Google’s Pixel smartphones will be the first devices to ship with Android 7.1 Nougat. But Google is also bringing the next version of Android to recent Nexus phones and the Pixel C tablet.

That said, some features will be exclusive to the Pixel phones, at least for now.

google-assistant

Android Police has a run-down of new features included in Android 7.1… and new features that will only be available on the Pixel phone at launch.

Android 7.1 features

First, let’s take a look at some of the things that should be coming to the Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, and any other device that receives Android 7.1:

  • Seamless updates (allowing OS updated to be downloaded and installed in the background so that you’re up to date after a brief reboot)
  • Moves (an optional feature that lets you swipe using a fingerprint sensor)
  • Daydream VR mode (for phones with supported hardware)
  • Night light

There’s also a new storage manager to figure out which apps and files are using the most storage, improved touchscreen performance, and new developer features including support for circular app icons, a new app shortcuts API, and more.

Pixel features

The Pixel phone will be the only phone to use the new Pixel Launcher, at least for now. It includes a new home screen and app launcher: the app drawer icon is gone. Instead, you swipe up from the bottom of the screen to see all your apps. And instead of a Google Search bar, there’s a G icon at the top of the screen that can expand to let you interact with the Google app from the home screen.

Press and hold the home button or say “OK Google,” and you can start interacting with the Google Assistant — which is also available exclusively on the Pixel phones for now.

It’s likely that Google Assistant will soon be available on other Android devices, but Google currently has no plans to offer the Pixel Launcher for other phones or tablets. That could change in the future though.

Other Pixel-specific features include:

  • Pixel Camera app with electronic image stabilization, hardware-accelerated HDR+ image processing, and Smartburst features
  • Unlimited Google Photos cloud backup for high-quality images and 4K (or lower-res) videos
  • 24/7 support, accessible by starting a chat or making a phone call from the phone itself, with the option to share your screen with a support person

You can find more details about the changes coming in Android 7.1 at Android Police.

An Android 7.1 developer preview should be available for the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6, and Pixel C by the end of the year. It’s not yet clear if earlier devices like the Nexus 6 or Nexus 9 will get the update, although Google has suggested that anything capable of running Android 7.0 should be able to handle Android 7.1.

 

 



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