Android: If you watched the “Made by Google” event yesterday — or read our roundup — you’d be forgiven if you missed that there was a brand new version of Android. Google itself hardly seemed to notice. Here’s what we know about it.
The new Pixel phones will be the first to run Android 7.1. Notably, unlike this winter’s Android 7.0 Nougat, there was no dedicated announcement for this version of Android, nor is there any beta (so far) for users to try out. In fact, it wasn’t even clear from Google’s announcement which features of the Pixel are part of Android 7.1 and which ones will come to all phones.
After the event, Google finally got around to clearing up the confusion. Here’s the list of new features that are coming to Android 7.1 (at least, that Google has confirmed so far):
- Night Light
- Touch/display performance improvements
- Moves (Fingerprint swipe down gesture – opt-in)
- Seamless A/B system updates
- Daydream VR mode
- Developer features:
*App shortcuts / shortcut manager APIs
* Circular app icons support
* Keyboard image insertion
* Fingerprint sensor gesture to open/close notification shade
* Manual storage manager Intent for apps
* Improved VR thread scheduling
* Enhanced wallpaper metadata
* Multi-endpoint call support
* Support for various MNO requirements
– PCDMA voice privacy property
– Source type support for Visual Voicemail
– Carrier config options for managing video telephony
- Manual storage manager – identifies apps and files and apps using storage
If you were hoping for Google Assistant or that sweet unlimited photo upload, you might rightly feel a little underwhelmed right now. It seems Google is trying to make Pixel phones more than just “stock Android” (since that’s largely meaningless these days anyway). Night Light is a more-than-welcome addition, but you’ll need to buy a Pixel phone if you want to get the full range of benefits of Google’s new hotness.