Nougat is the name given by Google to its Android version 7.0. It was presented on May 18th of 2016 during the Google I/O developer conference organized by the Internet giant. It has gradually arrived on different smartphones, being Nexus 5X, Nexus 6, Nexus 6P and Pixel C the first handsets to be able to make use of it.
The main features and new functions present in Nougat
It gathers and updates the best features of previous versions of the operating system and incorporates new functions with the intention to enhance the user's productivity. Therefore, Android 7 Nougat stands out for the following:
- New ART application runtime with JIT (just in time) compilation that makes installing updating a much faster process.
- Project Svelte function that optimizes the consumption of RAM of apps running in the background, improving the performance of phones that lack memory.
- Doze function to save more battery that works with the device in movement. Its sleep mode affects system calls, access to GPS and WiFi networks and synchronization, but no important notifications.
- Greater graphical power thanks to the Vulkan API, helping games and other applications that use it to run better and much more fluidly.
- Function to switch quickly between applications that can be enabled by tapping the Recent button twice. The system will switch between open apps similarly to the Windows Alt+Tab command.
- Greater emphasis on the customization of the operating system, one of the main features of Android. For instance, the user can change the quick settings bar to his own liking.
- Interface without any major changes regarding Android 6 Marshmallow. It continues using Material Design introduced in Lollipop 5.0, although the notification bar, settings and the view of recent applications have been slightly redesigned.
- Certain aspects regarding productivity have been improved, including a native split-screen mode without having to resort to applications that forced this process as we had seen in different manufacturers like Samsung, Apple or Microsoft. This function allows us to use two applications at once so we can consider it as real multitasking.
- Update to the notifications system that groups them by types (although they can be expanded and viewed separately) and allows us to reply directly from them (in messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or Hangouts, for instance).
- New setting to configure the screen for people with eyesight problems, increasing or reducing the size of the different elements on our screen.
- Configuration suggestion system so the inexperienced users can make the most of the operating system and phone's features.
- Function to save data, reducing the consumption of network data as much as possible.
- Multilocal support that offers application in a second preferential language in the case of not being available in our first choice.
- Improvements to the file explorer that make it faster and more functional.
- Faster updates by means of a seamless system that reduces the waiting time when an app reboots to apply an update. Furthermore, these software updates can be carried out in the background.
Which Android devices will update to version 7?
Not all smartphones and tablets will be able to download Nougat and updated their firmware. For the time being, there are only a few manufacturers that offer Android devices capable of doing so:
- Pixel and Nexus: obviously, all Google phones will receive the update. Pixel and Pixel XL will natively incorporate Android 7.1, while all other Nexus, except 4, will progressively update automatically. We're talking about Nexus 6P, 5X, 6, 9, 9G, Pixel C and Nexus Player.
- HTC: the guys behind the Pixels will also have Android version 7 available for their HTC 10. However, other handsets like One A9 and One M9 also expect to receive an update.
- Sony: the models Xperia Z3+, Xperia Z4 Tablet, Xperia Z5, Xperia Z5 Compact, Xperia Z5 Premium, Xperia X, Xperia X Compact, Xperia XA, Xperia XA Ultra, Xperia X Performance and Xperia XZ will receive the update.
- LG: some of the devices made by the Korean company will also incorporate the new Android version. There are at least two handsets confirmed: LG G5 and LG V20.
- Lenovo: the former Motorola phones have been absorbed by the Chinese brand that maintains the Moto range. The following phones are expected to receive an update: Moto Z, Moto Z Force, Moto Z Play, Moto G4, Moto G4 Plus, Moto G4 Play, Moto X Style, Moto X Play, Moto X Force and Moto G 3rd Generation.
- OnePlus: it looks like OnePlus 3 will also run on Nougat. No other handsets have been confirmed yet.
If your phone is on the list, sooner or later you'll be able to download the update... if it isn't because you've got a BQ, Samsung or Huawei, you're going to have to wait for the time being because there's no magic wand that can grant you with an APK to download and install on your phone (although you can always resort to an emulator that allows you to run Nougat on Windows, for instance).
How to install Nougat?
It's a process that requires flashing the factory image of your device by means of Android SDK. However, as you've been able to read a few lines above, if your device doesn't figure on the last, you're not going to be able to make this version run.
iOS 10 or Android Nougat: which one's better?
That's the typical question that we're not going to be able to answer with a few lines. It's a personal decision and experience, as we're talking about two totally opposite software philosophies.
Both have their pros and cons and we can't forget about the main features that make them different: a closed system like Apple's against an open system like Google's, as well as the fact that the first one is optimized for only a few devices, whilst the latter is available on hundreds of models made by dozens of manufacturers that don't necessarily need to follow the same guidelines.