You can use the new shortcuts feature to bring users from the launcher directly to key actions within your app. Users simply long-press your app's launcher icon to reveal the app's shortcuts, then tap on a shortcut to jump to the associated action. These shortcuts are a great way to engage users, and they let you surface the functionality of your app even before users launch your app.
Each shortcut references an intent, each of which launches a specific action or task, and you can create a shortcut for any action that you can express as an intent. For example, you can create intents for sending a new text message, making a reservation, playing a video, continuing a game, loading a map location, and much more.
You can create shortcuts for your app statically by adding them to a resource file in the APK, or you can add them dynamically at runtime. Static shortcuts are ideal for common actions, and dynamic shortcuts let you highlight actions based on users' preferences, behaviour, location, and so on. You can offer up to five shortcuts in each of your apps. Note, however, that some launcher apps don't show every shortcut you've registered for your app.
After your app adds shortcuts, they're available on any launcher that supports them, such as the Pixel launcher (the default launcher on Pixel devices), the Now launcher (the default launcher on Nexus devices), and other launchers that provide support.
Any app can create shortcuts, and any launcher app can add support for shortcuts. Android 7.1 provides an API for apps to register shortcuts and launchers to read the registered shortcuts. For details, see the App Shortcuts developer
Image Keyboard Support
Users often want to communicate with emojis, stickers, and other kinds of rich content. In previous versions of Android, soft keyboards (also known as input method editors or IMEs) could send only unicode emojis to apps. For rich content, apps had to either build app-specific emojis that couldn't be used in other apps or use workarounds like sending images through an Easy Share Action or the clipboard.
Now in Android 7.1, the Android SDK includes the Commit Content API, which provides a universal way for IMEs to send images and other rich content directly to a text editor in an app. The API is also available in v13 Support Library as of revision 25.0.0.
Android 7.1 provides new features to improve VR thread scheduling. This is useful since virtual reality apps are very latency sensitive.