Google formally announces Android 7.1 Nougat - Developer Preview coming soon

Google today formally took the wraps off of Android 7.1 Nougat, which it's promising will show up as a Developer Preview later this month. Don't get too excited though, as in the beginning, it will only be available for the Pixel C, Nexus 5X, and Nexus 6P.

The company says that new features range "from platform Daydream VR support and A/B system updates to app shortcuts and image keyboard support." Here's what's new:

Android 7.1 delivers the productivity, security, and performance of Android 7.0, along with a variety of optimizations and bug fixes, features, and new APIs (API level 25).

For developers, Android 7.1 adds new capabilities to help you drive engagement in your app and deliver an improved user experience, such as:

  • App shortcuts API — lets you surface key actions directly in the launcher and take your users deep into your app instantly. You can create up to 5 shortcuts, either statically or dynamically.

  • Circular app icons support — lets you provide great-looking rounded icon resources that match the look of Pixel and other launchers.

  • Enhanced wallpaper metadata — lets you provide metadata about your wallpapers to any picker displaying the wallpapers as a preview. You can show existing metadata such as label, description, and author, as well as a new context URL and title to link to more information.

Android 7.1 also adds these much-requested developer features to the platform:

  • Image keyboard support — expands the types of content that users can enter from their keyboards, letting them express themselves through custom stickers, animated gifs, and more. Apps can tell the keyboard what types of content they accept, and keyboards can deliver all of the images and other content that they offer to the user. For broad compatibility, this API will also be available in the support library.

  • Storage manager Intent — lets an app take the user directly to a new Settings screen to clear unused files and free up storage space on the device.

For carriers and calling apps, the platform includes new APIs to support multi-endpoint calling and new telephony configuration options.

As noted above, the preview will only be available to select devices in the beginning, but it will eventually roll out to all supported Android devices, which include Nexus 5X, 6, 6P, 9, Player, Pixel C, and supported Android One devices. Google says that "the Android 7.1.x platform" is slated to arrive in December for the devices mentioned above, as well as the Pixel and Pixel XL.

The awkwardly named 'Pixel, Phone by Google' devices are already slated to launch with Android 7.1 Nougat. Because of the phrasing used, one might assume that Android 7.1.1 (or later) would be the final version number of the update that hits older devices.

For more of the consumer features that are coming in the next minor update to Android, check out our list from last week. If you're on the Android Beta program, you should see an update waiting for you when the Preview launches.

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