On Monday, Google officially rolled out Android 7.0 Nougat to some Nexus devices. The update brings useful tools for business users who rely on an Android device to get work done.
Like all recent Android updates, Android 7.0 is coming to newer Nexus devices first. That means current generation devices like the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Nexus Player, and the Pixel C should be receiving over-the-air (OTA) updates starting Monday, August 22, with others to follow.
If you want to know more about Google Nexus, check out our Smart Person's Guide on the program here.
So, when will your phone get the update? That's difficult to say, because non-Nexus devices require the OEM to sign off on it before releasing it to users. Based on this helpful timeline of what happened with the Android 6.0 release, compiled by Android Authority, the best-case scenario might be a month or two, but you could end up waiting around five months or more.
Interestingly, Google also announced a new device coinciding with the release of Nougat. The LG V20 will be the first device released running Nougat right out of the box. Although no specific release date was given, Google said it is "coming soon."
SEE: BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Policy Template (Tech Pro Research)
Google released the first alpha quality Android N Developer Preview on March 9, 2016. The OS was officially announced at the 2016 Google I/O developer conference, and saw a few public betas before its Nexus release on Monday.
Now that it is here, albeit slightly ahead of Google's usual schedule, Android Nougat brings some functionality that could help all compatible Android phones be more competitive in the business world. For starters, Android for Work is getting Work Mode, which Google said "allows you to turn on and off your device's work apps and notifications for a better work, life balance." In theory, it will be easier to unplug on vacation or over the weekend.
Direct boot will allow you to see important communications immediately after booting, and features like file-based encryption and enhanced facial recognition will improve security. With Nougat, also, OS updates will download in the background, making it easier to stay up-to-date—a key step in keeping security strong.
Notifications are getting improvements with bundled notifications, so users can view all notifications from a specific app as a bundle. You will also now be able to reply to notifications directly from the notifications shade.
One of the biggest productivity improvements is split-screen mode. Devices made by certain companies like Samsung, Apple, and Windows have split-screen capabilities already, but a system-level support for the features in Android will go a long way to making Android a more welcome OS among professionals.
Still, these features won't solve all of Android's problems. Fragmentation is still a huge issue, with roughly 15% of users currently running Android 6.0 Marshmallow a full year after its release. At the time of this writing, about 35% of users were running some version of Lollipop and almost 30% were still on KitKat.
The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers
- Android 7.0 Nougat is officially rolling out to new Nexus devices like the Nexus 6, 5X, 6P, 9, Nexus Player, and the Pixel C, as of August 22, 2016.
- Nougat brings a host of updates that will improve its use among professionals, such as security updates, split-screen capabilities, and a Work Mode function.
- Despite the novelty of Android 7.0, the Android ecosystem still has to deal with the same issues of fragmentation and slow OEM releases that have plagued other releases.
- Google Nexus: The smart person's guide (TechRepublic)
- Android 7.0 Nougat released: What to expect on the Nexus 6P (ZDNet)
- AI, VR, messaging, and wearables: Everything you need to know from Google I/O 2016 (TechRepublic)
- The future of Android likely means the death of Android (ZDNet)
- Android N could stand for No App Drawer: Why that's an epic mistake (TechRepublic)
Conner Forrest has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.