Android 7.0 Nougat

Android 7.0 Nougat

Nougat is now rolling out to Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge!

Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge owners, you might want to check your phone for updates.

Reports are coming in that Samsung is rolling out Android 7.0 Nougat to unlocked Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge units. This is not exclusive to those who signed up for the beta program – the Nougat beta program closed in late December and now the update is coming to phones running the stable OS.

For phones that were previously enrolled in the beta, the update weighs in at 214MB. Users on the stable channel should expect a larger package. According to the official changelog, version number NDRD90M.G935FXXU1DPLT brings Android 7.0 Nougat (not 7.1.1, the latest available version from Google), as well as changes to Samsung’s proprietary features, including:

  • new UX and various performance modes
  • improved usability of the Notification feature and Quick Settings button
  • improved usability of the Multi window feature
  • improved settings and features for Always-on Display
  • improvements in storage usage, app installation speed, and system update speeds.

The January security patches are bundled with this update. You can have a closer look at what Nougat looks like on the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge in our hands-on post here.

It looks like beta users are getting priority in the update cue, but regular users should be able to join in the fun over the next days. As always, the update is likely to hit unlocked phones first – carrier devices usually come with additional apps and software features that require more time to test and bring up to date.

Anyone here who got the update?

Nougat’s notification system is now a requirement for Android device makers

If you are an Android handset maker, you no longer can mess around with the operating system’s notification features. That is what was discovered in the latest update to Google’s Compatibility Definition Document for Android, with the new requirements made for smartphones that use Nougat 7.1.1.

See also:

5 best apps for notification and ringtones

October 25, 2016

While there was no indication that any of the many, many Android hardware OEMs was going to mess around with the operating system’s notification features, this new requirement from Google, as posted first by Android Police, will now allow all of these phones to have a more consistent experience going forward.

The rules now state that handset makers “MUST support the behaviors of updating, removing, replying to, and bundling notifications”. These rules include the “control notifications directly in the notification shade” along with the “visual affordance to trigger the control panel in the notification shade.” The rules also state phone makers must put in “the ability to BLOCK, MUTE and RESET notification preference from a package, both in the inline control panel as well as in the settings app.”

Again, there’s no word that these kinds of features were in any danger of not being used by Android device makers, but it’s clear that Google doesn’t want them to be tampered with in any way.

5 flagship features mid-range phones need in 2017

Although boundary pushing flagship smartphones garner most of the headlines, there’s a budding market for lower cost flagships and mid-range smartphones that is due for a shot in the arm. While there are some great handsets out there, manufacturers are often slow at bringing flagship features to their lowest cost models, which greatly devalues the potential of this important mid-tier.

When you can pick up last year’s flagship with better specs and more features at the same price as the latest mid-tier handsets, there often doesn’t appear to be much purpose to many of these models. So here are some features that I think manufacturers should hop on right away to make their handsets more appealing.

1 – Android Nougat out of the box

Pet peeve number one of any mid-range handset buyer is almost certainly receiving out of date software with a new purchase. Granted, most manufacturers were fast at adopting Marshmallow last year, although there are definitely a few remaining villains, particularly when it comes to releases outside of the West. I’m looking at you Meizu M3 Note, Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus, and the Micromax Canvas 6 Pro, for example. Lollipop was not cool in 2016 and nothing but Nougat will do in 2017. The OS has been out for more than 4 months now.

There’s no notable reason why vendors can’t spend the time preparing the latest version of Android for any new hardware release so that it’s ready to go out of the box. Furthermore, it would be grand if manufacturers would support their mid-range phones at least as long as their flagship models. Again, some manufacturers are better at this than others, but there are still too many lower cost phones that lose software support too quickly.

After all, why buy an unsupported mid-ranger if last year’s flagship is still set to receive another year’s worth of updates? On the bright side, Huawei is promising 2 years of updates with its $400 Honor 8, a trend others should follow.

5 flagship features mid-range phones need in 2017

2 – A USB Type-C port

Much like Nougat, there isn’t really a good reason that I can see for mid-range manufacturers not adopting USB Type-C ports this year too. The connectors and ICs aren’t vastly more expensive than before and the technology has the added bonus of bringing fast charging compatibility to handsets instantaneously. So no need to spend precious development costs of a Quick Charge or other custom solutions.

This isn’t just for the sake of keeping up with the new port either. If manufacturers expect to sell us on the world of Type-C digital headphones and other accessories, everyone is going to need access to them and not just flagship handset owners.

That being said, we’ll be more forgiving to manufacturers who release phones in areas where USB Type-C hardware and accessories aren’t so readily available. Still, what’s wrong with being a trailblazer? For what it is worth, CES showed that most phones coming this year will probably make the move to USB-C.

3 – Fast Charging

As we’ve mentioned, fast charging needs to hurry up and become universal for all mid-range phones. Just because I’m not buying the latest flagship doesn’t mean that I don’t need to charge my phone in a hurry or that my battery life is good enough to get my through the day. With mid-range handsets typically shipping with smaller sized batteries yet gradually packing in more powerful processing and display hardware, fast charging is surely required in many of today’s mid-tier products.

See also:

Qualcomm Quick Charge vs Oppo VOOC vs MediaTek PumpExpress+ vs Motorola TurboPower vs the others (updated)

February 4, 2016

Of course, there are extra things to consider when it comes to fast charging; cost being the major one, followed by SoC support if you’re looking for Qualcomm Quick Charge or MediaTek’s Pump Express options. Even so, if the $150 Moto G4 can ship with Quick Charge technology, there’s little excuse for manufacturers not to match this in 2017. Alternatively, manufacturers could kill two birds by opting for USB Type-C and its compulsory USB Power Delivery compatibility.

5 flagship features mid-range phones need in 2017

4 – NFC and mobile payments

NFC is another hit and miss technology in the mid-range market, and I’d like to see it become universal this year. The absence of NFC from some of OnePlus’ earlier handsets caused a bit of a stir, but there are still many manufacturers not including the technology in their more wallet friendly models. Some otherwise excellent mid-tier models sans-NFC include the Moto G4 Plus, Honor 5X, and the ASUS Zenfone 3, although you can pay more for this option in the Deluxe model.

NFC is useful for a few little things but its main lure these days is mobile payments, and it’s a shame that a number of handsets still aren’t catering to widely available systems like Android Pay. Especially when two, nearly three generation old flagship phones came equipped with the technology.

Furthermore, Samsung’s magnetic secure transmission (MST) technology, and LG’s rumored similar implementation, need to hurry up and trickle down to the company’s extended smartphone range. Samsung is expected to bring Samsung Pay to almost all of its phones this year, so let’s hope that this is the case. We’ll also have to see what Samsung Pay Mini has in store.

5 flagship features mid-range phones need in 2017

5 – Dual cameras

Dual cameras may still be a new flagship concept for some flagship manufacturers, but the technology is also very promising for improving the quality of mid-tier cameras setups too. This obviously requires more powerful processing technology than a single camera setup, but this type of hardware is already available at mid-tier price points.

For example, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 653 and 617 sport dual camera ISPs, as do the budget level 435 and 427 chip sets. Combining this image processing capability with ideas similar to Qualcomm’s Clear Sight technology, could produce a significant boost to image noise, contrast, and color vibrancy even using lower cost sensors. Even if monochrome designs aren’t implemented, higher end features like focus readjusting or enhanced zoom capabilities would of course be appreciated at a lower price point.

Recent mid-tier announcements like Huawei’s powerful $400 Honor 8 show that dual camera tech doesn’t have to be reserved for $800 flagships, and the Honor 6X has a similar setup at just $250. However, the new ZTE Blade V8 Pro has even implemented its own dual sensor design at an even more affordable $230 price point, along with NFC and a USB Type-C port. Mid-tier manufacturers should take note that the bar of 2017 is already set quite high.

See also:

Best low cost Android phones

3 weeks ago

Wrap Up

The falling cost of flagship hardware certainly makes all of the above achievable this year, and we have already seen a number of manufacturers releasing compelling cost effective flagships and mid-range smartphones that contain a number of features on the list. The $250 to $350 price point is starting to look increasingly competitive, and that’s going to pile on the pressure for ranges like Samsung’s Galaxy A and HTC’s Desire.

2017 could be a very exciting year for those looking to buy a quality handset on a budget. Do you have any of your own features that you would like to see hurry up and arrive in mid-range smartphones? Let us know about them in the comments below.

New Android distribution numbers ditch Froyo and show small Nougat rise

0

Android Nougat only saw a very small rise in the overall Android distribution numbers for January 2017, as posted today by Google. The 7.0 version of the OS came in at 0.5 percent for the month, compared to its 0.4 percent level in December. Android 7.1 Nougat made its first appearance on this list, at 0.2 percent. Combined, that means the latest version of Google’s OS is currently only available on 0,7 percent of all Android devices.

See also:

Android Nougat update: when will you get it?

3 weeks ago
New Android distribution numbers ditch Froyo and show small Nougat rise

The rest of the distribution numbers show Android 6.0 Marshmallow with 29.6 percent of the total install base in January, up quite a bit from its 26.3 percent in December. Lollipop (Android 5.0/5.1) came in with a total of 33.4 percent, down slightly from December’s 34 percent. KitKat (Android 4.4) is shown with a 22.6 percent share, down from December’s 24 percent. Jelly Bean (Android 4.1-4.3) claimed 11.6 percent in January, down from 12.8 percent in December.

The Ice Cream Sandwich and Gingerbread versions of the OS are still on the official distribution numbers, with 1.1 percent and 1.0 for each in January, respectively. However, Google has decided to finally ditch the old Froyo version of the OS, as its numbers have apparently gone down below 0.1 percent. You can get more more details on these stats, including the latest info on display screen size percentages, at the Android Developers site.

Asus rolling out Android Nougat update to ZenFone 3

We have some great news for those of you who use the Asus ZenFone 3. The smartphone, which was announced back in May 2016, shipped with Android Marshmallow on board. Now, Asus is rolling out the Android 7.0 Nougat update to the device.

The update is currently being sent out to users in the Philippines, but we expect that it will soon be available to users in other parts of the world as well. The update brings quite a few new features to the device including the popular multi-window support and an improved version of the Doze power management mode.

See also:

Asus ZenFone AR hands-on: Tango, Daydream, 8GB of RAM, oh my!

4 days ago

The update is currently being rolled out to both the 5.2-inch (ZE520KL) as well as the 5.5-inch (ZE552KL) version of the device. Aside from the difference in screen size, both smartphones come with the Snapdragon 625 chipset, a fingerprint scanner, a 16 MP primary camera with an f/2.0 aperture, and an 8 MP selfie snapper. The Asus ZenFone 3 is also quite easy on the eyes and features a glass back as well as a metal frame, which makes the device feel sturdy in the hand.

If you want to learn more about the device, feel free to check out our review of the Asus ZenFone 3.

Mi Note Pro, 4c and 4S beta testers wanted for Nougat based MIUI 8

Xiaomi is busy working away on its Android 7.0 Nougat based MIUI 8 software and is now looking for beta testers to help it iron out some of the remaining bugs, this time with its China ROM. Mi 4c, Mi 4S, and Mi Note Pro owners are invited to take part, as long as they’re active within the MIUI community and are willing to give feedback.

To participate, customers with the handsets listed above and willing to run the Chinese beta will need to download the MIUI Global Forum app. They can then head on over to the Recruitment tab on the homepage, and fill out their information. Successful applicants will then be contacted with download information for the beta ROM in the following days.

Of course, you’ll want to be familiar with flashing ROMs and making backups if you’re thinking about entering the beta program. Even then, users should be prepared for a few bugs and issues here and there, as this is beta software after all.

See also:

Android Nougat-based MIUI 8 beta applications begin for the Xiaomi Mi 5

November 29, 2016

The application deadline is set for January 10th, and successful applicants will be notified by January 13th. It’s not quite clear when the finaliszed version of MIUI 8 will arrive for these handsets, but hopefully it won’t be more than a couple of months away now.

Honor 6X to receive Android Nougat update in Q2

Yesterday, Honor launched the 6X smartphone in the US and a few European countries. The device, which offers a great price-performance ratio, ships with Android 6.0 Marshmallow on board.

However, Honor does plan on updating the device to the latest and greatest Android version, Nougat. During a presentation at CES yesterday, the company announced that the 6X smartphone will receive the Android Nougat update in the second quarter of the year (Q2). This means that it will hit the device sometime between April and June.

See also:

Honor 8 scheduled to get Nougat and EMUI 5.0 update in Feb. 2017

2 weeks ago

The update will also come with Huawei’s latest EMUI 5.0 user interface, which changes the look and feel of Android quite a bit. It does bring a few new features to the table when compared with the previous version of the UI, with the biggest one being the option to enable the app drawer.

You can pre-order the Honor 6X for $249.99 starting today in the US, while sales will officially kick off on January 10. In Europe, the smartphone will set you back €249 with sales starting today.

If you want to know more about the device, feel free to check out our recent review of the Honor 6X.

OnePlus 3T Nougat beta goes live, OnePlus 3 and 3T stable updates roll out tonight

It looks like OnePlus is working down to the wire to release its promised Android 7.0 Nougat stable updates for the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T by the end of 2016, at least in some time zones. The company has a Nougat beta update available to download for the 3T right now, and OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei stated via Twitter that the stable over-the-air Nougat update will begin to roll out tonight for both the 3 and 3T phones.

See also:

Android Nougat on the OnePlus 3 is impressive, even in beta

4 weeks ago

The OnePlus 3T beta update is the first, and likely only, OxygenOS 4.0 beta for that phone. The older OnePlus 3 phone has received 10 beta updates over the past several weeks. In his Twitter posts, Pei said the Nougat stable OTA update for the 3 and 3T will be a “gradual” one, so not every owner of those phones will likely get access to it tonight.

OnePlus promised that those phones would get Nougat before the end of the year. In follow-up posts on Twitter, Pei stated, “Many members of our R&D are not taking any time off to celebrate New Year. But we all feel proud to finally deliver on our promises. Thanks for all the support in 2016. I promise we’ll come back stronger in 2017, see you next year!”

Get OxygenOS Open Beta 1 for OnePlus 3T

Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus Android 7.0 Nougat update rolls out in India

The slow rollout of Android 7.0 Nougat to more and more smartphones continues today, as owners of the Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus in India can now finally download the latest version of the OS.

See also:

Android Nougat update: when will you get it?

1 week ago

In addition to the upgrade to Nougat, these new updates for Lenovo’s budget-priced smartphones also include the November Android security patches. Since this is a pretty large file to download, Moto G4 and G4 Plus owners in India are advised to connect to a Wi-Fi network to grab this major update. Their phones should also have at least a 50 percent charge beforehand. Finally, the company notes the file could take up to 20 minutes to successfully install on their phone.

If you’re a G4 or G4 Plus owner in India and have yet to receive the update, head to your device’s Settings menu, then choose About phone, then System update. As always the update may take a few days roll out to everyone, so don’t worry if you don’t receive the update right away. If you’re interested in seeing the full changelog for the update, head here.

Huawei expands its Nougat beta program to the Nova

Imagine a flashy press conference full of die-hard technology journalists. Now imagine an interminably long presentation that literally involved a full half hour of a pretty girl on stage explaining how to take the perfect selfie. To a room full of tech journalists.

That was my first introduction to the Huawei Nova, which at the time didn’t seem anything too special. A nice looking phone lacking any real substance. But since then I’ve come to know the Nova as a decent mid-ranger with fairly solid battery life, an experience unfortunately let down by its ugly and dated EMUI software layer.

See also:

You can make yourself look better with the new Microsoft Selfie app for Android

November 6, 2016

So it comes as a nice surprise to know that the Huawei Nova has just started receiving updates to Android 7.0 through Huawei’s Nougat beta program. Unfortunately the rollout is currently only available in China, so I can’t yet tell you if the Nova will inherit the excellent Nougat skin on the newer Mate 9. But for a device as obsessed with looks as the Nova, it was definitely in need of a software makeover.

Other Huawei devices on the same beta track include the Huawei P9 Plus and G9 Plus. Owners of the Huawei P9 and Mate 8 have already received their final Android Nougat update (at least in China). The firmware is version B321 and is currently available to select Nova units enrolled in the beta program.

How important are selfies to you? Do you like the old EMUI or the new one found on the Mate 9?

Up next: Learn how to master your camera’s manual mode