Although rumors about the next major Android version, the still unnamed Android “O”, are starting to trickle in, there’s still a lot of work to be done for Android Nougat. Feature parity among supported devices, specifically Google’s own devices, is one such area of improvement. Fortunately, it seems that Google has heard the cries of its Nexus users and has started rolling out the Android 7.1.2 that brings, among other things, fingerprint gestures to the Nexus 6P and some UI improvements to the Pixel C tablet.
To be clear, the update is rolling out to all Nexus and Pixel devices supported by Android 7.1. That list includes the Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel C, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, and the Nexus Player. If you’re wondering about the Nexus 6, that’s no longer part of the club. Last week, Google rolled out a rather controversial OTA update that “downgraded” the Nexus 6 from 7.1.1 to 7.0. Based on this update, it seems that Google intends to keep the Nexus 6 at version 7.0 only. As to why the Nexus 9 is also missing, one can only speculate.
Now for the good news. Nexus 6P owners will soon find themselves able to swipe down on the fingerprint scanner to roll down the notification panel. This functionality was first introduced in the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones and, after some rather vocal complaints, eventually landed on the Nexus 5X. It’s almost ironic that it is only now that the more powerful Nexus 6P is getting the feature.
Android 7.1.2 also has something in store for the Pixel C, the last remaining Google Android tablet. At least on this update list. Google has switched out the old carousel UI for recent application for a less pretty but more functional card view. You can also now simply drag one such card to the side to initiate split-screen mode, an action probably familiar to Windows 10 users. Google has also apparently introduced a different package of the Pixel Launcher for the Pixel C, sparking hope that Google has plans for a more tablet-oriented user experience soon.
The Android 7.1.2 update should slowly be rolling out via OTA updates. Google hasn’t yet posted system and update images, so those who prefer to start fresh will have to wait for just a bit.