Android Nougat (codenamed Android N during development) is the seventh major version of the Android operating system. First released as an alpha test version on 9 March 2016, it was officially released on 22 August 2016, with Nexus devices being the first to receive the update. The 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-based Java environment and received support for the Vulkan graphics rendering 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 were also reviewed positively.
As of 7 July 2017, 11.5% of devices that access Google Play run Nougat, with 10.6% on Android 7.0 and 0.9% on Android 7.1
This OS comes with RAW GNSS Data access which is very useful for developers and normal users who are interested for decimeter level accurate location from the smart phone GNSS sensor. Now the RAW GNSS data is available for Developers via the Android Nougat API V24. Carrier phase measurement which can be used in conjunction with correction data from internet based PPP sources. previously this data was hidden behind hardware driver layers developers has access only to Processed outputs. Google had announcedthis feature in May 2016 in its IO2016 conference and demonstrated the feature with supported Application software and Matlab Code for further processing of GNSS data. All of the codes available in github.
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. This feature is implemented via existility on Android Wear. 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 was expanded to include a state activated when the device is running on battery 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.
In December 2015, Google announced that Android Nougat would switch its Java Runtime Environment from the defunct Apache Harmony to OpenJDK—the official open source implementation of the Java platform maintained by Oracle Corporation and the Java community. The Android Runtime (ART) now incorporates a profile-guided compilationsystem, utilizing a JIT compiler 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. The system uses a pair of SquashFS 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, and the device henceforth boots into the updated system. The previous system partition is kept as a backup in case of update failure, and to serve as the "offline" partition for the next update. 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 the ability for an update to be automatically rolled back in case of a failure. Due to the partitioning requirements of this system, existing devices will not support seamless updates. Additionally, due to the ART changes on Nougat, apps no longer need to be re-compiled upon the first boot after a system update.
Android 7.1 adds native API support for implementing image keyboards; multi-endpoint telephony; shortcut menus and rounded icon assets for apps on launchers; and support for the Google Daydream virtual
reality platform. The Google Daydream feature is a specific "VR mode", with advanced technology for reduced graphics latency, 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.
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 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. MediaServer is now split into several separate processes, each running in its own unprivileged sandbox, and granted only the permissions required for its task. For example, only the AudioServer can access Bluetooth, and libstagefright now runs within the MediaCodecService sandbox, which is only granted GPU access. Further constraints were placed on the media stack through seccomp.
Various mechanisms were enabled to reduce the possibility of malicious code being injected and/or executed inside the Linux kernel, including dividing kernel memory into logical segments for code and data, with page 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. To limit exposure of the kernel to potentially malicious code, perf was disabled by default, ioctl commands were restricted by SELinux, and seccomp-bpf was enabled to grant processes the ability to restrict system calls.
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 refuse to boot at all.
Dieter Bohn of The Verge 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, and added "now that quick replies are standard on it I don't see that lead diminishing". He also highlighted "tweaks" throughout, including quick toggles in the notification drawer, Settings menu with more visual information, and a Camera app that has been "cleaned up a bit", as welcome changes. 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 year [sic], before it becomes available on your phone".
Chris Velazco of Engadget 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 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 will utilize the new Vulkan API for some "seriously good-looking mobile gaming"