have a larger source library to play with. Google commented that the move, which was planned since February, 2015 was due to the open source nature of its Android OS and that it would be more fitting to move it on top of a more open source platform. It may not be the case though as Google and Oracle have been in the courts last year and it places Google in a difficult situation. Either way though, it is going to take some time and work from the developers to shift to OpenJDK.
Next up, we will get new security patches and updates on Nougat. Nougat has been on beta testing lately and as with whatever that is still in their testing phase, Nougat beta was not perfect. But the new security update will not only be for Android 7.0 Nougat though. For both Nougat and Marshmallow Google has included a malware check as part of the boot process. That is because of the rise of malware threats on Android devices since Marshmallow. The difference between the check for Marshmallow and Nougat is what happens after the maware check up in the boot sequence. For Marshmallow the boot sequence will warn you that your device is infected by certain code errors or malware, but ultimately still allows you to boot up your device. For Nougat though it is not so simple. If the boot verification failed, detects a missing or corrupted boot file the OS will not boot or boot in limited capacity mode. Of course Google has though of the fact that some corrupt data may not be malicious. They stated that any corrupt of missing data that may not be malicious could be recovered by interleaving. This means that your smartphone may not boot up properly the first time but it would be all okay after the first reboot. Of course the verification boot has its drawbacks other than making your smartphone harder to boot. The new OS will make it harder for us who actually uses custom ROM and the other Android tinkerers.
The third thing that is coming to Android 7.0 Nougat is Allo and Duo. Allo smart chat and Duo video calling are two apps that was announced in Google I/O back in May, 2016. These two apps are meant to be the instant messaging apps that have been tested since its announcement. It has not been released to the public yet up until today. But it looks like both of the applications will make an appearance in Nougat. There are plenty of rumours as well that both these applications are set to replace Google’s Hangouts and Messenger apps that has been running on Android for the longest time. The Allo is supposed to be Google’s secure instant messaging system that is very much like BlackBerry Messenger and iMessage from Apple. It can also be a very personal messaging app as there are plenty customisation options even when you are engaged in a chat. The Duo meanwhile is supposed to be a highly secure and private one-to-one video chat app that allows you to chat at 720p resolution and high-definition audio. It is actually very similar to plenty of video chat apps out in the market already, just that it will be proprietary to Android 7.0 Nougat.
Of course there is more. The next thing that comes with Android Nougat is support of 3D Touch. If you have not already gotten yourself familiar with 3D Touch technology the technology allows you interact with your smartphone using pressure. It was introduced by Apple last year on their iPhone 6s. The technology will turn your display from a regular touch screen to a pressure sensitive screen that detects the force you use to interact with your smartphone turning into an entirely different gesture. That would allow developers more freedom to add more gesture controls on their devices and probably change the way users interact with their apps or UI entirely. While it may seem revolutionary at the time it is quickly forgotten as well. While the 3D Touch support is new in Nougat there are already a number of devices running on Marshmallow that already has their version of 3D Touch in the form of Force Touch. Weirdly though most of these devices will not get Nougat in the near future. Though the technology has existed for a while now with Apple’s iPhone it does not seem like its adoption will be widespread anytime soon. Android is a little bit late in the game for 3D Touch support in this case. Though it will be interesting to see what Android developers can come up with the technology, we also do not think that it would make a significant impact in the future for Android.
Other than that Andoird 7.0 Nougat might get support for Virtual Reality. Emphasis on the word ‘might’ though because it also may not be the case. As mentioned earlier the Developer Preview of Nougat has been out for a while leaving many to dig deeper into the menu and settings of the UI. A particularly curious developer actually found something called VR Helper buried deep in the settings menu. This indicates that there could be plans to bring native VR support to Android either in this upcoming Nougat or the next Android. The native support though means that Android devices can properly support go on VR mode without stressing its processor out and causing too much heat. This is a significant improvement because earlier versions of the Samsung Gear VR headsets poses this issue and causes the smartphone to heat up very quickly. VR support too could be useful for Google Tango support.
That was mostly what you can expect from Android Nougat. Not all of them might appear during the final announcement though so do not fully take our word for it. Of course it is not all fun and games, there are some things that you might lose as well in Nougat. The most significant loss in the upcoming Android Nougat might the one of the most distinctive feature it has compared to its competitor. The Nougat might lose its app drawer. You read that right, one of Android’s most distinguishable features will be no more. The Developer Previews for plenty of devices have so far done nothing to hide the fact that the app drawer might be missing in this next generation OS. The reasons behind the elimination of the app drawer have not been very clear. But without the app drawer we are plenty sure that the new Nougat will look and feel very different compared to its predecessors. This move does make sense in streamlining and flattening the UI of Nougat but we feel that it may cause a certain backlash from not just users, but competitors and manufacturing partners alike.
Now that you know the kinds of things to expect from Android’s latest and greatest 7.0 Nougat you should know which devices will get it first. As mentioned very early in this article one of the first devices that will get the Android 7.0 Nougat will be the Nexus devices by HTC. These will definitely be stock Android as usual. The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 that was just announced last night too will get its share of Nougat later on in the year. It looks like their country competitor, LG is going to get their Nougat share earlier though with their upcoming LG V20 in September, 2016. Yes, of course there are other devices that will get the Nougat as well. Of course the devices that receives the Android Nougat preview will get their share of the update some time later as well. There is however one particular iconic manufacturer that might join the fray into the Android family. Nokia might start developing smartphones based on Android. Of course they have done it before a long time ago with a heavily modified version of Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean. There are more surprises as well with Nougat; Pokémon Go players now have no worries as well when they update to Nougat. Pokémon Go has updated to support Nougat and x86 processors which means that it will be available for more devices now. Still no word on when the game will arrive to Malaysia though sadly.
It does not matter what will come with or what Android Nougat will lose though. Essentially the latest and greatest of Android will come with its own slew and improvements. It also looks like they are moving towards more gesture based UI while streamlining the experience. Whatever it is Google is up to with the 7.0 Nougat though we are very excited about the new version of the Android OS we know and love. Are you excited with what Android’s latest will bring to the table? Know anything else we do not? Let us know what you think of the OS in the comments.