News and notes from Android team
Android 7.0 Nougat: a more powerful OS, made for you
Monday, August 22, 2016
Today, we’ll begin rolling out Android 7.0 Nougat to Nexus devices. And with more ways to make Android your own, it’s by far our sweetest release yet.
We took a different approach to building and launching Nougat this year. For starters, we invited developers to take a sneak peek at Android N back in March, so they could bring their apps to the new platform earlier. And of course we asked you to help us come up with names for this year’s release, resulting in lots of great ideas, and a
back in June.
Android Nougat reflects input from thousands of fans and developers all over the world. There are over 250 major features in Android Nougat, but we wanted to highlight a few of the features you’ve been most excited about.
Providing more ways to customize your phone to fit your personality is kind of a big deal, and Android has been leading the way since day one (Homescreen widgets, anyone?). With Android Nougat, you’ll have even more ways to make your phone your own, including:
Expanded emoji: There are now over 1,500 different emoji built into Android, including 72 new ones, so go ahead: express yourself.
Quick Settings controls: Quick Settings gives you easy access to things like bluetooth, WiFi and the all-important flashlight. With Android Nougat, you can actually control what tiles go where, and move ‘em around to fit your needs.
Multi-locale support: Apps can tailor their content based on your locale settings. So if you speak multiple languages, for instance, then search engines can show results in each of those languages.
Expanded emoji and Quick Settings controls
Whether you’re responding to work emails or making plans with friends, Android Nougat helps you multitask with ease with new features like Multi-window, Direct reply, and Quick switch.
Multi-window: Run two apps side-by-side. The windows are resizable, too, by simply dragging the divider.
Direct Reply: Reply directly to notifications without having to open any app.
Quick Switch: Switch between your two most recently used apps by simply double tapping the Overview button.
More battery smarts
Starting with the release of Android Marshmallow last year, we have been making the battery smarter. That’s why we made the Doze feature even dozier with Android Nougat. Your device can now drop into lower power usage when it’s getting jostled around in your pocket or bag while on the move.*
Android Nougat is designed with immersive experiences in mind—including support for VulkanTM (an advanced 3D rendering API) and Daydream (Google’s platform for mobile virtual reality).
VulkanTM: Games will now leap to life thanks to high-speed, next-generation graphics — all powered by your device’s multi-core processor.
Daydream: Android Nougat is ready to transport you to virtual worlds with Daydream-ready phones, headsets and controllers — all coming later this year.
As always, Android is built with powerful layers of security and encryption to keep your private data private. For new devices coming this fall, we’ve also added new features like Seamless updates, File-based encryption and and Direct Boot.
Seamless updates: New Android devices with Nougat can install software updates in the background which means you won't have to wait while your device installs the update and optimizes all your apps for the new version. And for current Nexus users, software updates now install much faster, so you won't have to wait for minutes while your device reboots.
File-based encryption: Android Nougat can better isolate and protect files for individual users on your device.
Direct Boot: Direct Boot helps your device startup faster, and apps run securely even before you unlock your device when your device reboots.
And for those of you who also want to use your Android device at work, there are also new security features for using Android in enterprise, which you can learn more about on the
Android for Work website
Coming soon, to a device near you
Today, and over the next several weeks, the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Nexus Player, Pixel C and General Mobile 4G (Android One) will get an over the air software update** to Android 7.0 Nougat. Any devices enrolled in the Android Beta Program will also receive this final version.
And there are many tasty devices coming from our partners running Android Nougat, including the upcoming
which will be the first new smartphone that ships with Android Nougat, right out of the box. You can learn even more about Android Nougat at
Posted by Sameer Samat, VP of Product Management, Android & Google Play
*Hey, just a reminder that actual battery performance varies and will depend on a number factors including signal strength, network configuration, battery age, operating temperature, features selected, device settings, and voice, data, and other application usage patterns.
**The Nexus and Pixel C update to Android 7.0 Nougat occurs in stages and some carriers will receive the update later than others. This update will be pushed simultaneously to devices in the Android Beta Program.
Google Play Family Library: Share what you love with the ones you love
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
(Cross-posted on the
Friday night is movie night at our home, and my wife and I look forward to our weekly ritual of putting the kids to bed, getting some takeout, and catching up on our movie wishlist. Whether it’s making the BLUE STEEL face from
, swapping tips on playing
, or reading
Dragons Love Tacos
to the kids at bedtime, these shared moments bring us closer together.
For families like mine, who bond over shared entertainment, we’re introducing
, a way for up to six family members to share purchases on
. When you buy an eligible app, game, movie, TV show, or book in the Play Store, you can now share it with your family—across devices—with no additional sign-up fee.
Share across your family’s devices
Today’s families have a lot of devices, and it should be easy to share content no matter where we are or what we’re doing. Everyone in my family loves the
movies and we all want to be able to watch them, on our phones, tablets, laptops, or TV. All purchases added to Family Library are available across Android devices, and movies, TV shows, and books can be enjoyed on iOS devices and the web.
Easily manage sharing and family purchases
As with most family matters, flexibility and choice is important. With Family Library, you can choose which items you want to share and which to keep to yourself—for example, I’ll probably keep my collection of comic books in my personal library. Flexibility is also built into your purchasing options. When you sign up, you’ll select a credit card to share as your family payment method, but your family members will always have the option of buying stuff with their personal credit cards or gift cards. And for your younger family members, you’ll have the option to approve each of their purchases.
Share a Music subscription with your family
Finally, if your family loves music, you can also subscribe to the
Google Play Music family plan
. On this plan, up to six family members can stream millions of songs on demand for $14.99 a month. We
the family plan late last year, and today we’re expanding it to Ireland, Italy, Mexico, and New Zealand. And you can now sign up on the web, in addition to your Android device.
Starting today, Family Library will be rolling out over the next few days and will be available in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. To get started,
in Google Play, invite your family members, and start sharing what you love!
Posted by Raj Iyengar, Product Manager, Google Play
Google Play Books introduces Bubble Zoom
Thursday, July 21, 2016
Whether it’s reading up on the origins of
or enjoying a reboot like
Invincible Iron Man
, we all love our heroes and villains and there’s nothing more thrilling than flipping through your favorite comic when the battle is on — THWACK!
Last year, Google Play made it easier to find and read your favorite comics on your phone or tablet, including a new
vertical scrolling experience
. We wanted to use our superpowers, like machine learning, to improve the digital comics experience even further. Machine learning is the technology that makes the digital things in your life more useful, like finding the right image in Google Photos by searching for “hugs” to “dogs.” So what happens when we bring our machine learning capabilities to the world of comics?
At San Diego Comic-Con 2016, we just announced
: a new way to read digital comics on phones and tablets. Using the same technology to recognize objects in photos, we trained our system to identify speech bubbles in comics. Bubble zoom expands the speech bubbles of a comic one-tap-at-a-time, making them super easy to read on your mobile device. It’s much easier to read digital comics one-handed as Bubble Zoom automatically identifies and expands each speech bubble for readability. No more compromising the full-page experience or getting lost while panning around.
“Justice League (2011) Origin - Vol 1.” and “Invincible Iron Man Vol 1.” read using Bubble Zoom
Bubble Zoom will be available on the latest version of
Google Play Books app
for Android as a technical preview with all Marvel and DC collected volumes supported. We’re also celebrating this preview with a 50% off sale on select DC Comics and Marvel comics in the Google Play Store — just use the code
by July 24th, 2016.
Rolling out today, you can upgrade Play Books and provide feedback on supported comic volumes in the app as this exclusive experience is only the first step. As we continue to teach our machines to read more comic book styles, our goal is to eventually bring
to all the comics and manga ever made.
So stay on the lookout for Bubble Zoom and by Odin’s beard…go read some comics!
Posted by Greg Hartrell, Head of Product, Google Play Books
Stay connected abroad with high speed data from Project Fi
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
When you’re traveling abroad, your phone is an essential tool – for finding a great restaurant, posting pics of your trip online, or translating a sign. But the data we have access to when traveling abroad often isn’t fast or affordable enough to let us do the tasks that matter most. Which could be why only 20% of Americans opt to use their cellular data when traveling internationally,
instead choosing to jump between Wi-Fi hotspots or scramble for a local SIM card.
Starting today, all Project Fi subscribers have access to high speed data in 135+ destinations. With the addition of
to the Project Fi network, we’re now able to deliver speeds 10-20X faster than before. And, just as before, there are no extra fees for using data internationally – you pay the same $10/GB that you do at home.
We’re also now offering more coverage internationally, with service in more than a dozen additional countries totaling
135+ destinations worldwide
. Fi customers now have access to high speed data in over 97% of the places Americans travel internationally.
Leaving home shouldn’t mean leaving connectivity behind. With the addition of faster speeds and more countries for the same fair price, we’re one step closer to making your phone as easy to use abroad as it is at home.
P.S. To help make your first trip abroad with Project Fi a little easier we’ll be offering $150 off the Nexus 6P for the next week when you buy and activate with
. The promotion will go live on our website at 10:00 am PT today.
Posted by Tyler Kugler, Product Manager, Project Fi
1) Google Consumer Survey, U.S., 6/29/16, n=403
2) U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, United States Resident Travel Abroad Report, 2012
Introducing Nearby: A new way to discover the things around you
Thursday, June 9, 2016
The Play Store offers over one million apps - many of which are created to be used in specific locations or situations. The right app at the right moment lets you get more done. For example, at a store, you may want a barcode scanner to check prices and reviews for an item. Or when you're at a museum, an audio tour would enhance the experience as you make your way around the exhibits.
But, getting the right apps at the right time can be tough if you don’t already know about them. So, we're introducing a new Android feature called Nearby, which notifies you of of things that can be helpful near you.
Print photos directly from your phone at
Explore historical landmarks at the
University of Notre Dame
Download the audio tour when you're at
Skip the customs line at select airports with
app for free in-flight entertainment while you wait at the gate, before you board your flight.
Select Google devices, including Google Cast and Android Wear watches, will also let you set them up simply by tapping a notification when you're near them.
Earlier this year, we started experimenting with surfacing websites relevant to a place in Chrome through the
Physical Web project
. In addition to displaying relevant apps, Nearby will surface these websites directly from Android. To deploy your own beacons that work with Nearby, check out our
developer blog post
To use Nearby, just turn on Bluetooth and Location, and we'll show you a notification if a nearby app or website is available. Once you’ve opted-in, tapping on a notification takes you straight into the intended experience. If you're not interested, just swipe it away to give us a clear signal.
Nearby has started rolling out to users as part of the upcoming Google Play Services release and will work on Android 4.4 (KitKat) and above.
Posted by Akshay Kannan, Product Manager, Nearby
More speed and coverage with U.S. Cellular — now part of Project Fi
Wednesday, June 8, 2016
Mobile connectivity is central to everything we do. The speed and consistency of our network determines whether we can share a photo with a loved one or get that split-second answer when we need it most. With Project Fi, you can get the highest quality connection at all times - whether on Wi-Fi or one of our partner cellular networks. Today, we’re excited to introduce
as our newest partner network.
U.S. Cellular, one of the top mobile networks in the U.S., offers service in 23 states with 4G LTE coverage for more than 99% of their subscribers, both urban and rural. With the addition of a third network, Project Fi now gives you more coverage and speed, helping you stay connected wherever you are.
How does this work?
In most areas, multiple cellular networks are available — in fact, the majority of Project Fi usage occurs in areas where more than one of our partners offers LTE coverage. But factors like obstructions from nearby buildings can meaningfully impact the speed and coverage available from each LTE connection. By analyzing speeds from each network, Project Fi is able to predict the fastest network at your location — down to the city block — and automatically connect you. We’re constantly adapting to consider how factors like new cell towers and newly-available radio frequencies are impacting real-world speeds.
Part of Project Fi’s promise is to ensure you have connection when you need it, even in areas with poor speeds or limited coverage. Your Fi device recognizes when your connection is weak and adjusts in real time. By accessing multiple cellular networks, Fi users have a connection nearly 99% of the time, and spend about 95% of cellular time on LTE — which will improve even further with the addition of U.S. Cellular.
U.S. Cellular coverage will be automatically rolling out to all users over the coming weeks. We’re excited to add our third partner and hope
you’ll join us, too
Posted by Evan Jacobs, Product Manager, Project Fi
The soundtrack of your next trip is on TripAdvisor with Google Play Music
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
It’s almost summer. Want to get away? Whether you’re in search of gold at the Olympics in Rio or enjoying the good life in the South of France, we want you to have everything you need, including music for the right moment. That’s why Google Play Music teamed up with TripAdvisor to offer Android users a new music experience on the
TripAdvisor Android app
with locally-themed music stations based on the destination of your choice.
Starting today, with the TripAdvisor Android app you can access a wide array of well-known and hidden-gem soundtracks for popular cities to listen to whether you’re in travel planning mode or on a road trip exploring the globe. This new app feature is in more than
around the world where Google Play Music is available.
Wherever you go, or whenever you start planning your next vacation, TripAdvisor and Google Play Music have your ultimate holiday soundtrack sorted. Travelers can listen to
while sipping an espresso in Rome, rave to the
Underground Club Sounds of Berlin
and dance to
Sao Paulo Funk
Not a Google Play Music subscriber? No problem. If you don’t have it already, download the TripAdvisor Android app today and get a 2-month trial of Google Play Music. So go plan your next vacation…now with music that’s just right for you.
Posted by Brandon Bilinski, Product Manager, Google Play Music
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