Google has begun rolling out Android 7.0 Nougat, the newest version of its mobile operating system.
In keeping with the usual schedule for such rollouts, Google's family of Nexus devices will receive the new OS in the next few days and weeks. Owners of Nexus 6, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Nexus Player, Pixel C and General Mobile 4G will get the new operating system as an over-the-air update on their devices.
But it could be months before users of Android devices from most other manufacturers get the upgrade on their systems. The LG V20 from LG will be the first non-Google device to feature the new operating system version. LG has said it hopes to introduce the new model sometime in the third quarter of this year.
Google's rollout comes about five months after the company offered developers a preview version of Android 7.0 so they could develop new applications for it in time for the official launch.
According to Google, Android Nougat packs more than 250 major features, many of them based on input from developers and users of the operating system. In a blog post this week, Sameer Samat, the vice president of product management for Google's Android & Play group, highlighted some of the more important ones for users.
Among them are new personalization options and features for increasing user productivity and for improving device security and battery life.
The new personalization options include a Quick Setting control that is designed to give users quicker access to the functions and apps they use most frequently, like Bluetooth, WiFi and the flashlight app. Android Nougat also comes with a multi-locale support feature so applications serve up content based on a user's locale setting. For instance, a user who speaks multiple languages will be able to get search results served up in each of those languages, Samat said.
New Android Nougat features like Multi-window, Direct Reply and Quick Switch give device owners a way to do more with their devices. Multi-window support, for instance, allows users to run two applications side-by-side in easily resizable windows on the display. The Direct Reply setting enables device owners to respond to notifications without opening any application, while Quick Switch is a feature for switching between the most recently used apps on a device.
Android Nougat also builds on the battery-saving features that Google introduced with Marshmallow, the previous version of the operating system. The Doze feature in Nougat, for instance, is smarter and capable of automatically dropping an Android device into a lower power usage mode when the device is getting jostled about in a user's bag or pocket, Samat noted.
From an enterprise standpoint, Nougat introduces two important new security features. Devices running the operating system will support file-based encryption as well as a Direct Boot capability for running applications securely when a device is booting up. The encryption feature allows users to isolate and protect files for individual users on a device.
Android devices running Nougat will also be capable of installing software updates completely in the background while the device is in use, according to Google.