What's New in Android 7.0 Nougat That Makes It Worth Installing

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2016-08-24
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    What's New in Android 7.0 Nougat That Makes It Worth Installing
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    What's New in Android 7.0 Nougat That Makes It Worth Installing

    Google is in the process of making Android 7.0 Nougat available to the public. When users do finally get access to the mobile OS, these features will make it worth installing.
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    The User Interface Is Unchanged
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    The User Interface Is Unchanged

    Google made few design tweaks to Nougat. Those who have been using Marshmallow and other recent Android versions will discover quickly that the feel is the same, with a Google Search bar at the top, easy access to Google apps at the bottom and few design enhancements. That could be a good thing for IT professionals who want employees to be productive and not held back by major design changes that require training.
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    View Multiple Windows Simultaneously
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    View Multiple Windows Simultaneously

    Nougat now comes with a new feature that lets two apps run side by side, designed to help users be more productive. For instance, users can view Twitter while they're watching a movie or check the news while they're updating their to-do lists.
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    Google Touts Better Graphics Support
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    Google Touts Better Graphics Support

    Nougat supports a new application programming interface called Vulkan that's designed specifically for graphics-intensive apps. The company says the API handles 3D graphics more effectively, allowing sophisticated app developers such as game makers to deliver "sharper graphics and eye-candy effects." It could dramatically enhance the app experience on Android.
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    Doze Mode Helps Conserve Battery Charge
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    Doze Mode Helps Conserve Battery Charge

    When battery life is a concern, Doze mode could be a useful feature. With Doze, users can go into low-power mode so background applications are kept at bay and battery usage is kept to a minimum. Doze also provides valuable insight into how much battery life is left, so users can determine when to turn it on.
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    Overhauled Notifications Look Nice
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    Overhauled Notifications Look Nice

    Android's notifications feature has received a major overhaul in Nougat. Now, when a notification such as a text message pops up, users have the ability to respond without opening another app. In addition, Google has added a feature called "Bundled Notifications" that allow users to see all the notifications they might have missed in a single pane. From there, users can either decide to clear them or tap on them to expand the item and get a full description.
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    A World of Virtual Reality
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    A World of Virtual Reality

    Google, like many other companies, believes virtual reality has a bright future, so it's built some new VR features into Nougat. The new operating system comes with a Virtual Reality mode that users can flick on and place themselves inside a 3D environment. The mode will work on phones that support Google's Daydream, a virtual-reality platform it's launching in the fall.
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    Control Data Usage
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    Control Data Usage

    Where cellular data usage is a concern, Nougat can help out. The operating system comes with a feature called Data Saver that, when turned on, will not allow apps running in the background to access any updates or content over cellular networks. Since many people are still on tiered data plans, that could be a critical feature in saving data—and cash.
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    Google Touts the Array of Emojis in Nougat
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    Google Touts the Array of Emojis in Nougat

    Emojis just don't seem to be going away. In fact, they're growing in numbers. To get a sense of just how important emojis have become, Google made that feature the first highlight in its roundup of additions to Nougat. The company says Nougat now comes with more than 1,500 emojis, including 72 new items, and users can type responses to text messages and other content in two or more languages at the same time with its new keyboard.
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    Google Has Enhanced Security
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    Google Has Enhanced Security

    Security is a major concern for both consumers and the enterprise, so it's perhaps no surprise that Google has upgraded security in Nougat. Now, users will find that "select" devices will have security updates automatically installed in the background. Nougat also includes file-based encryption to protect individual files, and offers a Direct Boot feature to ensure apps are running in a secure environment before a passcode is entered to unlock the device.
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    You Still Have Access to All the Familiar Google Apps
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    You Still Have Access to All the Familiar Google Apps

    Android has helped Google expand the popularity of its many cloud applications and services, including search, Chrome, Google Drive and others. As with previous Android versions, those who download the free Nougat upgrade will have easy access to Google's apps. And along the way, they'll get the standard Android experience before device makers add their own proprietary user interface skins.
 

After a series of betas and developer testing, Google's Android 7.0 Nougat is available to the public—with some caveats. For one, the operating system is available only on Nexus devices and the Pixel C, which means anyone running another Android device will need to wait a bit longer to get Nougat. Google says it will roll out the upgrade gradually, so not everyone will get immediate access to the operating system. But when they do, users will find there are some significant upgrades in Nougat, including the ability to view multiple windows at once, enhanced security and major improvements to notifications. Nougat also comes with enhanced support for virtual reality. However, some things haven't changed. The operating system hasn't received a major user interface redesign, and Google is still offering many of its own popular apps, including Chrome and Search. Yet, in all, Nougat is a nice upgrade over Marshmallow. This slide show will cover the features that might make it worth installing once it's available for your handset.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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