Google's Android 7.0 software update is here. Take a tour with us?
Google's sweet tooth knows no bounds. After snacking on Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, Kit Kat, Lollipop and Marshmallow, we're at Android 7.0 "Nougat" now!
Let's take a tour.
Here's the new Android Nougat homescreen. Other than the pink wallpaper, it's not much different, yes?
But pull down your notification shade, and you'll find some much improved notifications! Each app bundles its notifications in a single item to save space -- though we did see a few misbehave.
You can dive deeper, too. Swipe down on any bundle of notifications to expand it, and you'll see each individual text message or Gmail.
Plus, you can instantly reply to notifications without opening an app!
Here's how easy it is to reply to a text message.
Though weirdly, this reply feature doesn't seem to work for Gmail. Pressing it opens the Gmail app.
Swipe down even further from the top of your screen, and you can access a new quick settings menu -- one you can customize!
There's a cool new feature in the actual Settings app, too: suggestions for settings you might like to change.
(You should really set up the fingerprint sensor on your Nexus 5X or Nexus 6P if you haven't already: they're great!)
The most notable feature of Android Nougat is multitasking. You can multitask two ways: split-screen (see photo) or by double-tapping the Recents button to quickly switch between the two most recent apps.
To activate split-screen multitasking, you hold down on the Recents button *from within an app* (don't tap it, and don't press it when you're on the homescreen.) Then, you can pin one of your other open apps beneath it.
Two caveats: it doesn't work for full-screen games, and some apps won't work properly (Google Maps) unless you tap on them.
On tablets or devices rotated to landscape mode, you'll see split-screen apps open side by side, instead of above and below.
It's not a great aspect ratio for YouTube, but it works great for calendars and email!
But Nougat's biggest features are ones you can't actually see: like Daydream, the company's big bet on building the Android of virtual reality.
Allegedly, many future Android Nougat phones will automatically be VR-ready, but Google hasn't launched the feature quite yet.
Or a simple boost in speed. Our mid-range Nexus 5X definitely felt faster with Nougat than it did with Marshmallow. (We even went back to Marshmallow to check.)
While the Geekbench benchmark didn't reflect the change in speed, 3DMark (which measures graphics performance) consistently showed better scores (15,000 - 21,000) than Marshmallow (14,000 - 19,000).
Here's an invisible feature you can sink your teeth into: battery life!
Slip your phone into a pocket or purse, and Doze 2.0 should automatically put your apps to sleep to save juice.
We haven't finished testing how well Doze 2.0 works, but the flat portion of this battery life graph is a pretty good sign -- it suggests that the phone isn't eating much battery when it's idle.
Oh, and there's one last hidden feature you might want to check out: the Nougat easter egg is a cat catching game that's like a mix of Tamagotchi and Pokemon!
And don't forget all of Nougat's new emoji!
The biggest thing we don't know about Nougat is when cellular carriers and manufacturers (you know, other than Google) will roll it out. We'd love for this whole table to be filled with Nougat-y new devices...but when? Stay tuned.