Google just announced that it plans to release a developer preview and public beta of Android 7.1, the first major update to Nougat, sometime later this month. The 7.1 beta will be available first on the Nexus 6P, 5X, and Pixel C tablet. The Pixel and Pixel XL, launching on October 20th, will be the first devices to ship with Android 7.1 out of the box. The Pixel phones also get exclusive built-in features like the Google Assistant, Pixel Camera, Pixel Launcher, and 24/7 customer support, which do not appear in the core Android 7.1 release. Google has said it will continue supporting Nexus products through software updates and customer service, but the days of Nexus being first to receive the latest Android upgrades are over.
Some of the new consumer-facing features that are included in Android 7.1 for non-Pixel devices are Night Light — Android’s answer to Night Shift in iOS — plus Daydream VR support and optimizations to touch and display responsiveness. Developers can also now add “app shortcuts” to their Android apps, letting users skip to certain sections or features of the software directly from their home screen. Yeah, it’s pretty close to 3D Touch minus the pressure-sensitive display.
Google isn’t yet saying when Android 7.1 will be widely rolled out to Nexus hardware, but at least you won’t need to wait much longer to get in on the beta. Just sign up for the Android Beta Program to ensure you get the update when it’s ready.