Android N: a first look at Android’s new operating system

What can you expect from Android N? We pick out the best features of Google’s new operating system…

24 Aug 2016




Android N is the latest operating system, or OS, for Android devices. The ‘N’ stands for Nougat and follows a long line of sweet treat names, including Jellybean, Kitkat, Lollipop and – most recently – Marshmallow. 

We first saw Nougat when Android previewed it back in March. Now, it’s started rolling out the software to select Nexus devices – with more manufacturers and models to follow.

So what’s different about Android N? We pick out some of the coolest new features… 


Be more productive with multi-window support 

Wish there was an easier way to multitask on your phone? Have 2 apps open on screen at the same time on your phone or tablet with Android N’s multi-window support. With it you can: 

  • quickly switch between apps by running them side-by-side
  • or view one on top of the other in Split Screen mode
  • make one app appear larger than the other by dragging the divider to resize them on screen

It also works with Android TV – so you can watch a film or show while browsing the internet or using another app.


Manage your messages with Bundled Notifications

If you already have a smartwatch and run Android Wear, you may be familiar with grouped notifications. Android N brings this handy feature to its smartphones and tablets too.

With Bundled Notifications, you can group multiple messages by theme or topic and manage them – great if you want to action them all in one go.

There’s also a Direct Reply feature for texts and messaging apps that lets you respond to messages inline when the notification pops up, rather than having to unlock the phone and open the message.


Enjoy a more immersive experience 

Android N has been designed to get the best from immersive VR and 3D mobile gaming, and supports Daydream – Google’s mobile VR platform.

Not heard of Daydream before? Think of it as a Play Store for VR, with specially designed VR apps that work with your smartphone.

Find out more about Daydream


Keep on top of your data allowance

Always uploading to Instagram or replying to WhatsApp on the go? You’ll know then that your mobile data allowance can go down pretty quickly when you’re away from a Wi-Fi connection.

So wouldn’t it be great if you could make the most of those precious gigabytes by controlling which apps use data, and how they use it?

With Data Saver mode for Android N, you can do just that. It’ll also make your apps run more efficiently when it’s switched on.


Doze while you’re on the move

Doze was a key feature of Marshmallow. With it you can save battery by automatically putting the phone to sleep when not being used. 

Previously it only worked when you physically put down your phone or tablet for a long time, but it’s been improved for Android N. Now Doze will work whenever your phone’s screen is off for a long period of time – great for saving battery when it’s in your bag while you’re out and about. 

Other Android N features we love:

  • Faster start-up times when you first turn on your phone thanks to Direct Boot
  • Run software updates while you continue to use apps and send messages with Seamless updates – no more waiting around for the installation to complete
  • More room to access different settings like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in the Quick Settings tab – as well as control over what’s there


When can I get it?  

Rollouts have already started for many Nexus devices, including the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Nexus Player, Pixel C and General Mobile 4G, as well as devices enrolled in the Android Beta Program.

The upcoming LG V20 will be the first out-of-the-box phone with Android N preinstalled when it’s released later this year.

If you have a recent phone or tablet from the likes of Samsung, Sony, LG, HTC or Motorola, you can expect to get the update at the end of this year or early next year.


See our range of Android tablets