With the Google Pixel out the door, Android 7.1 is, at least officially, already launched. Of course, it might not really count considering there’s only one, technically two, device that supports it. To get the ball rolling for other devices, Google has released the developer preview of Android 7.1 for at least three devices: the Nexus 6P, the Nexus 5X, and the Pixel C tablet. While also a way for the curious to test out the waters, the dev preview is also meant to give developers a head start to test or update their apps to the latest and greatest version.
And test they should! Although it may seem like just a minor update from 7.0, and one that leans heavily in favor of the Google Pixel smartphone, Android 7.1 Nougat does have a few bits that will still interest both app developers and their users.
Perhaps the most publicized of these are the new app icon actions. Think iOS 3D Touch, but not exactly dependent on the hardware. A long press on an icon in the new Pixel Launcher will bring up a list of further actions beyond simply launching the app. Developers of messaging apps and keyboards will most likely be interested in the new image keyboard support, which is sure to bring all sorts of crazy stickers.
Not explicitly mentioned but expected to also arrive is Smart Storage, which lets users free up space by deleting unused media or apps after a certain grace period. App developers should be aware of this and should design their apps around the possibility of suddenly missing files or the app itself.
For now, the developer preview is available only on those three select devices. Users of other still supported Nexus devices will have to wait for the final release. While the preview should already be automatically downloaded for those who have enrolled in the Android Beta program, users can also opt to start with a completely clean slate by downloading and flashing the firmware themselves.