Google’s latest Android 7.0 Nougat made its official debut earlier this week, bringing a slew of enhancements, tweaks and cool features to improve the overall experience.
Android 7.0 Nougat is already available for download for select devices such as the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Nexus Player, the Google Pixel C and the Android One General Mobile 4G.
If you’re a proud owner of one of these devices and want to get a taste of the latest OS, here are the top features you’ll love about Android 7.0 Nougat.
1. Enhanced UI And Better Notifications
Since the visual changes are the first ones you’ll see as soon as you boot up your Nougat device, the tweaked UI deserves a special mention. Android 7.0 Nougat brings instant control toggles when swiping down from the top of the screen, improving the way you can activate or deactivate Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and more.
The notification menu, meanwhile, gets a cool overhaul that makes better use of available on-screen space, sporting smaller fonts and bundling all notifications from the same app. Moreover, a new Direct Reply feature now enables users to reply to messages faster and easier, straight from notifications, as Google finally enabled the feature for third-party apps as well. Another useful trick is pressing and holding on a notification to access the app’s settings, which makes things arguably more convenient.
- Instant Apps
Google’s new Instant Apps may well be the greatest change to app stores in ages, significantly facilitating access to apps. Instant Apps basically allow Android users to start using an application immediately in the Play Store, without even having to download it. With Android Nougat, you can simply open the Google Play store page for an app and start using it instantly, so you can try it out before deciding whether to download it or not. This could be a real game-changer for how we try out new apps.
- Power Saving
One of the most commended features of Android 6.0 Marshmallow was Doze, which brought neat battery optimizations to keep devices running for longer on a single charge. Google is now taking things to the next level with Android 7.0 Nougat, introducing “Doze on the Go.”
While the Doze in Marshmallow placed devices in a dormant state when not in use, Doze on the Go offers power-saving features even when in motion, whenever the display is off. Another neat feature called Project Svelte, meanwhile, keeps apps from waking up when detecting changes in the device’s network connection.
4. Vulkan API Support
With Vulkan API support on board, Android 7.0 Nougat should substantially improve the quality of mobile gaming, virtual reality experiences and other graphics-intensive applications. Vulcan is designed to replace OpenGL and deliver a smoother, more streamlined cross-platform game development process. As a result, mobile games should be more power efficient, work more smoothly and look better.
5. Lower System Requirements
Google started a while back to make its mobile operating system lighter, so to say, aiming to make Android work well even on devices with less impressive specifications.
Android Nougat now rocks tighter core components, lowering the system requirements to run faster on devices with lower-end hardware. This builds on the efforts Google made in earlier versions of Android, starting with KitKat.
6. Daydream VR
Google Cardboard is nothing compared to the ambitious Daydream VR, the company’s latest platform for virtual reality. Daydream VR pairs VR headsets and controllers with an Android Nougat-based UI designed to facilitate discovery and consumption of VR content. Moreover, Daydream VR will rock an impressively low 20 ms latency, which should translate to the best mobile VR experience yet.
On the downside, Daydream VR will only be compatible with a few new handsets, which means that current devices will most likely not be able to support the platform. Future flagships, however, should have no problem getting the most out of Daydream VR.
7. Seamless Updates
Android 7.0 Nougat will minimize disruptions by introducing seamless updates, borrowing a page from the Chrome OS playbook. Simply put, the system will discretely download the OTA update in the background when connected to Wi-Fi, and install them as separate system images on the device storage. This means that you’ll be able to continue using an app even while it’s updating in the background, as Nougat allows two system images to run at the same time. The latest system image will automatically boot up upon restarting the device.
8. Google Allo
Android Nougat finally brings Google Allo to the table, arriving as a cool new messaging app that taps Google’s powerful search, security technology and machine learning. Allo will allow users to make web searches and bookings quickly and easily, without having to leave a conversation. The app is also designed to offer suggestions for message replies, based on what messages and photos you’ve received.
Moreover, Google Allo also sports an “Incognito Chat” mode that not only protects messages with end-to-end encryption, but also allows users to set timers for when they want messages to expire.
9. Google Duo
Neatly complementing the Allo messaging app, Google Duo is the company’s new video calling app, aiming to make video calling easier than ever. At the same time, Duo also doubles down on security, ensuring end-to-end encryption for all calls. Google Duo quickly soared to the top of the Play Store, ranking as the top free app.
10. Better Multitasking With Quick Switch And Multi-Window
Google has always handled multitasking quite proficiently with Android, but Nougat makes everything better. Quick Switch, for instance, will allow users to seamlessly switch to the last used app simply by double-tapping the Recent button.
Speaking of the Recent menu, Android 7.0 Nougat also introduces a new Clear All Button, which was missing from the stock version of Android Marshmallow.
Multi-window makes use of the Recent menu as well, allowing users to easily open an app from another app. More specifically, if you press the Recent button while you’re using an app, you’ll have the option to select another app to open alongside your current one. Both apps will work simultaneously in a split-screen view. This should significantly improve productivity, especially since you’ll be able to drag items from one app to another when both are open in split-screen view.