The latest version of Android, Google’s mobile operating system (OS) is finally here.
Android “Nougat” is starting to roll out on Monday, the company has announced.
However, it won’t be available on all — or even most — Android smartphones for a while.
The new OS is being made available for Nexus devices first, a suite of flagship smartphones designed by Google to showcase Android at its purest.
It is then up the individual handset manufacturers — Samsung, Motorola, LG, and so on — to push the update to their users. So if you have a Huawei phone, say, and the company doesn’t get around to rolling out Nougat to its users, then you’re out of luck.
This manufacturer-led distribution model produces significant fragmentation among Android users, and is in stark contrast to Apple’s top-down approach. While the majority of iPhone users will be using the latest version of iOS within weeks of its release, Android smartphone owners can be left using older versions of the OS years after a newer version is released.
So what’s actually in Android Nougat?
Nougat, the seventh version of Android, continues the Google tradition of naming its OSes after sweets and candy (Lollipop, Kit-Kat, Ice Cream Sandwich, etc.). Its name was unveiled back in June, and has been available for a while via a developer preview to help people develop apps for it.
Key new changes include the ability to run multiple apps side-by-side on the same screen (Multi-window), improvements to Doze, a battery-saving feature, and support for Daydream — Google’s new virtual reality platform which will be out later this year.
Nexus phones getting Nougat over “the coming weeks” include the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Nexus Player, Pixel C and General Mobile 4G (Android One).
The next non-Nexus phone to get Android Nougat will be the LG V20. It launches in early-September, and will come with Nougat pre-installed — no update required.
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