Android 7.1 Developer Preview is now Available for the Nexus 5X/6P and the Pixel C
Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL are finally making their way into the hands of many happy customers, providing users the first taste of Android 7.1 with some additional goodies over base Nougat. Fortunately for users of the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, or the Pixel C you will no longer have to wait to try out Android 7.1. As promised just last week, Google has announced that the first Android 7.1 Developer Preview will begin automatically rolling out to users on the aforementioned devices so long as you are enrolled in the Android Beta program. Alternatively, you can skip the wait and manually update your device by flashing the updated system images.
Android 7.1 introduces several new features which we’re summarizing below:
- App Shortcuts API – up to 5 intents can be launched withnin a menu accessed by long-pressing on an app’s icon from the launcher
- Image Keyboard Support – easily share images from your IME to any text input in your favorite app
- Enhanced Live Wallpaper Metadata – wallpaper pickers can now display more detailed information while previewing the live wallpaper
- Round Icon Resources – developers can now easily style their app icon to be rounded to fit in with the new Pixel Launcher
- Storage Manager Intent – if running low on storage, apps can now directly guide user to the storage manager so they can quickly free up space
- Improved VR Thread scheduling – developers can dedicate a single thread solely to handling the VR process, hopefully reducing latency
The Android API level is also finally being bumped up to version 25 with this release, so if your device is running this latest preview you can start taking advantage of apps that are targeting API level 25, which includes Google Camera v4.2. Google has also opened up the ability for third-parties to start publishing apps in the Play Store under this new API level, so if you’re a developer looking to build an app aimed at Pixel owners you can get started immediately with the updated development tools.
That’s not all that’s new, though. Google tends to not publish a fully comprehensive change-log for the Developer Preview, so there’s always some goodies for users to discover once they’ve flashed the update. Here is a list of some new features that users are reporting on our forums. Keep in mind, though, that these features can be removed in a future update without notice:
- Reboot option in power menu
- Notification panel has space for an additional tile, and provides easier access to directly launch the settings app
- Support tab in settings
- New “Moves” menu in settings, which now holds all of the gesture-based options including Ambient Display, Double-Tap Power to launcher Camera, and Double Twist to switch between Cameras while in Google Camera
- sRGB picture color mode in Developer Settings
As expected, the Pixel “exclusive” features such as Google Assistant and fingerprint gestures are not available in this Developer Preview. Of course, you can already try Assistant if you have root access on your phone but we’ll have to wait and see if fingerprint gestures can feasibly be ported to other phones.
Today marks the release of the first Preview for Google devices, specifically the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, and Pixel C. Google has promised a second Developer Preview sometime in November that will be available for the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6X, Nexus Player, Nexus 9, Pixel C, and the General Mobile 4G. Finally, Android 7.1 Nougat will be officially released to the public via OTA update sometime in December to all of the aforementioned devices. If you are planning on running the developer preview, keep in mind that you may face issues with performance, battery life, or stability. You should be aware that Google does not intend for users to run these Developer Previews as a daily driver, so don’t be surprised when something goes wrong. That being said, Google has provided a list of currently known issues:
- Device may freeze when users are playing videos in multiple windows and change the volume.
- Device with low storage stuck in boot loop animation on reboot.
- Native crash in Bluetooth observed when trying to share a file from Files app.
- Setup Wizard
- Users setting up a factory-reset device and using Setup Wizard may experience minor issues with UI and functionality.
- Backup and restore
- After backup, launcher data and wallpapers may not be restored.
If you’re brave enough to flash the Developer Preview, let us know if you find any additional new features below.