The next major version of Android is coming this summer, and Google has just released the 5th and final developer preview of Android 7.0 Nougat.
The latest preview includes some bug fixes and a handful of new features, including an Easter Egg that’s a pretty in-depth cat collecting game, and the ability to see which apps on your device were installed from the Google Play Store, and which came from other sources.
Ahead of the final release of Android 7.0, a bunch of Google engineers have taken to the Android Developers subreddit to answer questions.
A lot of the questions and answers are pretty technical, looking at development tools, graphics drivers, and other things that mos users probably don’t care that much about. But here are a few things I learned from the AMA (ask me anything) session so far:
- While the Nexus line of phones, tablets, and TV boxes will probably be the first to get Android 7.0, Google is working with an undisclosed number of OEMs to make sure that at least some third-party devices get the update as soon as possible.
- Material Design, which was introduced with Android 5.0, is here to stay indefinitely. It might be tweaked and refined, but don’t expect the new few versions of Android to have a dramatically different design language (which means apps created with today’s guidelines shouldn’t look too dated a few years down the road… something that hasn’t always been true for Android apps in the past).
- Google Camera improvements are coming “in the not too distant future.”
- The Google Nexus 9 will not be getting Vulkan graphics drivers, but they’re already available in developer previews of Android 7.0 for the Google Pixel C tablet.
- Early developer previews of both Android 6.0 and Android 7.0 had a “night mode” dark theme option, but it was removed before final release of either because of “ecosystem problems.” Basically it was too difficult to implement a system-wide dark theme without messing up some elements of design for third-party apps. But developers can still use the dark theme library for creating their own apps.
- There are not plans to move away from Java or add support for Swift or other languages.
The Google team plans to continue answering questions until 2PM Pacific/5PM Eastern.