3D Touch type, but on Android
This was exclusive to Pixel phones thus far, but the Android 7.1.1 update now adds the app short cuts for all phones—if you tap and hold an app’s icon, a sub-menu of certain app-specific quick options pop up on the screen. This makes some tasks quicker.
Want to run two applications side by side on the same screen? Well, you can do so now. All you need to do is press the recent apps/multitasking button and choose the two apps you want to see on the display— you can browse the Web while working on a document, scribble a note while chatting and much more. You can even drag and drop text and images from one app to the other. This was a feature that we had seen some phone manufacturers (Samsung’s Galaxy phones, for example) use in their Android devices, but with Nougat, it is accessible to anyone with the latest version of Android.
Double tap to switch apps
Working on an email but want to go to the website you were just browsing to pick up some information from it? Well, all you need to do is double tap the multi-tasking or recent apps button and the app you had previously used will open up. To return to your current app, simply double tap the button again.
Reply from the notification bar
Often, we get a new message notification even as we are working on another task. Opening the message app to respond can be a little distracting. With Android Nougat, however, you can respond to messages from the notification itself, with no need to exit the current app.
Smartphone apps tend to be sending and receiving data, even when in the background. If you don’t have a 3G or 4G data plan which packs in lots of bundled data, it can turn out to be an expensive proposition at times. In Android Nougat, you can simply go to the Data Savings mode and specify which app can access data in the background, and which cannot.
Better notification controls
Want to stop notifications from a particular app that is bugging you? With Android Nougat, you don’t need to sift through the individual app’s settings. Simply pull down the notification bar, choose the app whose notifications you want to deal with and you will get options to “show notifications silently”, “block all notifications” or “don’t silence or block”. Now, you are in charge of who disturbs you and when.
Emojis—those tiny icons that pop up in messages—are now an integral part of most of our conversations. And with Nougat, Android is diversifying its emoji range to offer a wider selection depicting a range of professions for women and men, etc. Also, users can now send animated GIF images directly from the on-screen keyboard while using supported apps such as Google Allo, Google Messenger and Hangouts.
Is the OS coming to your phone?
As per Google’s own numbers, Android Nougat is available on only 0.4% of smartphones globally, and that includes the Google Pixel XL, Google Pixel and Nexus 6P. This will change significantly this month, with a lot of phone makers rolling out updates for their Android devices.
Taiwanese smartphone-maker HTC is now delivering the Android Nougat update for the HTC 10 globally, with the One A9 and the One M9 next in line for the new software. LG has launched the V20 smartphone with Android 7.0 Nougat, and is rolling out the update for the G5 as well. OnePlus has also indicated that the 3 and the 3T will get the Android Nougat software before the end of the year, most likely the update will roll out for both phones at the same time. Sony is already rolling out the newest Android to the Xperia XZ and X Performance smartphones, and some of the older Xperia phones in the line-up are also due for updates, over the next few weeks.
At the same time, the likes of Motorola, Samsung and BlackBerry have not been given any concrete timeline about rolling out Android Nougat for their flagship or mid-range phones just yet. If you happen to be using a smartphone from these brands, for example, chances are that you’re looking at a significant wait before Nougat reaches your phones.