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Android 7.0 Nougat will only be interesting on new phones

Android Nougat is a reality and Google's Nexus devices are being upgraded to the new software as I type this. The source code will soon be released to all manufacturers so they can begin tinkering with it. After this they'll start rolling out Nougat. And then, somewhere down the line, you too may get a chance to use the new software.

New devices will be the real beneficiaries of Nougat

In recent months, we have been witness to Android's next steps. The N developer previews have unfolded before our eyes. Besides the new features, the strongest point of the new version 7.0 is, arguably, its Beta program.

This means that hundreds of thousands of users around the world hold a testing ground for new updates, something that will speed up the rate at which errors are addressed and bugs fixed, increasing the reliability and stability of updates – at least in Nexus devices.

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Nexus 6, Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X are already receiving the upgrade to Nougat. / © AndroidPIT

But when will those who don't use a modern stock Android device (the vast majority of us) benefit from such a system upgrade? The answer may be a little hard to swallow. Realistically, most of us are going to enjoy Android Nougat only when we upgrade our smartphone.

The first example of this new wave of Android devices in the Nougat series is the LG V20. Successor to the V10, this phone will be the face of the new Android software, an honor traditionally reserved for Nexus devices. This change in Google's strategy may indicate closer cooperation with manufacturers in the development of its new software versions – which could lead to faster updates all around. Whether or not this will happen remains to be seen.

Android Nougat set off early but will still arrive late

The evolution of Android's past versions may give us clues as to the rollout of Nougat over the next year. After about 11 months, the last version of Android, Marshmallow, is running on 15.2 percent. 

If you look at the chart below, we can see how the rollout of the first versions of Android occurred fastest. With successive versions, that curve becomes more and more pronounced; it's taking longer and longer for Android updates to reach users. This is the great problem with Google's operating system: fragmentation.

android historical distribution wiki commons Erikrespo
Percentage of Android devices upgraded to each Android version over time. / © Wikimedia Commons - Erikrespo

Here we see that Android Lollipop is yet to make its way to even 50 percent of devices, two years after it was first released. And once your phone reaches two years old, it might as well be an antique.

New challenges for Android Nougat

The good news is that this year we have seen some positive changes. For starters, the introduction of the aforementioned Android Beta program has already been adopted by manufacturers such as Sony. 

Although it's not official, a leaked Android Nougat build for the Huawei P9 made its way online in July. This gives us hope for other manufacturers, as Huawei is an OEM whose custom Android layer – EMUI – is one of the more 'aggressive' skins. This would usually slow down the process of upgrading devices, but Huawei is apparently way ahead of the game.

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Android Nougat on a Xperia Z3. / © AndroidPIT
Luis Ortega
Android 7.0 Nougat's features will only be worthwhile on new phones
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Android 7.0 also includes support for Vulkan and DayDream, two of the best advances we've had in Android since the incorporation of the battery saving Doze feature in Marshmallow. The first will improve the graphical fidelity in games and the second is a new VR platform that's expected to bring virtual reality further into the mainstream.

To enjoy these advances, you'll need a modern smartphone with a powerful processor and enough RAM to support it. Most of the smartphones currently available won't be able to take full advantage of these features, either because they aren't powerful enough or because they simply won't receive the update to to Nougat. The future of Android 7.0 Nougat also lies with future smartphones.

Do you think Android Nougat will arrive on your current smartphone? Let us know in the comments.


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  • Hey tell me when will Google release Android N for micromax A1

  • I'm still pissed off that they skipped the opportunity to name it Nutella.

    Damn it... It would have been so smooth to say. Android Nutella.

  • Sbee 1 month ago Link to comment

    There will definitely be other ways to enjoy Nougat especially with Nougat based ROM'S and skins, I stopped bothering my pretty head about when or will I ever get M on my one plus x phone, I simply went for CM13 and have no regrets. The best thing about Android phones is the development work behind the scenes and the constant experiments and improvements being made to platforms via custom roms and kernels, so I'm not worried as long as there's 'rooting' and the platform remains open source there'll always be an Android N based custom rom to flash that will give you all the benefits of Nougat and even better and more. So don't worry all will be well. Google can stuff itself where the sun don't shine....

  • Anik 1 month ago Link to comment

    It's not much a question of new features, rather it's a question of speed improvement from the updates. I previously had a Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini running a Android 4.4.2 Kit Kat, whereas now I've got a Nexus 5X running Android 6.0 Marshmallow (first), Android 7.0 Nougat (Beta) later, and now I've already got the official new version of it. I practically passed from Kit Kat to Nougat in less than six months, without never even seeing how Android Lollipop was. The real problem is the updates for non-Nexus devices. That is what Google and the manufacturing companies should work on before concentrating on introducing new features.

  • I've only just got Marshmallow on my Note 4. The phone is probably powerful enough to run Nougat, but I doubt it will get it!

  • Eric 1 month ago Link to comment

    most people are on contracts and can upgrade there devices after 1 or 2yrs but for people who purchase a device this will be a huge let down unless they purchased a nexus device and also most people upgrade there contract devices after 1 or 2yrs so this for them is no big deal again it will hit the users who purchase a device which is a shame, I think ALL devices should be upgraded via Google for 3yrs after its registered, we all sign in to Google with new device so from that day the OS should be upgraded from Google BUT manufacturers will never allow this after all not upgrading OS on devices is really how they make all there money

  • everybody is not enough rich to buy new phone every year.....companies are only thinking abt money not about their customers

  • Even Android Nougat will arrive on current smartphone, I don't think my old phone on hand can support Nougat.

  • Don't know about you, but personally I can't be bothered updating my phone every 2 years. It takes me that long to get it set the way I want it, and I still love my Huawei Mate 7. Looks like I'll be sticking with Lollipop too.

  • Developers must get their newest phones for free. The average American cant keep up with the changing technology. Left behind, they wonder why they cant even make middle ground. Frustrating at best for smartphone users.

  • vikaa 2 months ago Link to comment

    No update, stayed on Lollipop only

  • Already on my phone. I have a Nexus 6P. Waiting for Xposed and other things before I personally update.

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