Android 7.1 has a lot of changes that were first supposed to come out with the Android 7.0 but as it turned out, Google was saving those for the Pixel. While some features such as the Google Assistant, Night light and Fingerprint Gestures are to be retained by the Pixels, at least for now, many other features are available for everyone who gets the Android 7.1 update.
The Android 7.1 Developer Preview is live right now for Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, and Pixel C. So what’s new?
How about you hear it right from the makers of Android?
Some of the language is a little developer centric, it is a video by the Android Developer team after all. But that’s not to say it would bounce over the head of common folks.
It may seem like non-Pixel users are getting the short end of the stick — particularly with the lack of Assistant-integration. Still, there are quite a few new features in the Android version update.
Notably, App Shortcuts are back. The feature was briefly introduced during the Android Nougat beta program, but was scrapped. It mimics the 3D Touch features introduced in iOS 9 — press and hold an app icon to quickly jump into specific actions. Pixel Launcher supports the API, and more app developers will be able to for smartphones running Android 7.1. Apps can have up to five shortcuts.
A new restart setting has joined the power menu. Now, when you press and hold the power button on the Nexus 5X or Nexus 6P, you will have the option of power cycling the phone instead of switching it off.
A new Moves menu in settings includes a number of toggle actions you can initiate by gesture. You can launch the camera by pressing the power button twice, for instance, or switch in and out of selfie mode by double-twisting your wrist when you are in the app. And you can life your phone to quickly check your notifications.
Image Keyboard support also allows developers to allow people to send content directly from the keyboard, like stickers, emojis, GIFs, and more. It is unclear if this will be supported in Google Keyboard.
A lead Pixel engineer tweeted that the devices have improved touch latency — which is also confirmed in the changelog. This means the delay from tapping the screen to receiving a response is likely much smaller than before — a feature iOS and iPhones have particularly excelled at.
Updates are now handles more like they’re handled on Google Chrome, silently in the background, and all you have to do is restart your device and you will be run.ing the latest and greatest Android from Google. More on Seamless updates here.