With Google taking the wraps off Android 7.1 exclusively running on their Pixel phones at last week’s Made By Google event, many people have been wondering when the updated version of Nougat would flow out to other Google hardware and the whole ecosystem. Well, the answer seems to be: soon.
In a blog post this morning, Google announced that they will be opening up a Developer Preview for Android 7.1 just as the did for the 7.0 release. Those interested will be able to sign up via the Android Beta Program and the update will be delivered OTA when it is available.
The 7.1 Developer Preview program is open to users with any of these devices, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel C and the General Mobile 4G (Android One). That’s an unsurprising list of device considering previous iterations of the preview program, however it seems that only some of these devices will be included in the first release — likely the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P and Pixel C.
What’s in the 7.1 Developer preview you ask?
- Daydream VR support
- A/B system updates (it’s unclear if this needs specific hardware)
- App Shortcuts
- Circular app icon support
- Enhanced wallpaper metadata
- Image keyboard support eg for stickers
- Storage Manager intent (New storage management system built into Android 7.1)
- Support for Multi-Endpoint calling (conference call)
The developer documentation for Android 7.1 isn’t live yet so we can’t jump too much into the details of these new features, although they are fairly self-explanatory with what we already know, or see what other features may be coming in 7.1. There’s absolutely no surprise that Google Assistant didn’t make it to the list, we already know that’s a Pixel exclusive for now.
Hopefully, developers take this opportunity to get their apps ready for the new API version in 7.1 as well as integrate any new features that may enhance their apps. The Google just finishing another major Developer Preview it could be argued that a second program so soon could impose a burden on developers. We shall see how they react.
When does Android 7.1 rollout to the whole Android ecosystem, without mentioning the F word here because of the …. distributed nature of Android development when specific OEMs and devices get Android 7.1 is an unknown. Google had the standard line about working with partners over the coming months ahead. If you’re not using a Nexus, I suggest you prepare for a bit of a wait.
If you’ve got a compatible device and you want to be on the cutting – if occasionally unstable and/ or unreliable – edge of Android, then head on over and sign up for the Developer Preview. One word of warning, if you opt out of the Beta program your device will be wiped of all user data when switching back to the stable release.
Are you signing up for the Beta? Let us know below.