Electronic Design
Image courtesy of Josueacute Goge Flickr

(Image courtesy of Josué Goge, Flickr).

Google Rolls Out New Version of Android Operating System

(Image courtesy of Google).

The statistics vary widely based on the country where you live, but chances are that if you own a smartphone, it runs a version of Google’s Android operating system.

Around 80% of all smartphones possess Android, according to estimates from technology research firm Gartner. It is also favored by electrical engineers: 40% use Android-based smartphones for business, more than any type of mobile device, according to an Electronic Design survey in 2015.

Guessing what version of Android you have is more difficult. For years, Google has struggled to convince smartphone makers to update devices to the latest version of its open-source software. That has not stopped Google from making improvements, and on Monday, the company said it was ready to release the latest version to certain Nexus devices.

Google first revealed the operating system, called Nougat, in March. The company gave developers an early version for beta testing and used their input to refine the software. Google said that it will send out the operating system to Nexus devices in the next few weeks, while other smartphones will likely receive an update in the fall or early winter.

The first models to get the update are the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Nexus Player, Pixel C, and General Mobile 4G.

Nougat will include about 250 new features, according to Google. Several major changes are borrowed from personal computers, taking advantage of the large displays on modern smartphones to make using apps easier. Now users can run two apps side-by-side on the same screen and reply to notification without opening the app it came from.

It is also easier to manage files in Nougat than it was with the previous version of Android, called Marshmallow. Users can not only create and browse folders but also rename and make copies of them. The files will be encrypted to keep them secure.

For professionals, the new “work mode” setting enables users to disable work apps and notifications after leaving the office. The system also allows you to block spammers and telemarketers, preventing them from calling or texting your phone at all.

Nougat will also update software that limits battery consumption while the phone is not being used. The Doze feature was introduced in the release of Marshmallow, but it only worked while devices were sitting still on a table. Now the phone can remain in power-saving mode while being jostled around in a pocket or bag.

If you are trying to avoid the inconvenience of upgrading your operating system, Nougat has a feature that allows the update to happen in the background – while you choose your favorite of Nougat’s 72 new emoji. 

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