What to expect from Android Nougat as new OS rolls out

23 Aug 2016

The first commercially-available version of Android Nougat will make it to Nexus devices soon, and with it comes some new functionality, like split screens and smarter notifications tabs.

Android Nougat marks version 7.0 of the Google operating system, with it having been revealed to developers and the world at its latest I/O developers conference last May, before getting a grand unveiling the month after.

Set to launch on Nexus devices, Google claims there are more than 250 major features within the operating system (OS), but a few features definitely stand out.

Future Human

Dual app control

The biggest change from a usability perspective is the ability to switch to a split-screen mode, allowing the user to run two apps side-by-side.

The two apps working in tandem will be resizable to the phone’s screen by dragging the divider, making it a feature that is likely to be used by devices with your larger-than-average screen.

Another major part of the Nougat update is the reworking of notifications to make them both smarter and more useful.


Multi-screen functionality

Notifications get an overhaul

Following the update, users can now reply directly to notifications without having to open the app itself and notifications can be expanded if necessary through the tab.

Other notification features that appear to have transitioned from Google’s Android Wear operating system include the bundling of similar notifications.

This means that, say, if you receive a number of messages on WhatsApp, they will continue to load down into the one notification, rather than a series of notifications taking up your screen.

Recently-used apps also received an upgrade with Nougat as users can now switch between their two most recently-used apps by double-tapping the overview button.

Notifications tab

Replying through notifications

Quick control settings can be personalised

This updates from Marshmallow’s overview button, which just took you to a list of your most recent apps with thumbnails.

From a personalisation perspective, Nougat now lets you tinker with its quick settings control, allowing the user to add or remove tiles using an edit button on the right-hand side of the panel.

It is then just a case of pressing and dragging whatever tiles you want into whatever position you want.

These new adaptable quick settings are also important for developers who will now be able to add their own custom quick settings within apps.

While on the subject of developers, the ability to add multi-locale support has also been added with Nougat, meaning that apps can now tailor their content based on the user’s location.

For example, if you speak multiple languages, search engines will be able to show results in each of those languages.

LG V20

The soon-to-be launched LG V20

LG V20 device launching in September

Not forgetting the many, many people who love messaging and emojis, Nougat comes with 72 new Unicode emojis, including a new selfie emoji, as well as updates to many of the more familiar faces.

For lovers of everything virtual reality (VR), Nougat will be the first Google operating system compatible with is upcoming VR headset, Daydream.

Google has said that Nougat will be gradually rolled out to its own Nexus devices over the coming weeks, as well as to those who have signed up to the Android Beta programme.

Meanwhile, it will be a case of playing the waiting game for other Android users, with its roll-out being at the discretion of the manufacturer.

However, the first phone to come with Nougat as its factory standard will be the upcoming LG V20, which is expected to be formally announced on 6 September, but won’t be released until later that month.

Update 11:33 23/08/2016

This article has been amended to reflect that Nougat is Android 7.0, not the seventh iteration of the operating system.

Nougat image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic