Google’s event for the Pixel and Pixel XL saw the announcement of Android 7.1 Nougat as well, though it chose not to focus on the OS at the time except to mention support for Daydream VR and seamless updates. The brand has now dished out more details about the software in a blog post describing what’s to come in its Developer Preview iteration.
While Android 7.1 Nougat is an incremental update, it does offer a couple of intriguing new features. First on the list is an app shortcuts API which lets developers add key actions directly in the launcher so people will be able to access functions quickly. Applications can support up to 5 shortcuts which can appear statically or dynamically.
The fresh addition sounds similar to how Apple’s 3D Touch tool works when interacting with apps, instantly allowing access without having to actually open the tool. The other big change in Android 7.1 Nougat involves circular icons support. The design matches the one found in the Pixel phones.
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Google is also equipping the OS with image keyboard support. This lets developers expand their keyboard content from just text to custom stickers, photos, and animated GIFs. The brand had done something similar with its popular Gboard app for iOS, an application which hasn’t made its way to Android yet.
The Android 7.1 Nougat Developer Preview will be rolled out later this month for the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, and Pixel C initially before rolling out to other supported devices. The final version of the OS will be released in December for the Motorola Nexus 6, LG Nexus 5X, Huawei Nexus 6P, HTC Nexus 9, Asus Nexus Player, Pixel C, and Android One offerings.