Google announced today that it has begun rolling out Android 7.1.1 Nougat for its Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones and several supported Nexus devices. Additionally, Android 7.1.1 Nougat is being pushed to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) so that handset makers can begin integrating it into their own devices.
As you can guess from its name, Android 7.1.1 Nougat is a minor, incremental update that builds on the previous “Nougat” releases, including Android 7.0, which was for Pixel and Pixel XL only, and Android 7.1, which was for Nexus and other devices too.
I’ve written about Android 7.x a few times, but some key new features in Android 7.1.1 Nougat are:
App shortcuts. Any app can specify up to five app shortcuts that place icons on the user’s home screen and let them navigate to a specific experience within the app. An email app could provide a shortcut for a specific email folder or whatever, for example.
Round icons. I know, semi-superfluous. But developers can now support the round icon style that Google debuted on the Pixel and Pixel XL.
Image keyboard. Apps that provide soft (or virtual) keyboards can now support rich content of all kinds, and not just unicode emoji.
You can find a complete list of Android 7.1.1 developer features here; it’s a good starting point for the functional improvements that users will see. But the big question is when those users will actually see Android 7.1.1.
“We expect Android 7.1.1 to reach all eligible devices over the next several weeks,” Google VP Dave Burke writes. “Pixel and Pixel XL devices will get the over-the-air (OTA) update, as will Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, Nexus Player, Pixel C, and General Mobile 4G (Android One) devices. Devices enrolled in the Android Beta Program will receive the final version as well … We’ve also been working with our device manufacturer partners to bring Android 7.1.1 to their devices in the months ahead.”
Looking ahead, Android Nougat will see further refinements and bug fixes in a future incremental update, Google says.
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