After its first presentation in May 2016 at the Google I/0 conference, summer brings more news on the latest version of Android – version 7.0, also known as Nougat – ahead of its official launch this fall.
Virus detection blocks system booting Android is the world's most popular mobile operating system (84.1% market share for Q1 2016, according to Gartner), and also the OS most at risk from malware attacks. Android Nougat will help combat viruses by analyzing mobile devices each time they restart. The OS can then prevent a device from booting if a virus is detected or restrict access to a limited-use mode, like the "safe mode" in Windows PCs.
Split-screen mode The main new feature landing in Android Nougat is the split-screen mode for using two applications simultaneously, open side by side (tablet) or one above the other (smartphone). This function is all the more hotly awaited since it already features in several third-party Android user interfaces, like those from Samsung and LG, as well as in competitor systems, iOS and Windows.
Updated notifications Android Nougat brings revamped notifications, promising a faster and easier-to-use system no matter what applications are open. Launcher shortcuts also let users create custom shortcuts to specific features in certain applications. This could, for example, be a shortcut to message a particular contact or to access a specific folder in an email inbox.
Video watching The "picture in picture" (PIP) mode lets users keep videos running while using other applications. The video will play in a separate window in the corner of the screen, which could be useful for following live streams while working or surfing in other apps.
Improved battery saving The new version of Doze – the Android battery saving function – will now kick in whenever the screen goes off rather than only when the system is inactive. What's more, Android Nougat will bring options for limiting data use by reducing the quality of images and video streams, which could prove handy for users with limited data packages.
Seamless integration for VR Finally, there's no doubt that the latest version of Android will be optimised for Daydream, Google's new virtual reality platform set to land this fall. However, it's as yet unclear what exactly Google has in store.
Watch the Android Nougat statue being unveiled in Mountain View, California here.