Previously dubbed “Android N” like an unknown number in a mathematical series, Google’s newest OS was finally baptized “Android 0.7 Nougat” in earlier this year. Just like we’ve had a few months to get used to the name, Google broke precedent by formalizing the developer version earlier than in past years and giving Beta testers and developers a few months to familiarize themselves the new OS.
Although most smartphones and tablet users won’t be able to get a hold of the new OS until later this year, Nougat is available now for select devices like Nexus 6, 5X, 6P, 9, Android One and Pixel C.
While most us of wait, here’s a rundown of our favorite Nougat features:
1. Multi-Window View: 2 Apps in Tandem
Perhaps the biggest change from Android Marshmallow is Nougat’s native support for the multi-window mode. This function allows the user to split the screen between two apps and allows you to customize the dimensions of each app so that they occupy a third, a half, or two-thirds of the screen. To use the multi-window feature, just double tap the applications icon.
2. “Doze” Reworked: Eke out Battery Autonomy
Doze was one of the most notable power-saving improvements of Marshmallow, but the feature only worked if the device was off and motionless. With Nougat 0.7, the Doze function can be activated even when you’re on the go, helping users to maximize battery life.
3. Notifications: Smarter System
To make notifications more compact and practical to reference, Google has completely redesigned the notifications system for Nougat with new options. Notifications are now grouped by application for easier handling. Furthermore, some apps have a quick response option to avoid even having to open the app.
4. Virtual Reality Mode: Daydream
Daydream is Google’s Virtual Reality, or “VR,” platform and is integrated into the new Nougat OS. Using Android and Google Cardboard, users were already able to connect their phones to a VR headset. Now, improvements to Daydream mean increased performance for better immersive experiences.
What we’re most excited about is the prospect of taking the proven power of the app store model and applying it to Virtual Reality. With over a billion Android users worldwide, Daydream is positioning Google to become the de-facto leader in VR experience distribution.
5. Security: Multi-Layered Protection
Android Nougat comes with an impressive panoply of security features to help keep threats at bay.
First, a boot check prevents the OS from loading if it’s corrupted.
Next, the Fingerprint password option utilizes biometric technology to control access to your device.
The OS also helps protect data privacy by automatically encrypting new data, and Sandbox limits the access that apps have to personal data.
There is also a system that verifies app origin by requiring apps to undergo a security check before they can be made available on Google Play.
Finally, built-in software monitors and controls app behavior before and after installation.
6. Languages: More Settings for Polyglot Users
Android Nougat allows users to select multiple languages in the settings so that searches return international results without the need for translation.
7. Emojis: More Fun, Fewer Words
Like the visual version of Orwell’s Newspeak, the ever-expanding gamut of Emojis is ushering in a future where words may not be so necessary. Nougat boasts 72 new emojis in both revamped blob and humanoid forms, bringing the total Emoji vocabulary to more than 1500.