How Google Plans To Unwind The Nougat Roll

This post is courtesy to a Google insider. While we have immense confidence in the reliability of our source, some information may differ slightly.

In this post, we take a dive into the Android ocean to explore it to it's Nth depth. As we dive in, we will also take a look at the timeline of events which unfolded leading up to this year's much awaited Nougat release, giving you a reason behind each of these events. We will also give you an insight into the future builds of Android in the end.

Android N Developer Previews

The first leaf of the timeline is the shocking early release of Android N Developer Preview builds in March 2016, about 2 months ahead of the Google I/O in May. Google gave the following reason for making the early development of Android N public:

By releasing a “work in progress” build earlier in development, we have more time to incorporate developer feedback. Also, the earlier preview allows us to hand off the final N release to device makers this summer, so they can get their hands on the latest version of Android earlier than ever.
Our source here tells us that the Android N code was sent over to all the major OEMs in February 2016, well before the first preview build was released and Google even "requested" them to start modifying and customising the Android N code as per their will "as soon as possible". Google also mentioned it to the OEMs that they should "start testing Android N" on their "top of the line products of 2015" as well. Following Google's request, leading manufacturers such as Sony and Huawei did develop beta builds of Android N for the Z3 and P9 respectively.

Another reason behind the early deployment of Android N were the disappointing numbers of Marshmallow. We pulled out Marshmallow's numbers from November 2015 and plotted it's distribution percentage over the last couple of months.

 We are told here that the growth rate of Marshmallow for the last quarter of 2015 was the least compared to Lollipop's growth rate in the fourth quarter of 2014 and KitKat's growth rate in 2013's fourth quarter. This was way down Google's probable numbers which mapped how Marshmallow's distribution was supposed to happen. Catering to this, plans were made on how this can be avoided with the next iteration of Android.

All the events that have taken place leading up to Nougat's release are said to have already been planned last year itself. Only numbers will tell how Nougat's distribution will rise this year and early next year. Presently, Google intends to take a similar course of actions for Android O as well, just like it did for Nougat this year.

No Nexus Devices Before LG V20

It was speculated by many including the great tech journalist David Ruddock that "LG V20 may be the first phone *in the world* to ship with Nougat. But Nexuses will almost definitely be first widely available."

Sorry, this is not going to be the case anymore. We can confirm to you that LG V20 would be the first smartphone "widely available" for purchase with Nougat in it's blood.

Android Nougat 7.1

This post is about confirmations all the way. We told you that Android Nougat 7.1 can be the next maintenance release just like 6.0.1 was for Marshmallow. We can confirm to you this as well. That's not all, there would be some developer previews leading up to this release too. Google is indeed testing out Android 7.1 internally. Some developers at Reddit did report this: "115 of my users are already on 7.1 and 4 of them are on Android O (which I'm assuming are Googlers). I knew 7.1 would be coming sooner than we thought but I'm surprised about Android O though!". Here is a look at the numbers from the same app developer we have quoted above:

Google is not even thinking about Android O at the moment. Hence, there are actually some users who plan to fool people around showing off their Android O. Google is completely focused on Nougat 7.1 at the moment. Another thing to note here is that, out of the 115 people who are using the app (whose numbers we have quoted above), at least some of them would either be a Marlin or Sailfish user. 

Yes, there is another confirmation for all of you. HTC S1 (Sailfish) and HTC M1 (Marlin) will be released with Nougat 7.1. As we told you, Google plans to release certain beta builds of Nougat 7.1 too, before finalising it. Internal testing of the same is on as you read this. You would not be seeing any of the Nexus before October.

In fact, if you have been a good observer, it wouldn't have been hard to spot that Google is updating all of it's apps to be compatible with Android 7.1 (Nougat MR1) API 25.

The Update Scenario

We have made it clear to you that Nougat 7.1 would be the next maintenance release, but is it going to be the only maintenance release? Did you think about that? Let me help you out. Google plans to have at least two maintenance releases just like it had done in Lollipop. Our source went a step ahead and told us that "there were discussions of a second maintenance release for Marshmallow too". However, there were only "discussions" and nothing "folded out" of them.

The second maintenance release 7.1.1/7.2 would also be subjected to beta builds after Nougat MR1. The second maintenance release would be finalised and made public by Christmas or early next year.

At least two maintenance releases, this was another reason why the development on Android N was started earlier than other Android versions

The "Will My Device Get Nougat" Fiasco

A few days back, Joey was kind enough to write an FAQ post for us where he discussed about when the Android One users will be getting the Nougat update they have been promised. I would be raising a few points from that post once again.

It has widely been misinterpreted that only the Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6, Nexus Player, Pixel C, Nexus 9 and General Mobile 4G would be the only devices to get the Nougat update from Google.

This is not the full picture. This is not the only roster of lucky devices to get the Nougat update. Our source confirms to us that all the generations of Android One devices will be getting the Nougat MR1 or Nougat 7.1. Currently, Nougat 7.0 was only rolled out to those devices which were eligible for the developer preview builds earlier. These included:

  • Nexus 6, Nexus 9, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player
  • Pixel C
  • General Mobile 4G (Android One)

We have been told that the final build of Nougat MR1 or Nougat 7.1 would be made public with the launch of the new Nexus devices. This update would then be sent over to other Nexus and Android One devices. All these events are scheduled for October.

What are your thoughts after reading this post? Let us know in the comments.

Krittin Kalra
Krittin Kalra is a 20 year old Android freak. Striving for passions, chasing down his dreams and living a life without regrets is his sole mantra. A bit moody, he also does custom ROM reviews for AndroGuider. Currently pursuing his B.Tech, he aspires to follow his heart.
How Google Plans To Unwind The Nougat Roll How Google Plans To Unwind The Nougat Roll Reviewed by Krittin Kalra on 8/27/2016 02:41:00 PM
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