Google has unveiled its latest Android Nougat platform bearing version 7.1, which is an incremental update based on Android 7.0, with new features both consumers and developers can take advantage of.
The company said it has already started working with device manufacturers and Android 7.1 will be available as an open developer preview later this month, allowing developers to taste the pre-release version of the software.
Like Android 7.0, the next Android iteration would be available through Android Beta program. If you have already enrolled for Android Beta, the update will be available for your device when it is released. In case you don't want to receive the update, just unenroll the device.
The announcement was made by Dave Burke, VP of Engineering at Google, who said the Developer Preview would be available for Nexus 5X, 6P, Pixel C, with additional devices to get it by the end of the preview.
Google says the final release of Android 7.1 would be pushed out to supported devices such as Nexus 6, 5X, 6P, 9, Player, Pixel C, Pixel, Pixel XL phones and Android One devices in early December. The internet giant is also working with manufacturing partners to extend the rollout of Android 7.1 to other compatible devices soon.
So what's new in this release? Android 7.1 brings productivity, security and performance over its predecessor, along with several optimizations, bug fixes, features and new APIs. Note for developers: this release bundles capability to help them drive engagement in their apps and deliver improved user experience. Below is the official changelog for Android 7.1 that developers should take a note of:
App shortcuts API — lets you surface key actions directly in the launcher and take 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 live wallpaper metadata — lets you provide metadata about your live 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.