Click To View Slideshow» Android's latest upgrade isn't a revolutionary break from 6.0 Marshmallow, but it still comes packed with some helpful little surprises.
I have good news and bad. There's a new, candy-themed version of Android. Huzzah! But unless you have one of the latest Nexus devices (or the new LG V20), you'll probably have to wait some indeterminable amount of time to sink your teeth into Android 7.0 Nougat.
Here's a very specific kind of dumbness that my fellow Androidians may be able to relate to: On the desk in front of me sits a brand spanking new Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and a three-year-old Asus Nexus 7 tablet. Nougat arrived on Aug. 22, but neither the S7 Edge nor the tablet from the Nexus family of devices that's supposed to get these updates pronto have received Android 7.0.
The Nougat rollout is already shaping up to be yet another frustratingly prolonged Android update. I love me some Android, but boy do these rollouts stand in stark contrast to the lightning-quick updates delivered en masse to our iOS brethren. (What's up, iOS 10!)
The Android conundrum is a classic clusterfudge of too many interested parties: Google releases a new version of Android each year and gives it to the world for free, just like Apple. BUT then the two processes begin to diverge. Each device manufacturer (your Samsungs, LGs, and HTCs of the world) feels compelled to create their own spin on Android, which requires further tinkering and testing before it's let loose into the wild. THEN the carriers have to confirm all these various flavors of Android work nicely with their networks. Oy.
There is, however, one upside to working with all these chefs—many new ideas get into the mix. It's a weird form of bottom-up democracy where each OEM adds their own little flavor (including all new features), which Google often makes standard in future generations of Android (e.g. the ability to reply to an SMS directly in the notification shade, which you can now do in stock Nougat, but has been available in Samsung phones for several generations). While Apple users are usually the first to receive the latest stable release of a new OS, Android users are often the first to get a splashy new software feature. (Enjoy your latest up-to-date OS, Appleface, I'll just be over here enjoying my live-updating widgets #boom.)
Click through our slideshow of nine cool new things that now come standard inside the stock version of Nougat. Note that I tested these on a new Nexus 6P. Some of these features may not be available on your device whenever you eventually get Nougat, and I cannot guarantee that they will work in exact same way. Good luck, people.
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