Google sets the date for first sniff at Android 7.1

Holding back Assistant and apps drawer for Pixel

Android Nougat

Developers can get their hands on Android 7.1 by the end of the month, Google has said.

And almost all Nexus owners will have it implanted in their gadgets by the end of the year, albeit with some reservations.

The next chewy chunk of Nougat includes support for better storage management and telephony software, App shortcut APIs to build single click links directly into core directories, and UI changes to build cuddlier and more numerous graphics into the background. There’s also support for Google’s Daydream VR system, for the few phones that can handle it.

However, Google is holding back what it sees as key Android code for its Pixel and Pixel XL lines, announced last week. These include the Chocolate Factory’s Google Assistant software sidekick and Pixel Launcher, which opens up a swipeable app tray and gets software moving faster.

“Initially, we’ll offer the Developer Preview for Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, and Pixel C devices, extending to other supported devices by the end of the preview,” said Dave Burke, VP of Android engineering.

“At the final release of the Android 7.1.x platform, due in early December, we’ll roll out updates to the full lineup of supported devices – Nexus 6, 5X, 6P, 9, Player, Pixel C, and supported Android One devices – as well as Pixel and Pixel XL devices.”

The Nexus 6 has snuck in there for an update, despite Google saying the device would reach end of support in October. No such luck for Nexus 5 owners, who won’t be getting an automatic update. While meant for developers, anyone with a yen can get it from the Android Beta site.

As for other manufacturers, Google said it was working with its partners on a rollout of 7.1 to everyone else “over the months ahead.” How quickly the rest of 7.1 comes to platforms outside of the Pixel remains to be seen, and Google could be getting ready for a major fork in the operating system to support its own kit. ®




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