Google recently released Android 7.0 Nougat, but it is currently only available on the Nexus 6P, the Nexus 6 and a few other devices. You will have to get yourself a Nexus if you want to experience it firsthand. Alternatively, you can continue to read this, our Android Nougat versus Android Marshmallow comparison, to learn about some of the changes that Google has made.
Android 7.0 Nougat
Overall, there are more than 50 changes and new features in Android 7.0 Nougat, but not all of them are visible on the surface as many are changes to behind-the-scenes workings to improve performance and stability.
What devices is it available on?
After what seemed like years of fine-tuning and developer previews, Google at last feels that Android 7.0 Nougat is ready for the limelight. So it was rolled out on Monday to the following devices: Nexus 5X, Nexus 6, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, and Pixel C. It is expected that manufacturers such as Samsung and LG will begin to update their flagship handsets this coming Fall/Spring.
What’s new in Android 7.0 Nougat?
One of the most surprising things about Android 7.0 Nougat is how much support Google is giving it. During the recent announcement, Google briefly outlined an approach that is almost Apple-esque. It will be releasing regular “Maintenance Releases,” also referred to as “MR builds,” at unknown intervals so that users can test the Android 7.0.1 update ahead of time and before it’s released to the general public.
Google has promised that the first Android beta MR build will be available in a few months, probably during the Fall/Spring.
Split-screen and multi-window: Some of the more exciting new features in Android 7.0 Nougat are multi-window mode and split-screen multitasking, as shown in the image above. Unlike the multitasking and split-screen features found on Samsung and LG smartphones, these new Android 7.0 Nougat features support all apps.
Android Instant Apps: This is another hugely important addition to Android. Instant Apps will allow you to install a small part of an app (from a web link or search result) and allow a one-time instant app use. There’s no installing, and once you’re done with the app, Android discards it.
Notification Toggles: Similar to what has been seen on devices from the likes of Samsung for a long time, Google has now added small, easy-to-access settings toggles at the top of the notification pull-down area. This enables a user to instantly turn on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, adjust volume controls, search for Hotspots, and more, plus a long press now goes straight into more detail for a particular setting.
In the above picture, you can see Android 6.0 on the left and Android 7.0 Nougat on the right.
Quick Settings: This next new feature is similar to the previous one. The Quick Settings feature has been improved in Android 7.0 Nougat and can be accessed with a second swipe of a finger from the top of the screen; this brings down the full settings and notifications. What’s changed is that it is now fuller and fills the screen completely.
Android 7.0 Nougat Data Saver: While many users have unlimited data or access to Wi-Fi, not everyone is that lucky.
In Android N, this new Data Saver settings option will be very helpful. It does not seem to save on data usage like Google Chrome can, but it does appear to limit the amount of background data a device can use if set up correctly.
Night Mode: This next new feature has been available on Android for some time via third-party apps, plus there is something very similar available for jailbroken iPhones. What’s being called “Night Mode” allows a user to turn the settings menu dark instead of having to keep it bright white. This is a feature Android users have been asking about for a long time.
Night Mode also can be set to switch on at certain times of the day, instantly lowering the brightness of the display. Also there is also an option to alter the tint like in recent iOS betas.
Improved and Bundled Notifications: Probably the first thing a user will notice about Android 7.0 Nougat is its notification bar. For one thing, all similar notifications are now bundled together, and the notification bar offers more detail because it takes up the whole screen.
The multiple notifications in Android Nougat, in our opinion, do not look as clean as they do in Android Marshmallow. However, they are more useful. Users can now reply to a notification inside the notification area, and emails are bundled together.
Doze: When Google first announced Android Marshmallow, “Doze” was a highlight which placed a device into a low-power state/sleep mode when it was not being used. With Android 7.0 Nougat, Google has improved on it, making it more aggressive in the way it saves battery power.
Some early users of “Doze” say they can now get up to 30% extra battery time. Now when a handset’s or tablet’s screen has been off for a certain amount of time, Doze will run and start to do its thing.
The bottom line on Android 7.0 Nougat versus Android 6.0 Marshmallow
While the above is not the definitive list of every new feature added in Android 7.0 Nougat, it is clear to see that Google has focused on improving the overall user experience, starting with the settings and how much information is available.
For us, the most important addition could be the inclusion of real application multitasking, something that works with all apps. But the Doze battery saver could also prove to be a feature that future Android 7.0 Nougat users grow to love. No one likes to be chained to a plug socket while charging, so the chance of saving up to 30% battery power a day would be great.