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Android Nougat ( codenamed Android N during development) is the seventh major version and 14th original version of the
Android Android may refer to: Science and technology * Android (robot), a humanoid robot or synthetic organism designed to imitate a human * Android (operating system), Google's mobile operating system ** Android (operating system)#Mascot, Unnamed Androi ...

Android
operating system An operating system (OS) is system software System software is software designed to provide a platform for other software. Examples of system software include operating systems (OS) like macOS, Linux, Android (operating system), Android and Mi ...

operating system
. First released as an
alpha test version
alpha test version
on March 9, 2016, it was officially released on August 22, 2016, with
Nexus The Nexus is a Latin word for connection, usually where multiple elements meet. It may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Fictional entities * Nexus, a fictional place in the TV series ' (broadcast 1998–2006) * Nexus, a large, insect-lik ...

Nexus
devices being the first to receive the update. The
LG V20 LG V20 is an Android Android may refer to: Science and technology * Android (robot), a humanoid robot or synthetic organism designed to imitate a human * Android (operating system), Google's mobile operating system ** Android (operating system)# ...

LG V20
was the first smartphone released with Nougat. Nougat introduces notable changes to the operating system and its development platform, including the ability to display multiple apps on-screen at once in a split-screen view, support for inline replies to notifications, and an expanded Doze power-saving mode that restricts device functionality once the screen has been off for a period of time. Additionally, the platform switched to an
OpenJDK OpenJDK (Open Java Development Kit) is a free and open-source software, free and open-source implementation of the Java Platform, Standard Edition (Java SE). It is the result of an effort Sun Microsystems began in 2006. The implementation is licen ...
-based
Java Java ( id, Jawa, ; jv, ꦗꦮ; su, ) is one of the Greater Sunda Islands in Indonesia. It is bordered by the Indian Ocean to the south and the Java Sea to the north. With a population of 147.7 million people, Java is the world's List of ...
environment and received support for the Vulkan graphics rendering
API In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both computer hardware , hardware and soft ...

API
, and seamless system updates on supported devices. Nougat received positive reviews. The new app notification format received particular praise, while the multitasking interface was seen as a positive change, but reviewers experienced incompatible apps. Critics had mixed experiences with the Doze power-saving mode, but faster app installs and tweaks to the
user interface In the industrial design Industrial design is a process of design A design is a plan or specification for the construction of an object or system or for the implementation of an activity or process, or the result of that plan or specificati ...
were also reviewed positively. , 7.25% of Android devices run Nougat (no longer receiving security updates), with 4.26% on Android 7.0 and 2.99% using Android 7.1. Relatively higher proportion is using those versions on tablets than on smartphones.


History

The release was internally codenamed "New York Cheesecake". On March 9, 2016, ahead of the
Google I/O Google I/O (or simply I/O) is an annual Software development, developer Meeting, conference held by Google in Mountain View, California. "I/O" stands for input/output, as well as the slogan "Innovation in the Open". The event's format is similar to ...
developer conference, Google released the first
alpha Alpha (uppercase , lowercase ; grc, ἄλφα, ''álpha'', modern pronunciation ''álfa'') is the first letter Letter, letters, or literature may refer to: Characters typeface * Letter (alphabet) A letter is a segmental symbol A s ...
version of Android "N" as part of a new "Android Beta Program" intended for testing by developers and enthusiasts before official its release "this summer". The developer preview builds were compatible with only current
Google Nexus Google Nexus is a discontinued line of consumer electronic Consumer electronics or home electronics are electronic ( analog or digital) equipment intended for everyday use, typically in private homes. Consumer electronics include devices ...

Google Nexus
devices; the 5X, 6P,
6
6
,
9
9
,
Pixel C The Pixel C is a 10.2-inch (260 mm) Android (operating system), Android tablet computer, tablet developed and marketed by Google. The device was unveiled during a media event on September 29, 2015. On October 9, 2018, it was succeeded by the ...
, and
Nexus Player The Nexus Player is a digital media player co-developed by Google, Intel and Asus. It is the second media player in the Google Nexus family of consumer devices. Originally running the Android Lollipop, Android 5.0 ("Lollipop") operating system, it ...
. The "Android Beta Program" that was introduced allowed testers to opt-in for over-the-air updates to new beta versions as they were released. On April 13, 2016, Android N Beta Preview 2 was released. Google further discussed Android "N" during the I/O keynote on May 18, 2016, and unveiled its new
virtual reality Virtual reality (VR) is a Simulation, simulated experience that can be similar to or completely different from the real world. Applications of virtual reality include entertainment (particularly video games), education (such as medical or mil ...

virtual reality
platform,
Daydream Daydreaming is the stream of consciousness that detaches from current external tasks when attention drifts to a more personal and internal direction. This phenomenon is common in people's daily life shown by a large-scale study in which particip ...
. Beta Preview 3, the first preview release deemed suitable for wider public beta testing, was released at this time. Google also announced that it would hold a contest to determine the official release name of the operating system. Beta Preview 4 was released on June 15, 2016. On June 30, 2016, Google announced that N's release name would be "
Nougat Nougat ( , ; ; az, nuqa; fa, نوقا) is a family of confections made with sugar or honey, roasted nut (fruit), nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, and macadamia nuts are common), whipped egg whites, and sometimes chopped candied ...

Nougat
"; it was also confirmed that Nougat would be version 7.0 of Android. The final Beta Preview, 5, was released on July 18, 2016. Android 7.0 was officially released on August 22, 2016, with the Nexus 6, 5X, 6P, 9, Nexus Player, Pixel C, and General Mobile 4G as the first devices to receive the update. Dave Burke, Android's Vice President of Engineering, stated in August 2016 that updates to Nougat would be released quarterly as maintenance releases focusing on "continued refinements and polish". On September 6, 2016, LG announced the
V20
V20
, the first smartphone to ship with Nougat pre-installed. Google unveiled the first-party Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones during a hardware-focused event on October 4, 2016, with the Pixel phones replacing the Nexus series. Updates to existing devices vary by manufacturer and carrier, and driver support for the version by the manufacturer of a device's respective system-on-chip. Major manufacturers, including
HTC HTC Corporation ( zh, t=宏達國際電子股份有限公司, s=宏达国际电子股份有限公司, p=Hóngdá Guójì Diànzǐ Gǔfèn Yǒuxiàn Gōngsī, first=t) (High Tech Computer Corporation, literally ''Hongda International Electronics ...

HTC
,
Sony , commonly known as Sony and stylized as SONY, is a Japanese multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from mult ...

Sony
, and
Motorola Motorola, Inc. () was an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational sta ...

Motorola
announced intents to update a range of their recent devices to Nougat.
Qualcomm Qualcomm () is an American multinational corporation headquartered in San Diego, California, and Delaware General Corporation Law, incorporated in Delaware. It creates semiconductors, software, and services related to wireless technology. It ow ...

Qualcomm
stated that it would not support Nougat on devices using its
Snapdragon ''Antirrhinum'' is a genus Genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic rank Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term may also refer ...
800 and 801 system-on-chips for undisclosed reasons. Although developer preview builds of Nougat were released for the device, Sony stated that it would not upgrade the Xperia Z3 (which uses the Snapdragon 801) to the final version due to "unforeseen platform limitations". It was reported that the Google Compatibility Test Suite (whose tests must be passed in order to receive official certification) specified that all devices running Nougat must support either Vulkan or OpenGL ES 3.1 graphics APIs—neither of which are supported by the device's Adreno 330 graphics core. The
Fairphone 2 The Fairphone 2 is a touchscreen-based, dual-SIM smartphone, designed to be easily repaired by the user. It was the first modular smartphone available for purchase. It was first released in December 2015, and production ceased in 2018, and has s ...
is purported to be the only device with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chipset to provide official support for Android 7.1.2, delivering on their effort towards increased longevity for a more sustainable device. A post-release update known as Android 7.1 was pre-loaded onto Google's Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones released in October 2016; the new version added support for the
Google Daydream Daydream is a discontinued virtual reality Virtual reality (VR) is a Simulation, simulated experience that can be similar to or completely different from the real world. Applications of virtual reality include entertainment (e.g. video games ...
VR platform, image keyboards, expanded emoji support (including male and female versions), support for actions to be displayed in menus on home screen app shortcuts, and other new features. A preview of 7.1 for existing Nexus devices was released via Android Beta Program later in the month, and officially released as Android 7.1.1 on December 5, 2016. As of 7.1.1, the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 were considered end-of-life, and did not receive any further updates. Android 7.1.2 was released in April 2017, providing various improvements and minor functionality improvements to Nexus and Pixel-branded devices.


Features


User experience

Nougat redesigns the notification shade, which now features a smaller row of icons for settings, replacing notification cards with a new "sheet" design, and allowing inline replies for notifications. Multiple notifications from a single app can also be "bundled", and there is greater per-app control over notifications. A split-screen display mode was introduced for phones, in which two apps can be snapped to occupy halves of the screen. An experimental multi-window mode is also available as a hidden feature, where multiple apps can appear simultaneously on the screen in overlapping windows. The "Doze" power saving mechanism introduced in
Android Marshmallow Android Marshmallow ( codenamed Android M during development) is the sixth major version of the Android operating system and the 13th version of Android. First released as a beta Beta (, ; uppercase , lowercase , or cursive Cursive (also ...

Android Marshmallow
was expanded to include a state activated when the device is running and the screen has been off for a period of time but is not stationary. In this state, network activity is restricted, and apps are granted "maintenance windows" in which they can access the network and perform background tasks. As in Marshmallow, the full Doze state is activated if the device is stationary with its screen off for a period of time. A new "Data Saver" mode restricts background mobile data usage, and can trigger internal functions in apps that are designed to reduce bandwidth usage, such as capping the quality of streaming media.


Platform

In December 2015, Google announced that Android Nougat would switch its Java Runtime Environment from the defunct
Apache Harmony Apache Harmony is a retired open source Open source is source code that is made freely available for possible modification and redistribution. Products include permission to use the source code, design documents, or content of the product. The ...
to
OpenJDK OpenJDK (Open Java Development Kit) is a free and open-source software, free and open-source implementation of the Java Platform, Standard Edition (Java SE). It is the result of an effort Sun Microsystems began in 2006. The implementation is licen ...
—the official open source implementation of the Java platform maintained by
Oracle Corporation Oracle Corporation is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational ...
and the Java community. The
Android Runtime Android Runtime (ART) is an application runtime environment In computer programming, a runtime system, also called runtime environment, primarily implements portions of an execution model. This is not to be confused with the Run time (progra ...
(ART) now incorporates a profile-guided compilation system, utilizing a
JIT compiler In computing, just-in-time (JIT) compilation (also dynamic translation or run-time compilations) is a way of executing computer code that involves compiler, compilation during execution of a program – at Run time (program lifecycle phase), run ti ...
and profiling alongside its current ahead-of-time compiler to further optimize apps for a device's hardware and other conditions in the background. Nougat introduces a system for enabling "seamless", automatic system updates, based upon and sharing some code with the implementation of similar functionality on
Chrome OS Chrome OS (sometimes styled as chromeOS) is a Gentoo Linux Gentoo Linux (pronounced ) is a Linux distribution A Linux distribution (often abbreviated as distro) is an operating system An operating system (OS) is system software that m ...
. The system uses a pair of
SquashFS Squashfs is a compressed Compression may refer to: Physical science *Compression (physics), size reduction due to forces *Compression member, a structural element such as a column *Compressibility, susceptibility to compression *Gas compression ...
partitions; the Android system executes from an "online" partition, while updates are applied in the background to a redundant "offline" partition. On the next boot following the installation of an update, the redundant partition is designated as active to boot into the updated OS. This system removes the requirement for the device to reboot into the system recovery environment to apply the update (which prevents the device from being used until the update is complete), and also provides a backup of the existing OS in case of failure. Google chose to enable seamless updates only for devices shipped with Nougat (or later), rather than enabling earlier devices to support the feature after repartitioning. Additionally, due to the ART changes on Nougat, apps no longer need to be re-compiled upon the first boot after a system update. Developer Preview 2 added platform support for Vulkan, a new low-level 3D-rendering
API In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both computer hardware , hardware and soft ...

API
alternative to
OpenGL ES OpenGL for Embedded Systems (OpenGL ES or GLES) is a subset of the OpenGL OpenGL (Open Graphics Library) is a cross-language, cross-platform In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating c ...
with higher graphics performance. Nougat is the first version featuring
Unicode Unicode, formally the Unicode Standard, is an information technology Technical standard, standard for the consistent character encoding, encoding, representation, and handling of Character (computing), text expressed in most of the world's wri ...

Unicode
9.0 support, and comes with updated emoji, plus support for emoji skin tones. Android 7.1 adds native API support for implementing image keyboards; multi-endpoint telephones; shortcut menus and rounded icon assets for apps on launchers; and support for the
Google Daydream Daydream is a discontinued virtual reality Virtual reality (VR) is a Simulation, simulated experience that can be similar to or completely different from the real world. Applications of virtual reality include entertainment (e.g. video games ...
virtual reality Virtual reality (VR) is a Simulation, simulated experience that can be similar to or completely different from the real world. Applications of virtual reality include entertainment (particularly video games), education (such as medical or mil ...

virtual reality
platform. The Daydream environment includes a "sustained performance mode" to assist developers in optimizing apps to a device's thermal profile, a new head tracking algorithm which combines the input from various device sensors, and integration of system notifications into the VR user interface.


Security

In response to the Stagefright family of bugs disclosed and fixed in 2015, several changes were made to harden the media stack against future vulnerabilities. Runtime
integer overflow In computer programming, an integer overflow occurs when an arithmetic operation attempts to create a numeric value that is outside of the range that can be represented with a given number of digits – either higher than the maximum or lower t ...
detection was implemented, preventing the majority of Stagefright-like programming bugs from becoming vulnerabilities, in addition to helping fix and prevent such bugs. Android's monolithic ''MediaServer'' process was redesigned to better adhere to the
principle of least privilege In information security Information security, sometimes shortened to infosec, is the practice of protecting information by mitigating information risks. It is part of Risk management information systems, information risk management. It typically ...
. ''MediaServer'' is now split into several separate processes, each running in its own unprivileged
sandbox A sandbox is a sandpit A sandpit (most Commonwealth countries) or sandbox (US and Canada) is a low, wide container or shallow depression filled with soft (beach) in which can play. Sharp sand (as used in the building industry) is n ...
, and granted only the permissions required for its task. For example, only the ''AudioServer'' can access
Bluetooth Bluetooth is a short-range wireless Wireless communication (or just wireless, when the context allows) is the telecommunication, transfer of information between two or more points that do not use an electrical conductor as a medium by which ...

Bluetooth
, and ''libstagefright'' now runs within the ''MediaCodecService'' sandbox, which is only granted
GPU A graphics processing unit (GPU) is a specialized electronic circuit An electronic circuit is composed of individual electronic component An electronic component is any basic discrete device or physical entity in an electronic system Ele ...
access. Further constraints were placed on the media stack through
seccomp seccomp (short for secure computing mode) is a computer security facility in the Linux kernel The Linux kernel is a free and open-source, Monolithic kernel, monolithic, Modular design, modular, Computer multitasking, multitasking, Unix-like ope ...
. Various mechanisms were enabled to reduce the possibility of malicious code being injected and/or executed inside the
Linux kernel The Linux kernel is a free and open-source Free and open-source software (FOSS) is software that is both free software and open-source software where anyone is free software license, freely licensed to use, copy, study, and change the softwar ...
, including dividing kernel memory into logical segments for code and data, with
page Page most commonly refers to: * Page (paper) A page is one side of a leaf A leaf (plural leaves) is the principal lateral appendage of the , usually borne above ground and specialized for . The leaves, stem, flower and fruit togethe ...
access permissions of read-only and no-execute as appropriate. The kernel was also restricted from directly accessing user space memory, and stronger stack protection was enabled in the GCC compiler to reduce
stack smashing In software, a stack buffer overflow or stack buffer overrun occurs when a program writes to a memory Memory is the faculty of the brain by which data or information is encoded, stored, and retrieved when needed. It is the retention of informa ...
. To limit exposure of the kernel to potentially malicious code, perf was disabled by default,
ioctl In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both computer hardware , hardware and sof ...
commands were restricted by
SELinux Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux) is a Linux kernel The Linux kernel is a free and open-source Free and open-source software (FOSS) is software that is both free software and open-source software where anyone is free software license, fre ...
, and seccomp-bpf was enabled to grant processes the ability to restrict
system call In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both computer hardware , hardware and so ...
s. On devices shipping with Android Nougat, the "Verified Boot" policy (introduced partially on KitKat, and displaying notifications on startup on Marshmallow) must be strictly enforced. If system files are corrupted or otherwise modified, the operating system will only allow operation in a limited-use mode or will refuse to boot at all. Android Nougat supports an alternative drive encryption scheme known as "file-based encryption". As opposed to
full disk encryptionDisk encryption is a technology which protects information by converting it into unreadable code that cannot be deciphered easily by unauthorized people. Disk encryption uses disk encryption software or disk encryption hardware, hardware to encryptio ...
, it allows less-sensitive contents of the storage—such as operating system files—to be encrypted using only a hardware key rather than requiring credentials. Sensitive user data remains encrypted using credentials. File-based encryption removes the requirement for
pre-boot authentication Pre-boot authentication (PBA) or power-on authentication (POA) serves as an extension of the BIOS, Unified Extensible Firmware Interface, UEFI or boot firmware and guarantees a secure, tamper-proof environment external to the operating system as a ...
: instead, Android boots normally without additional intervention, but access to credential-protected data is restricted until the user unlocks the device for the first time ("Direct boot"). In the meantime, background services can access data they store in the device-encrypted context (such as alarms or messaging notifications, particularly after automatic reboots due to updates or crashes) to maintain limited functionality until the user unlocks the credential-encrypted storage.


Reception

Dieter Bohn of ''
The Verge ''The Verge'' is an American technology blog A blog (a truncation In mathematics and computer science, truncation is limiting the number of numerical digit, digits right of the decimal point. Truncation and floor function Truncati ...
'' praised the new multitasking interface in Android Nougat, calling it "long overdue" for Android tablets. Although he initially found the implementation "confusing", he wrote that it worked well once he understood it properly, though he noted that "some apps don’t fully support split screen, while others work fine but pop up a warning anyway". Bohn also liked the new way to reply to any message notification, stating "Android has long had an advantage in useful and consistent notifications" versus
iOS iOS (formerly iPhone OS) is a mobile operating system A mobile operating system is an operating system An operating system (OS) is system software System software is software designed to provide a platform for other software. Examples o ...

iOS
, and added "now that quick replies are standard on it I don't see that lead diminishing". He also noted "tweaks" throughout the OS as welcome changes, including quick toggles in the notification drawer, a Settings menu with more visual information, and a Camera app that has been "cleaned up a bit". Bohn stated that he didn't notice any significant battery improvements despite the Doze power-saving feature in Nougat. He also wrote extensively about the fact that, even though Nougat is "great", "it’s a shame it will take so long for anybody to see it", writing about the lack of updates to most Android devices, and that "unless you have a Nexus, it could be a few months, it could be a , before it becomes available on your phone". Chris Velazco of ''
Engadget ''Engadget'' is a multilingual technology blog A blog (a truncation In mathematics and computer science, truncation is limiting the number of numerical digit, digits right of the decimal point. Truncation and floor function Truncati ...
'' also praised the new, bundled app notifications, writing that prior Android versions' notifications "just sort of sit there" until interaction, but Nougat "does a much better job of bundling them by app and letting you get things done". He highlighted the ability to expand a bundled
Gmail Gmail is a free email service provided by Google. As of 2019, it had 1.5 billion active user (computing), users worldwide. A user typically accesses Gmail in a web browser or the official mobile app. Google also supports the use of email clie ...
notification to see subjects and senders of individual messages. Velazco stated that split-screen multitasking was a "big deal", but he also encountered non-compatible apps. Visual elements in the Settings app, quick toggles in the notification dropdown, and new language and emoji support were also positive highlights in the review. Velazco did note a battery improvement from the Doze power-saving feature, stating his "Nexus 6P seemed to gain about an hour or two of standby battery life". He also wrote that installing and launching apps might be "a little faster than usual" thanks to Nougat's new app compiler, and he hoped game developers would utilize the new Vulkan API for some "seriously good-looking mobile gaming".


See also

*
Android version history The version history of the Android Android may refer to: Science and technology * Android (robot), a humanoid robot or synthetic organism designed to imitate a human * Android (operating system), Google's mobile operating system ** Android (ope ...


References


External links

* {{Google Inc. 2016 software Android (operating system)