Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 22nd Aug 2016 17:43 UTC
Android

It's Android 7.0 Nougat day! Well, for the owners of a small number of Nexus devices, and even then, of a small subset of them, because of the staged rollout - well, for them, it's Android 7.0 Nougat day! If you have a Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Nexus Player, Pixel C or General Mobile 4G (Android One), you can try checking for updates starting today. Alternatively, you can manually install a factory image once they become available.

Since Nougat's been out as a developer preview for a while - I've been running it on my 6P for months - I doubt any of you will be surprised by what Nougat brings to the table. It's a relatively small release compared to some other Android releases, but it still brings a number of interesting refinements and new features - the biggest of which is probably the new multiwindow feature.

The Verge's got a review up, and mentions some of the less obvious features that I think are quite important:

A lot of what's new in Nougat are features you can't really see. I'm talking about deeply nerdy (but important) stuff like a JIT compiler for ART apps and support for the Vulkan API for 3D graphics. The former should provide some performance gains while the latter will help Android games look way better. Google also fixed up the way Android handles media so that it's more secure, added file-based encryption, and added some features for enterprise users.

Another important feature laying groundwork for the future: seamless updates. Starting with Nougat, Android will use two separate partitions so updates can be installed and applied in the background, so that the next time you reboot, it's ready to go.

As always - no idea when any of you will get to use Nougat, but it's out there now.

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Comment by SaschaW
by SaschaW on Mon 22nd Aug 2016 18:53 UTC
SaschaW
Member since:
2007-07-19

Sounds like good news for select Android users!

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by SaschaW
by flanque on Mon 22nd Aug 2016 22:30 in reply to "Comment by SaschaW"
flanque Member since:
2005-12-15

True but I think the following part will be a great piece of foundational work for Android, which iOS and Windows Phone could learn from:

"Another important feature laying groundwork for the future: seamless updates. Starting with Nougat, Android will use two separate partitions so updates can be installed and applied in the background, so that the next time you reboot, it's ready to go."

Edited 2016-08-22 22:32 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by SaschaW
by ahferroin7 on Tue 23rd Aug 2016 12:19 in reply to "RE: Comment by SaschaW"
ahferroin7 Member since:
2015-10-30

The thing I find interesting is that this has technically been possible from day one, yet Android hasn't actually supported doing it until now.

This technique has been used for years in firmware updates on server systems, and more recently on good desktop motherboards. Similar methods have been used in a large number of embedded systems over the years. This isn't anything new, and it kind of saddens me that Google's taken this long to get to this point.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by SaschaW
by darknexus on Tue 23rd Aug 2016 19:09 in reply to "RE: Comment by SaschaW"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Oh sure, updates are so very seamless. Which is why hardly anybody ever gets them!

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Comment by SaschaW
by kurkosdr on Tue 23rd Aug 2016 15:18 in reply to "Comment by SaschaW"
kurkosdr Member since:
2011-04-11

Sounds like good news for select Android users!

As one of those select users who was smart enough to vote with their wallet during purchase instead of whining later, by buying a Nexus 5X, I agree...

B... B... But I needs to has teh latest Snapdragons and 10jiggabytes of RAM and 20 megapixal camerazzz. Nexus isn't good enough for me.

At least average users know what they are buying when they buy Galaxy phones and don't care about updates at all. All those nerds however buying non-Nexus Android devices and then clogging Android forums whining about lack of updates or about how much buggy third-party ROMs are sound really confused to me.


------------

I don't know what they mean with the JIT bit. We supposedly went into to ART in order to get out of JIT hell, where apps that aren't already cached have to be recompiled as they are used. Now they want to bring JIT back?

I never got the point of this dex (dalvik executable) nonsense anyway, which is basically code that has been compiled to a fictional ISA nobody has ever implemented in hardware. Couldn't they just mandate from app developers to compile their apps for ARM, x86 and MIPS64 before submission to the Play Store and be done with it? This is what is regularly being done for apps with Native-code components anyway.

Edited 2016-08-23 15:33 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by SaschaW
by moondevil on Tue 23rd Aug 2016 15:43 in reply to "RE: Comment by SaschaW"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

It is a consequence of Google not being able to learn what Microsoft and Apple are doing with native compilation for managed languages on mobile OSes.

While Apple and Microsoft compile their bytecode, LLVM bitcode and .NET Native/MDIL respectively, on their store servers and serve a fresh baked binary to the users devices, Google has decided to do AOT compilation directly on the device.

So of course it lead to very lenghty installation times.

Now for Android N, instead of doing what Apple and Microsoft are doing, they missed again the opportunity and decided for an hybrid approach.

A very fast interpreter written in Assembly that works together with a JIT compiler, which does profile guided optimizations. Then when the device is plugged and not being used, that information is used to AOT compile to native code, just the code being actually used.

As why everyone is using bytecode for mobile devices, they want to give maximum freedom to OEMs to freely change their CPUs.

However the approach taken by Apple and Microsoft make much more sense than what Google is doing with their battery eating compilers.

Reply Parent Score: 3