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Taking the final wrapper off of Android 7.0 Nougat (android-developers.blogspot.com)
290 points by raptaml on Aug 22, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 243 comments

Just a shout-out to the fine folks over at CopperheadOS[0]who have been doing a lot of behind-the-scenes hardening in Android over the last year[1].

If you have a Nexus device and don't care much for the Play Store applications (F-Droid is included) give it a go for a true AOSP experience.

The only apps I'm really missing are Tasker and Signal, but I have a second phone for those.

0: https://copperhead.co/android/

1: https://copperhead.co/android/docs/technical_overview

Can't you install the Signal apk directly, from apkmirror[0] ?

0: http://www.apkmirror.com/apk/open-whisper-systems/signal-pri...

Signal has a Google Play Services dependency for notifications, so it won't work properly without installing the whole Google package.

Open Whisper Systems (the developers of Signal) apparently don't want to replace it or even just build in a fallback [0], and even fought with the LibreSignal developers, which is a fork that removes this dependency, and told them to stop using their servers [1], which lead to LibreSignal being discontinued.

I don't know what the heck is going on with this, but yeah, it's not pretty.

[0]: https://github.com/WhisperSystems/Signal-Android/issues/1106

[1]: https://github.com/LibreSignal/LibreSignal/issues/37#issueco...

There's also a more elaborate article on the topic here:


There's a FOSS replacement for Google Play Services¹, and even Moxie himself² suggests using Signal with it if you not comfortable with Google Play.

¹ https://github.com/microg/android_packages_apps_GmsCore/wiki

² https://github.com/LibreSignal/LibreSignal/issues/37#issueco...

I am using it and while it's not really working for me (I suppose an update broke it), it's enough to convince Signal to install.

It doesn't receive push notifications but I still receive messages once I run the app in the foreground (a thing I almost consider a feature now and not a bug)

from 2: > I understand that federation and defined protocols that third parties can develop clients for are great and important ideas, but unfortunately they no longer have a place in the modern world.

Wow, Moxie... What the hell?

Re: APKMirror: I have the same questions I have about all APK proxy services - which claim to pull the APKs directly form the Play Store - why would I trust it to provide software that isn't infected with malware?

Other than APK Downloader, I haven't found another credible source among the very many options. Any solutions would be appreciated.


[0] APK Downloader, for those interested ... I'd start with the original, but the others might suit your needs:

* redphoenix89's original here: http://codekiem.com/2014/08/07/official-apk-downloader-v2-do... and here: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1515021

* Bexton's updated Chrome extension, based on v1.21: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1809458

* Lekensteyn updated Chrome extension, based on v1.3.4 of Bexton's: https://lekensteyn.nl/apk-downloader/ and https://github.com/Lekensteyn/apk-downloader

You are fine using apkmirror to grab an update you haven't yet received from the Play Store. When you install the apk, Android knows you are updating an app, verifies the signature, and ensures it came from the same developer.

Android is sane: it won't let you downgrade, further updates from the store will work correctly, etc. Since apkmirror usually get their apks from the Play Store, you'll be okay if you know what you are doing.

That said, your skeptical attitude is very appropriate. Installing apks from outside of the Play Store is by far the biggest vector for malware. Users that only install from the Play Store are currently safe (less than 0.15% of those users get malware).

> You are fine using apkmirror to grab an update you haven't yet received from the Play Store. When you install the apk, Android knows you are updating an app, verifies the signature, and ensures it came from the same developer.

Great point; thanks.

> apkmirror usually get their apks from the Play Store

How do you know this? I've read reports of other Play Store proxies who injected malware.

> your skeptical attitude is very appropriate. Installing apks from outside of the Play Store is by far the biggest vector for malware

I was talking about APK proxy services, which claimed to pull the APKs from Google Play Store. For app stores, there are other generally reputable sources, such as,

* F-Droid, which focuses on free/open source software and user privacy. It has an excellent reputation and builds every app from source.

* Aptoide: Large commercial market, claims to screen apps for malware

* SlideME: At least at one time, reputedly focused on small, indie devs.

* GetJar: "The worlds biggest Open App Store", Started "by developers for developers"

I'm not entirely sure, but doesn't APK signing prevent these third parties from tampering with the APKs?

Also, Raccoon is similar to APK Downloader: http://www.onyxbits.de/raccoon

There's also this desktop application to download from the play store https://codingteam.net/project/googleplaydownloader (codingteam.net, a "Forge" site, has an expired TLS cert)

It needs Google Play Services for push notifications over GCM.

Looks awesome, but no support for the Nexus 5 :(

Nexus 5 has a Snapdragon 800 with no 64-bit support. So, it's out. Same with the 805 in my Nexus 6. They're both kinda long in the tooth. The project supports the current (soon to be previous) generation of Nexus devices: 5x, 6p, 9.

I realized that quickly after I posted my comment.

Guess I'm gonna have to keep looking...

I been ran CM on a Nexus 5 some years ago, but since they quit releasing stables I left (the nightlies really weren't stable).

Now I have a 5X. Is the latest version available on the Copperhead site for that phone "based on Nougat"?

Nope, Marshmallow [0]. 0-day 3rd-party Android ROMs aren't really a thing, since AOSP code isnt publicly updated until final release (unless that changed this cycle, but I haven't heard of it).

[0] https://copperhead.co/android/downloads?device=bullhead

No Android 7 on my Nexus 5 might just be what pushes me to iOS. I've gone from being an Android evangelist to being an Android apologist ("Yeah, battery life sucks. Google has failed to fix it after X years") to now being, frankly, pissed off that my expensive phone is going to be left behind.

> my expensive phone is going to be left behind.

You bought a $350 phone and received updates for 3 years. I think you're in for a surprise when you price out a new iPhone.

This. Battery life on my Nexus 6P is just fine, at least equal to my friends with their iPhone 6 Pluses. My Note 4 also had solid battery life before that. For the most part, modern Android phones are much better than their predecessors in terms of battery. The UX is also quite nice as well.

My Nexus5 has great battery till I use it like my iPhone. Video, LTE, Webex? Lasts maybe a half hour under duress.

This was the case from day one, which is why it never became my daily driver. Good to keep up on what's going on with Android, though.

I had a Nexus 5 as well. Big improvements with the jump up to the 5X. I'd hope that this year's model will continue the trend.

This. My 6P lasts over 3 days with regular camera use while backpacking and all day with heavy use.

The iPhone SE is similarly priced and iOS devices receive updates for more than 3 years. iPhone 5 for instance got and runs fine iOS 9, 4 years after release.

> Phone 5 for instance got and runs fine iOS 9

It runs, but far from fine compared to iOS it shipped with with basically no added value.

Security updates ===== no added value?

If the updates would contain only security measures - but they don't. So I rather have an "insecure" device instead accepting an update that makes me want to throw the previously satisfactory device into the wall.[1]

But this is also not an option on iOS, because of the apps support and you have to update eventually.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9J6R0NnqOzc

iOS 9 runs hilariously badly on the iPhone 5.

It runs just fine on my iPhone 5 and it's my daily device.

Same for me, although there is some slowdown compared to iOS 7. I am extremely impressed with the longevity of Apple phones in general, and my 5 in particular.

iOS 9 runs and runs fine on iPhone 4S.

depends on what your definition of 'fine' is. I also use an iPhone 4S with iOS 9, and looked at how fast iOS 9 runs on iPhone 6S and iOS 8 on a friend's iPhone 4S. I don't think I'd call it anywhere close to fine.

I'm numb to the slow response times, but the crashing applications make me want to ditch this for a 50% cheaper android phone which runs faster, and doesn't have planned obsolescence[0] (the link talks about planned obsolescence in iPhone 4S and iOS 9 )

Now I'm okay with most of the stuff apple does with it's walled ecosystem, and appreciate some, but this is going directly against a consumer.

[0]: http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/iphone-4s-planned-obsole...

I agree. Especially considering the fact that it's possible to revert to iOS 6 with iPhone 4S. That's what "fine" looks like. I don't want to blame Apple, but iOS works fantastically bad on old devices, and hard to impossible downgrade doesn't add much love either. I bought iPhone at the time because it was responsive and Android was laggy. Guess it's reversed now.

> fact that it's possible to revert to iOS 6 with iPhone 4S

wait, can I get some more info about this? I assumed to cannot go back to old releases. Or are you talking about jailbreaking?

> iOS works fantastically bad on old devices

that's understating it. I actually think my nokia (symbianOS) from almost decade ago is faster. And I mean it is faster even today!

> wait, can I get some more info about this? I assumed to cannot go back to old releases. Or are you talking about jailbreaking?

You have to jailbreak current OS, then you can downgrade to iOS 6. It'll be jailbroken, but it's just enabled ssh, you can use it without installing Cydia and everything should work as normal. It could be done only with iPhone 4S or iPad 2 and only if current iOS is jailbroken (at least that was the case year ago, I was able to downgrade from iOS 8 to iOS 6 on iPhone 4S). Keyword to Google: OdysseusOTA. Officially there's indeed no way to downgrade, only using vulnerabilities.

Yeah, seriously. I've got an old iPad 2 and while I don't expect it to run like a (whatever the current iPad is called) the thing has been relegated to e-reader duty as even opening more than one tab in Safari causes it to lag and freeze up.

I've always spoken well of Apple's software update record but it comes with a nasty flipside in my experience: unlike an old x86 PC or Android device, once you update the OS, you're generally stuck. No downgrading and certainly no "slimmed down" builds or alternate OSes to breathe new life into physically intact but not-current hardware.

I have an iPhone 64G and iOS 9 runs just fine. In fact it runs so well I've not seen any reason to upgrade.

The Nexus 5 (16gb - $349, 32gb - $399) was released nearly three years ago for a fraction of the price of the comparable iPhone at the time (iPhone 5s: 16gb - $649, 32gb - $749). I think you got a hell of a deal. Upgrade to the 5x for another $350 be happy with another few years of support. Or wait for the new Nexus phones to come out this fall...

The only thing I'd add here is that unfortunately the Nexus 5x is not an upgrade over the 5 in terms of performance. It might even be a downgrade (I own both). Because the 5x uses a 64-bit arch, it uses more RAM than the 5x (and both only have 2GB). Also, the SD808 (2GHz) cores in the 5x are hardly a step up from the SD800 (2.2GHz) cores. The only real upgrade the 5x gives you is the camera.

Best new features for me are fingerprint sensor, USB-C and and quick charge.

Quick charge is a game changer. Less pressure to make the battery bigger if you can make the phone charge way faster.

> Best new features for me are fingerprint sensor, USB-C and and quick charge.

For me, USB-C is the worst part. Nobody else ever has a charger I can use, and when I plug into anything other than the wall adapter that came with the phone, it's always "charging slowly."

I keep this in the small key pocket of my jeans all the time (though my 6P battery life is around 1.5 days with heavy use):


I'll be upgrading my 5 to get USB-C, that little connectivity feature for me is the upgrade clincher.

I guess, but I prefer the wireless charging of the Nexus 5 to the USB-C connector of the 5x. Of course it would be nice to have both. Hopefully this year's versions bring back the wireless charging.

I was really disappointed since the Nexus 5. I'm not sure why Qi charging was removed. Quick charging doesn't replace being able to just put your phone down to charge.

>the Nexus 5x is not an upgrade over the 5 in terms of performance

Isnt it [0]? A 10-100% gain in performance is about what I'd expect from a 2-year smartphone cycle, and we'd be lucky to continue to get such gains.

If you can present data that actually shows no performance difference between the 5 and 5X, I'd be interested to see it.

[0] http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2015/10/nexus-5x-and-nexus-6p...

The Nexus 5X has no wireless inductive charging. My nice little Yootech charger sitting on my desk is useless with my wife's 5X. Those cool "charging tables" at Starbucks and other such places are suddenly useless, as well.

Also, 5X uses the USB-C connector, so you have to update all your cables and adapters on your desk and in your car. A real pain. When you're out in the world and need a charge-up, you'd better be carrying a USB-C cable, because no one else will have one.

I consider the 5X a side-grade and not of any particular value if you already have a 5. The 6P is at least a larger handset with a larger battery so it's got that going for it.

The good folks at Anker make thumb-size adapters that graft onto a USB-mini connector and turn it into a USB-C. These are easy to carry around and cost all of $5.99 on Amazon. Takes most of the hassle out of traveling in a mini-world.

You do have to remember to collect them when you're done, but the penalty for forgetting every now and then is not ruinous.

Anker have made a silly deal with some distributors that means that outside of the US and UK, genuine Anker products can be hard to get.

(Local distributor here has a minimum 1.5x markup plus a very very limited range)

Wireless charging is so much slower than wired. I played around with it with my old S4 (same launch year as the Nexus 5) via a receiver you could throw in the case. USB-C (easy connections and more reliability) plus fast charging make wireless charging seem like a quaint idea that couldn't catch on. Don't get me wrong, it'll come around eventually, but it's not really there yet. Once it's faster and a single standard, then we can talk.

Slower, sure? That's a given.

But being able to simply set my phone on my desk and keep it fully charged is a convenience I won't soon give up. I now buy phones with that in mind.

In theory, plugging in a cable isn't time consuming, but in practice, I only actually keep my phone charged during the day if I have a wireless charger nearby.


> Nexus 5

> Expensive phone

Really ? That phone costed less than half of what an iphone costs and you can easily get a well supported ROM if you wish to.

Granted the situation sucks, but Google has been upfront about their support timeline.

FWIW, I've deliberately kept my Nexus 5 on Android 4.4.4 and it runs as well as the first day I bought it 2.5 years ago. Multi-day battery life, no compatibility issues (because no OS updates), all the latest apps still run on it, etc. Not to mention it was an affordable phone even when it was brand new. Very happy with it overall; I can easily see it lasting me another few years.

There has to be some nasty security vulnerabilities lurking on that phone. There have been a lot of security patches to Android over the past 2.5 years to fix various exploits. I'm sure it does run great, but I would personally be uncomfortable missing out on so many security fixes.

I don't pay a lot of attention to the Android OS, but I do recall there was a nasty exploit discovered about a year ago (called Stagefright) where a specially-crafted text message with a picture or image can cause malicious code to be run on the phone the moment the phone receives the message.

And almost no one got those updates other than Nexus and a few high cost mobiles.

I can still buy 4.4 phones as new on my city.

I have an Android ADP1 --- one of the original development phones, the HTC Dream with the custom paint job. It's got 192MB of RAM and a single-core 528MB ARM11. It ran Cupcake, aka Android 1.5 (although I've since upgraded it to,

If you ignore the hilarious security bugs --- like the fact that, as shipped, they forgot to disconnect the keyboard from a root shell, so that if you typed 'reboot' into an email hilarious things happened --- it actually runs rather well; it's smooth and perfectly satisfactory to use.

...holy crap Cupcake would run well on a modern phone.

I also had ADP1 - and I think that the latest official update was to Donut, aka Android 1.6.

Not that it matters much today...

Yeah, I've got Donut on it now.

Unfortunately its https library uses some obsolete crypto technique --- TLS 2? --- and as a result it can't connect to anything on the internet, not even to fetch updates from the App Market (not the Play Store!). I can't even log in to Google.

I did have Gingerbread on it at one point but it was very unhappy.

I found a partial Debian port but there's still not really enough RAM for that. I wonder if there's a NetBSD port...

Yeah, I also tried Cyanogenmod Eclair and Froyo on it, but it was an excelent way to waste a lot of time watching things happen in slow motion. So I flashed it back to Donut and few weeks later got another phone, that ran Froyo properly.

I didn't know that the App Market doesn't work anymore - about 18 months back, my brother was still using it (as a backup phone, obviously).

Classic "don't fix it if it ain't broken". How have you manage to disable the System update annoyance ?

Shitty Lollipop made me sell the Nexus 5 last year with its bad battery life and memory leak (and they still didn't fix the mobile radio wakelock), but when downgrading to 4.4 it was next to impossible to block the notification. I remember methods used at time just caused the Google Play Services to hold the wakelock, since the update checker became a part of it.

Press and hold the notification, select App Info, disable notifications. That has worked for me very well.

On the Nexus? I remember that checkmark being disabled for the update notification.

That phone was eons better than my 5x, and cheaper. Only got rid of it due to physical damage.

I'm really not impressed with the Nexus 5x at all compared to every other Nexus phone Ive had (2 others), both from a price and general performance perspective.

The alternative is the iOS update process, which has the result of non-techies complaining that their iPhone 4 is now slow after the update, and the techies they know pleading with them not to update even though the number gets bigger.

Another alternative would be to keep releasing security updates. If open source projects can manage more than three years support, it's not out of the question for Google to do it, at least for the major versions.

I'm using a Galaxy Note 3 with CyanogenMod 12.1 (Lollipop) and I get each month's security updates. So it appears as though Google does release security updates for existing major versions.

You mean issue security updates for multiple major versions, like Marshmallow, Lollipop and KitKat?

That's an overhead to code, backport and test. These resources could be spent elsewhere.

Do old versions of iOS receive security updates?

iOS 6 got an update for goto fail even after iOS 7 was out, but that's the only time they've done it I think. I think in that case it could have been because they still had in-warranty devices that didn't support iOS 7

Unfortunately this also forces me away from the Nexus family. I just can't handle the size of the Nexus 6 - being a fairly petite female a large phone is just unwieldy. I'm not sure the phone developers ever take physical size into consideration. If anyone can recommend a small replacement phone that supports running the original Android OS instead of a OEMified mess?

The Nexus 5x should be great for you. It's a 5-inch screen and may have a couple more years of new Android versions left in it. Or better yet, wait for the new Nexus phones set to be released this year. Should add another year of Android support from Google.

Nexus 5X is listed at Google support site ( https://support.google.com/nexus/answer/4457705#nexus_device... ) to have "No guaranteed Android version updates after September 2017". You might want to wait for the new Nexus according to rumours will release in September.

The Nexus 6(p) is the phablet line. The Nexus 5(x) is a normal form factor.

I've owned both the 5 and 6, it's definitely a matter of preference. The Nexus 5x would probably be closer to what you are looking for.

Between the volatile battery life and Android OEMs almost entirely abandoning the non-phablet market, I'm about ready to move to iOS as well.

I still think Android's UX blows iOS out of the water these days, but the best UX in the world doesn't help me if the phone is dead, or too big to use one-handed on the go.

khm, expensive? IIRC nexus 5 had great hardware for it's price.

Indeed. The Nexus 5 was not expensive relative to the iOS devices he is consider getting. 3 years worth of updates was just about worth the device's price.

On another note I hated the Nexus 5 and that LCD screen always felt washed out!

I liked the screen for not being overly saturated like the others! And boy was that phone fast. Every once in a while when I try my Nexus 5 it feels faster than my 6P, for some reason.

N5 is very fast for that price, but camera sucks and plastic frame beaks easily. Not to mention how fragile are side buttons... And screen is quite hard to repair!

But hey, for 350 bucks, it's a good deal.

Not sure if I agree with the screen being hard to repair/replace. I decided to do it a few months back and all it really took was taking all of the parts out, gluing the screen to the frame and putting the parts back in. Had I bought a screen with a frame, all I would've needed to do was transplant the parts from the old frame to the new one. Not difficult at all.

I skipped from the N4 to OPO, but on a 6P as of a few months back... probably won't upgrade until the end of 2018.

Heh, I just upgraded my Nexus 5 to Android 6 this week.

Been in 4.4 for ages, after testing the awful battery life of Android 5 and going back.

I find the battery life in 6 be about the same as 4.4, after installing xposed framework and Amplify & Greenify modules.

Besides a change in colors from dark to white, and the new lock screen notifications that I'm still thinking about disabling, I don't see a lot in actual improvements using Android 6.

There will definitely be some XDA fix for that. The Nexus 5 has by far the largest developer community. I agree about how it's become much harder to promote Android these days and I can't see myself getting another device after my G4.

You really need to buy a flagship to compare with iPhone.

But the update experience on flagships (except if you count the Nexus 6P) is absolutely terrible. I had an Android excursion: Nexus 4 -> Moto X 2013 -> Moto X 2014. Motorola was known at the time for quick updates. This meant in practice that they pushed out an extremely buggy Android 5.0 quickly, and then waited half a year to push out a release with fixes. On the Moto X 2013 I had to wait more than a year (!) for Lollipop, although at the time of release the phone was only released a year ago.

tl;dr Android updates on non-Nexus flagships are terrible. Updates are typically months late and stop after 12 or 18 months.

> But the update experience on flagships (except if you count the Nexus 6P) is absolutely terrible.

I don't really agree. I have always got regular security updates on my Samsung flagship phones. Yeah I will have to wait ~6 months for Nougat but that's hardly of any concern. There is no feature in Nougat that I don't already have from Samsung. The only thing you have to care about is the monthly security patches and Samsung has been one of the fastest to issue those every month.

Battery life sucks on Android flagship phones because they are running so many peripherals and the devs don't bother with aggressive power management. That is not Android's fault.

Witness the $200 phones that get spectacular battery life on stock Android primarily because they aren't running hardware that mostly goes unused and are unburdened by poorly designed launchers written by enterprisey Java devs.

> Battery life sucks on Android flagship phones

> $200 phones that get spectacular battery life on stock Android because they ... are unburdened by poorly designed launchers written by enterprisey Java devs.

Are you saying that there are launchers / home screens that are _better_ than stock android in some dimension? I'm interested to hear more.

Much as I like iOS (as a normal user, not a dev nor power-user), you'll be surprised how poor battery life is.

Coming from Jolla, with a huge battery life, I was really disappointed that iOS can't make it an entire day without recharging. Even with bluetooth and gps mostly off.

I saw this coming and the rumors of the headphone-less iPhone 7 so I took the plunge on the 6S. I miss quite a few Android features but the experience is still pretty darn good.

Using the beta for the last couple weeks (easy to install on nexus via android.com/beta), I really like the notification improvements in 7.0. They are grouped by app now, which makes things easier to navigate, and the new clean styling of the notification content makes it more pleasant to read.

1171.5MB for the download alone!

It is a shame about the Nexus5 not getting the update, it's still a pretty decent phone and not slow by any means.

I broke the screen on my Nexus5 recently so I brought a Nexus6, so far the battery seems to be worse than the N5 (I miss the wireless charging), so I'm looking forward to the battery improvements!

Edit: The split screen is a great feature, and not finicky at all. Being able to play videos in the background is going to be one of those features that you cannot live without (OK, it's a first world problem).

Personally, I don't care for any [0] of the new features. This is the greatest feature, because it means Android is mature now.

[0] Sure, better performance is always nice, but I don't care for Vulkan, VR Mode, or Multi-Window.

There is one awesome new feature that is not mentioned on most "best new features" list: built-in night mode (blue light filter). Works much better than similar apps from the store - those work by placing a translucent overlay window on top of everything else, which gives everything (including black!) a reddish hue. The new built-in filter, on the other hand, just removes blue, and blacks remain black.

Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that this made it into the final version of N. I can't find it anywhere in the settings anyway.

So apparently what happened is that they left the code in, but removed the switch in System UI Turner. So those who were in the beta program, installed preview builds, and enabled the feature, still have it enabled after upgrading to 7.0 final. But if you didn't have it enabled before, there's no way to do so out of the box.

However, there's a third party app that provides access to the switch (seems to not work for some people, or require several tries - YMMV): http://android.wonderhowto.com/how-to/enable-hidden-night-mo...

It's on my 6p which had an updated this morning that I assume was N final (I've been running the betas). It's in the dropdown settings pane. You might need to hit "EDIT" and add it as a tile?

I have updated my 6P to final, and it's still there. You might still need to jump through "experimental feature" hoops to enable it though - I haven't checked, but you had to do so in the last preview build.

I don't think the blue light filter made it into the final release

As in it's available without root? Because this has been available with root since KitKat, and there were also some apps which allowed you to use it...

I didn't know about this and now I am really interested in the update. I've been using one of the overlay ones for a while and it is kind of annoying.

I just upgraded to Android 7.0. Night Mode is still there! You can access it by enabling the system UI tuner.

Just swipe down from the top of the screen to reveal the quick settings, and then press and hold the Settings icon (gear) for a few seconds and release. This will enable the UI tuner.

Swipe down from the top again, then tap "EDIT" in the bottom right corner. There should be a tile for "Night mode", which you can drag and drop into the quick settings panel for easy toggling.

Did you upgrade from DP5?

I didn't and I can confirm the feature isn't there in a 6->7 update.

I can't find it, I searched settings for 'blue, 'bed' & 'night'.

The Doze improvements look nice to me.

This is the most significant update, way way overdue.

Seriously. I switched back to an iPhone from Lollipop earlier this year, and the difference in battery life is staggering, even though the iPhone has a smaller battery than the Android phone I used to have.

I'm glad that Google has signaled that they are going to further tighten the restrictions on background app activities in future releases. I hope they follow through with it.

It's a trade-off. I hate that on iOS I have to have location services ON in order for, say, owncloud to back up my photos in the background. On Android, it just works in the background like it should. Sure, iOS saves on battery because of this, but I strongly feel I should have a say in this as a user. Some apps really should be allowed to run in the background.

Except everyone misuses such a thing, privacy gets violated, often don't test well for battery in many different conditions, and then users end up with a shit experience yet don't have the technical expertise to understand why (or which app is causing the problem). Android is particularly difficult since you can have a service running without an app present, so disabling it isn't very intuitive.

I think Apple has done a better job at this balance by not letting people shoot themselves in the foot at the cost the odd useful service not being possible.

Android's starting to head down this road in a better way - add more restrictions to prevent poorly written apps from draining your battery, but allow a override in settings to 'disable battery optimizations' for that app so the user still has control.

I have been on Android Beta on Nexus 6p and if I turn off the Now Cards, the phone takes 2 days to go from ~95% to ~45%. I do have to pay attention to how I keep the phone charged though... I always try to not charge beyond 95% and never let it drop below 40%.

I assume you can cite no evidence that your battery charging regimen makes any difference whatsoever.

Yea there's a bit of a disconnect between the two "things" stated in my comment. I guess what I was trying to say was that if I was not anal about hi and lo watermarks of the charge and didn't mind it dropping below 40%, and with Now Cards disabled... the phone could keep going between 3 to 4 days without charging.

I wonder if you could get the same effect by turning off only some of the Now cards. Perhaps a few of them are responsible for the majority of the battery usage.

It would be a shame to have to turn off all of them. I found most of them to be useful.

Didn't actually try to go into the details tbh. But that sounds like giving it a try though.

And with this, they just killed all actual apps for Android.

Anything you can do with an app you can do as well with a website.

Any actual app, not just a website in form of an app, which did computational task, data recording, or kept services available, is impossible to create now.

Run tracking app that doesn’t require you uploading your GPS data to Google Fit? Impossible.

Messaging app that doesn’t route all your private messages through Google Cloud Messaging? Impossible.

EDIT: before downvoting, read the comment below from morsch, he and I explained there pretty well the issues.

What on earth are you talking about? All of those things you listed as impossible will still be possible.

All Google did is restrict what apps can do in the background, and announced that there will be further restrictions in the future: all background tasks will have to be done through the JobScheduler API.

This does not prevent apps from doing stuff in the background, it just prevents them from doing whatever they want, whenever they want -- they will have to follow the proper procedure.

That was true with Marshmallow.

With Nougat, no background tasks will be run at all while the screen is off – except for Google services, or if they keep the CPU on 100% of the time with a wake lock.

JobScheduler also doesn’t allow continuous tasks, but only short tasks – so you can’t actually keep a low-cost socket open.

> With Nougat, no background tasks will be run at all while the screen is off – except for Google services.


First, mobile Doze doesn't kick in immediately when the screen is off.

Second, mobile Doze apparently doesn't stop all background tasks except "Google services" from running, since "wake locks" from apps for background tasks are still supported.

Is that true? Will my email client stop notifying me of new email?

That doesn't sound appealing at all.

In most cases, notifications might be delayed by several hours, yes.

Or never happen at all.

Or just work normally.

Depending on when the heuristics think you are less likely to use your phone.

There is one way to keep getting notifications, by using proprietary Google services, and sending a ping from your server via Google to the device, or sending the actual notification that way.

Which, for email, means either everyone who does that has to build every app themselves from source, or you have to send that data to a third party server which then sends it to Google

> Is that true? Will my email client stop notifying me of new email?

There are mechanisms to get high-priority notifications, and methods to do background work that are batched on increasingly long intervals to save battery life (both the batching and the increasing intervals serve that purpose), so that shouldn't be an issue. Notifications that need to be immediate have a path, and ones that don't should still happen, just not immediately.

> Second, mobile Doze apparently doesn't stop all background tasks except "Google services" from running, since "wake locks" from apps for background tasks are still supported.

Except a Wake Lock has a significant battery impact, causing the CPU to stay on at all times.

There’s no way to keep your app running while also saving battery – which is the general ideal you want.

So, tell me, how do I keep a socket open without wasting battery?

A guarantee that, if the device has connection, the notification is transmitted within of 15 seconds, and that the device (in the case of the moto G 2014) gets still the 2 days battery runtime it’d get without the app.

That’s what I set as minimum goals for my app, and what I was able to get with older Android versions.

There's a pretty big difference between "no background tasks will be run except Google services" and "the options for background tasks are more restricted than in previous Android releases".

The second is indisputably true of Nougat, no one is arguing against it; the first is what you said upthread, what I was arguing against, and what is and remains false.

It is basically only Google, though, because the only way to keep something running is with a severe penalty, and the user is kept directly notified about that.

In previous dev versions, Google even didn’t allow wake locks at all (which is where my confusion is from), saying devs should instead move all their processing to server side, and use GCM for everything.

This is basically what iOS has done from the start.

If you don't see the app in front of you, iOS will very quickly kill it if it has any background tasks.

It's a leaky abstraction, but honestly I like the implicit promise/guarantee between the scheduler and the user.

I only get annoyed when I want some batch task like uploading photos, but even then it's not too hard to leave the phone powered on and unlocked on my desk until the photos upload...

Except when you try to ensure someone gets notifications while the phone is in an intranet.

Or when you try to transmit notifications without going through Google/Apple servers, because those require you to control the messaging server (due to API auth limitations), which does not work with distributed systems.

A messaging app that only works when the screen is on is useless.

Why not use Apple's servers to deliver a ping, and then the app checks with your own server what the content of the message should be?

That way, you get realtime event notifications without the privacy risk of exposing content to Apple's servers.

To send any message to Apple’s push service, you need to have a certificate.

That same certificate can be used to replace your app on the store, or so on.

Basically, that is your one key to the kingdom.

So, I obviously can’t give everyone who hosts a server for the app that key.

So I have to host a server transmitting all those pings then.

Even ignoring the obvious DDoS risk, and assuming it’s only used in good ways, I end up with having to buy an entire additional server, just for that.

And I still leak metadata, which – as the NSA has shown – can be easily correlated with who is whom if you have enough data.

Please provide a link to this if you can.

Here's something he's referring to; messaging through Google's cloud infrastructure may be privileged[0]: "Like in Marshmallow, apps can still "punch through" Doze mode by sending a "high-priority message" via Firebase Cloud Messaging (formerly called "Google Cloud Messaging"). High-priority messages are the expected format for instant messaging apps, so users still get notified of messages when their phone is Dozing."

Hard to say whether this is one way to do it, or the only way. (E.g. "Unlike stationary Doze, wake locks (apps requesting the phone stay awake so they can do background tasks) are still allowed.")

[0] http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2016/08/android-7-0-nougat-re...

Thanks, that’s part of what I was referring to.

A wake lock is possible, but it’s far more battery intensive than just using the pre-Nougat solutions.

Pre-Nougat, I could keep a socket open, and only have a timeout message sent every 28 minutes to keep it open – at very low battery cost.

Now I either have to keep a wakelock – keeping the CPU always on, instead of just a few milliseconds per hour – or I can’t use it at all.

That’s a severe issue for me.

(I can’t use GCM, due to architectural reasons, and would have to ask tenthousands of people to change their IRC bouncer setup completely).

As an iPhone 6s+ user, multi-window makes me drool

better (== less irritating) notifications are the killer for me.

Global Smartphone Marketshare Q2/2016

  Android    ...  86.2
  iOS        ...  12.9
  Windows    ...   0.6
  Blackberry ...   0.1
  Other      ...   0.2

No nexus 5 (not 5x) OTA Update ='(

Also, no update for the Nexus 7 (2013) tablet:


[I]t's too bad that the support lifecycle of the most consistently updated Android devices is so much shorter than what Apple achieves with iOS, especially since the hardware should still be more than capable of supporting Nougat.

My 2013 Nexus 7 is perfectly fine... except for now being left behind, software-wise.

I bought once / as soon as I learned that its successor had not been worth waiting for. So, I got significantly less than 3 years out of it. Would have bought the successor, except...

Guess I'll be rooting it. And buying Apple, next time.

Android 6 is very likely to be supported for quite some time by app developers, it's not like you're missing out on much by not running the latest version of the OS.

Exactly! I own this device and still use it often...I see no reason to stop using it. It received a security patch just recently, and I don't feel that missing out on further updates will impact watching YouTube videos

Things are tough all over.

Signed, person that bought a first generation iPad.

Yeah. First world problem, or whatever. But, like my 2013 Moto X, it's irritating to get less than 2 years out of a multiple hundred dollar product that otherwise is fine.

And I would have bought the successor to the Nexus 7, except there was none, really -- nothing comparable and problem free (in addition to the price bump and larger size, the 9 had issues, initially, IIRC).

And... after the Moto X, and observing how quickly my parents' Samsung tablet on Verizon was abandoned, I wasn't willing to get a tablet other than a Nexus, i.e. one receiving support and updates directly from Google.

My point, finally, is that even going Nexus is no longer a way to get reasonable support for a product, it seems. I've gotten pretty tired of Google and company's game of musical chairs, with respect to hardware.


P.S. I post these comments, occasionally, here on HN also because I know Googlers still swing by and read them.

The only means of feedback I've ever found to Google.

Enough people push enough negativity through Google's version of the reality distortion field, and at least an initiative gets launched. Thing is, Google, you need to stick with it -- one of them -- sooner or later.

> First world problem, or whatever. But, like my 2013 Moto X, it's irritating to get less than 2 years out of a multiple hundred dollar product that otherwise is fine.

I have a Nexus S, a Nexus 4, and a Nexus 5. The 5 is dead; I don't think it's recoverable. The 4 is dying; it runs fine but the battery is expanding. The S, to this day, has no hardware problems. But despite the availability of up-to-date cyanogenmod builds for it, it can't run modern android at acceptable speeds.

If specs are stabilizing (?), I'd really like to see a return to the replaceable-battery/robust hardware school of phones. :/

>2013 Moto X

I've got the 2014/2015 Moto X (XT1592) and it's sitting on the May 2016 security update... which is very vulnerable.


"Unlocking" the phone results in a tricky to remove boot-warning screen and

As a former owner of 2013 Nexus 7 with LTE... it was permanently behind software-wise.

Well, at least until it died by the way of sudden reboot of death. Things might have improved since then.

Shame on Google. iPhone 5 was released a year before it (September 2012) and is going to receive iOS 10 in a few weeks. This is just laziness on Google's side.

Nexus 5 launch price: US$349

iPhone 5 launch price: US$649

A phone nearly twice the price should be supported quite a lot longer.

But it's not quite a bit longer, but much longer. The last major update for the Nexus 5 was Marshmallow. Mashmallow was released in October 2015, the Nexus 5 was released in October 2013. So, one got major updates for 24 months iff you bought it on release day and you were lucky to be in a region where it was available in in October 2013.

The iPhone 5s was released in approximately the same timeframe (September 2013). It gets iOS 10 and will probably receive iOS 11 as well (since the 5 gets 10 and they now seem to drop one generation per release). So, that will give major updates at least until 2017, or four years.

I am not sure why we find this acceptable anyway. When we buy a $300-400 Windows x86 laptop, we also expect it to be upgradable for a decade or so (which is usually possible).

The Nexus 5 was released in October 2013 and was on the most up to date version of Android through August 2016. It will continue to get security updates. Plus it will continue to get updates to Google Services (a chunk of what we think of as Android) and the core apps including the default browser. Unlike Apple, Google doesn't really do the 'you get the next version but a bunch of new features are disabled' thing. The fact that Google Services, core apps, Chrome, and other things will continue to get updates does feel vaguely reminiscent of it, though.

> I am not sure why we find this acceptable anyway. When we buy a $300-400 Windows x86 laptop, we also expect it to be upgradable for a decade or so (which is usually possible).

We didn't used to. Not so long ago, keeping the same computer for 10 years would have been a ludicrous idea.

Heck, I got a Dell laptop for considerably more than $400 in 2003, less than 13 years ago. Its screen died 3 years later. I still have it around, but it's not much good without a display.

And Qualcomm, etc. They tend to support their own chips for about 18 months.

Not really surprising given the device's age, but still disappointing given the presumably rather large number of Nexus 5 still in use.

The bigger story may be the inability to come up with a compelling reason for N5 users to upgrade, other than getting the latest OS revision. The N5's compactness in particular makes the 5X (and the impending successor, codenamed "Sailfish") a tough sell.

> Not really surprising given the device's age

Nexus 5 released late 2013, last major OS update in late 2015. Compare to the iPhone 4S, which came out late 2011 and still got iOS 9 (4 years later).

Really not buying the "two years is plenty of updates" excuse, especially from the Nexus line.

Not entirely fair comparison since the 4S didn't get every feature; it was a paired down version. AFAIK, Google doesn't cherrypick features for older hardware - it's all our nothing. Also, the 4S ran terribly on ios9, to the point that two of my friends with 4S's just gave in and bought new iphones instead.

I ran it myself as a secondary device for phone app testing and didn't have that problem. Maybe as a daily driver I would have had more trouble?

In my experience, the bigger issue was designers assuming everyone has the taller iPhone 5 screen size (or worse, iPhone 6) and burning up 95% of the screen with keyboard + giant fixed header + fixed footer. Some apps would give you space for maybe two lines of content in between all that.

More of a complaint with 3rd party devs on that though.

So - what would you prefer, a slower but secure OS on an older phone, or no updates at all?

Also the "cherrypick" comment is a bit of a dodge - Google already does security patches for older releases (3 years vs. 2).

It would arguably be just as easy to secure one codebase and pare features down for performance.

Comments like this are ridiculous. It wasn't a pared down operating system by any definition. Features just weren't available if you didn't have the requisite hardware.

Not everything was hardware related, or at least not obviously hardware related. My friends both really wanted public transit directions in maps and airdrop but neither feature shipped on the 4S. I also seem to remember that predictive Siri (Google Now-ish competitor, don't remember what they called that) didn't make it to the 4S.

So I do commend apple for getting updates to that device for 4 years, but at least in their experience, it made the phone worse and didn't bring all the features that they wanted.

> My friends both really wanted public transit directions in maps and airdrop but neither feature shipped on the 4S. I also seem to remember that predictive Siri (Google Now-ish competitor, don't remember what they called that) didn't make it to the 4S.

As I recall all those features were built only for 64bit CPUs which the 4s/mini didn't have.

Oh I never heard that before, interesting and thanks. Well, at least I did say it wasn't "obviously hardware" ;)

That's mostly true, but not entirely. When Google released OpenGL 3.0 and 3.1, older Nexus devices couldn't get that.

> Google doesn't cherrypick features for older hardware - it's all our nothing.

well they should.

You're getting more than two years of updates. There's another year of security updates, plus at least two years (probably more given historical trends) of system-level app updates ( Google Play Services, Chrome, WebView, Play Store, ...) that only come via OS updates on iOS. Not to mention Google providing compatibility libraries so that third-party apps are significantly less likely to leave you behind.

Yeah, but the 4S cost $650+ while the Nexus 5 cost $350+.

>Really not buying the "two years is plenty of updates" excuse, especially from the Nexus line.

I'm not impressed with two years of updates either, but I don't think people have any right to complain when that's exactly what they were promised when they bought their phones.

If people are disappointed because they chose to believe, against all evidence, that Google would exceed the promised two years of updates, that's nobody's problem but their own.

The Nexus 5 was about 1/2 the price of the equivalent iPhone, so the iPhone should be support quite a lot longer. A Nexus 5 purchased in 2013 ($349 for 16GB) plus a Nexus 5x purchased today ($299 for 16GB at BestBuy right now) is the same total cost as the purchase price of an iPhone 5s ($649 for 16GB when the Nexus 5 launched).

When you make your own chipset and dont rely on third party binary updates to enable new features also helps the iphone.

It'll be a bummer not using latest android for the first time in many years (HTC G2 -> Nexus 4 -> Nexus 5), but I really can't imagine anything compelling me to pay hundreds of dollars for a new phone for a couple more years. The Nexus 5 has been practically the perfect phone for me.

I'd agree - however after nearly 3 years the speakers on my N5 are nigh on unusable (phonecalls are only really possible with a headset or loudspeaker), the power cable refuses to stay put and tries to make a break for it every 5 minutes, and there's still an annoying bug where the screen is flaky/unresponsive when it is finally plugged in. Not sad about missing out on Nougat at the moment, but the sheer number of N5s I see in the wild it's annoying that a popular phone is being left behind.

Same problem, except that my loudspeaker is also busted. Headphones only right now.

The damage is possibly my fault as I opened the phone to change the battery (which died in two years), but the lack of an user accessible battery and it's poor battery life are a problem.

I have the exact same issues with my N5. I think I'll have to get myself a headset rather than shouting down the speaker phone.

I'll feel sad not to be on the leading edge for the first time in years (had Nexus 4 before)

Do you have the fun issues where the power button sticks, resulting in an endless boot loop? I've resorted to percussive maintenance, which oddly fixes the problem for months at a time.

I had that issue. When I tried whacking the phone to unstick the power button, it instead entered a state where it can't mount its internal storage and just stays in the (same) booting animation indefinitely because it can't boot. I don't view this as an improvement.

It's extremely unlikely that the N5 won't get Android 7 through the dedicated efforts of some XDA folks.

If you want to save a couple hundred dollars, then maybe it's time to learn about a custom recovery and loading the 7.0 rom yourself!

I don't think the factory images are even out yet, so it'll take a bit for them to get a nice stable AOSP+gapps package for you

That's my plan for 7 on my 5. I was hoping CopperheadOS would support it but it looks like they're dropping the 5 too (based on quick google search).

The biggest feature I'm looking for that the newer Nexuses don't have over my N5/N7 is Qi wireless charging. My Nexus 7's USB port has been broken for over a year now, and I've been using a wireless charger all this time. It just seems like a good idea to reduce the wear and tear on the USB ports if I want to continue using the phone for years.

This is the same reason why I haven't bothered to upgrade yet also.

Wireless charging is the killer feature for wireless devices in my opinion. I can't wait for the day when every one of my devices and wireless peripherals supports wireless charging, so I can just lay them down on a large charging pad when I'm not using them and never have to worry about not having a full battery when I pick it up for use, or have to fumble with plugging wire into every single device.

Plus there are charging tables in some Starbucks; it's so handy to just lay your device on the table and top it off. Why did they take that feature away? :(

There's a way to add wireless charging to your 5X if you're handy with a soldering iron, though.


That is a really cool and simple hack. Take a wireless charging coil + support circuitry and simply tap that into the USB +5V and ground? It all sounds too easy!

> Not really surprising given the device's age, but still disappointing given the presumably rather large number of Nexus 5 still in use.

My Nexus 5 was in use up until a couple of weeks ago. Then it entered a state where, when plugged in, it rebooted in an eternal loop and, when not plugged in, it shut off. Judging by the internet, this is a common problem for them.

I followed the advice I found in multiple places of trying to dislodge the Nexus 5's stuck power button by whacking it against a soft object. That worked -- it will now try to boot, fail to mount the hard drive, and just keep displaying the booting animation forever. It can boot into the bootloader and recovery mode, and I can flash a new recovery image in fastboot, or at least I can issue the command and see a report of success, but on reboot I just get the old recovery mode.

So... I guess I do have a compelling reason to upgrade, although the N5 was satisfactory in every other way. My Nexus 4 still works fine, but it's gotten much puffier than it should be, and apparently it's impossible to get a new battery for it.


If you have another device to wait a month with, at least you can upgrade to the 2016 line instead of 5x/6p. Gives you another 3 years, not 2.

I think it is 2 years for major updates (from release), 3 years for security updates (from release), or 18 months for security updates from end of life.

Unless you are unlucky enough to get a device that they can't update due to drivers (Texas Instruments CPU).

That's a pretty crappy excuse, I've had laptops that last for 7 years just fine running Linux.

Let's get closer to comparing apples to apples. Every one of my laptops has lost manufacturer support 1-3 years after I got them...but even my 13 year old laptop will run a current Linux build.

Every one of my phones has lost manufacturer support 1-3 years after I got them...but my 5 year old Galaxy Nexus still has Cyanogenmod builds being released for it (based on Marshmallow).

With the timelines of when these different markets began, I think that's a fair comparison. Manufacturers want to maintain as few models as possible, but the community often does the work to provide extended support time.

Laptops aren't mobile phones though. Phones have seen much, much more change in the past seven years than laptops have.

Not in the past couple years though, there is really nothing significantly different in the hardware of a Samsung Galaxy s3 and a Nexus 6. Also, one of those laptops was manufactured in the late 90s.

Well, not anymore. Laptops, and computers had huge change from the 70's to the early 2000's.

We're going through the same technology change with mobiles now, but that even seems to be tapering off now.

This is disappointing to me too. The 5X seems just a tad too large on top of me not needing it as my 5 is still going strong after ~3 years..

Does anyone know how strict is the Google two year update policy for Nexus? It's clear they won't do major releases (such as Android 7.0) for old phones. However, what about critical security updates? For example, if something as bad as Stagefright was discovered, would Google do nothing for all the older Nexus phones out there? Or would something like that be a special exception to the rule?

Security updates are provided for 3 years. [0]

[0] https://android.googleblog.com/2015/08/an-update-to-nexus-de...

That's from the date of initial introduction. The relevant number is 18 months from the date you bought it.

Seems neither Google nor Apple do special exceptions. Out is out. Might install Cyanogen on my Nexus 5 but have to toss my iPhone 4s.

Also https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12337538 and https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12338381. If there's a clearly better URL, we can consider swapping the current one out.

Did I read it right: Nexus Player is in the list of OTA update? I thought the device is dead? Anyone has a link of Nougat for Android TV?

It is dead. But Google are required to meet their OTA promise. 2 years for major updates, 3 years for security updates.

I've been running the beta - which is a terrible idea on a day-to-day Nexus Player. It does not prompt you for updates - it just updates. This is fine if you're on a stable channel. This is not great when it's your primary entertainment resource on a beta channel.

However, it's pretty nice? I know it has some added features but it doesn't really feel much different in 7 than it did in 6. I haven't had a chance to use PiP or anything like that.

A lot of love went into player for N. It's in better shape than in M.

This makes me want to buy one to replace my ADT-1...which is not easy to do these days.

I sure hope there is a future for standalone Android TV boxes that aren't as expensive and large as the Shield.

I'm still awaiting my updates to my Google TV!

Is there a way to force update to Android 7 on Nexus 6P now?

I read that the following works:

1. Sign up for the Android beta programme: g.co/androidbeta

2. Enroll your Nexus

3. Unenroll after you have been updated to Android 7

Make sure you are actually on Android 7 before unenrolling. Going out of a regular beta will wipe your phone!


Edit: Copy/Paste sandGorgon’s warning from below.

This just worked for me.

Warning : make sure you are actually on Android 7 before unenrolling. Going out of a regular beta will wipe your phone.

Android Police posts the OTA images as people send them in.

It looks like the 6P image is available: http://www.androidpolice.com/2016/08/22/flash-all-the-things...

Download it to your device, and either flash it in TWRP or use adb sideload. Note that if you've modified your /system, you'll need to reflash that partition with the stock image first (there are guides on XDA).

Why was it wrapped in the first place? Why can't Google do development in the open?

It's called the Osborne effect: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osborne_effect

Some of those screenshots make my eyes bleed, particularly the one with the multiple-windows with one of the windows having the painful app selector that pretends to be a window selector.

When will we see Android 7 on a third party device?

We just analyzed Android manufacturers [1] and found they tend to update in two groups: 3 months after release (Motorola, LG, HTC) and 6 months after release (Samsung, Sony, Huawei). This of course ignores Nexus devices by those manufacturers.

[1] https://www.apteligent.com/2016/08/apteligent-data-report-an...

However beware of following the advice given...

If a higher percentage of Samsung devices are updated (graph keeps going up), then that would imply you were more likely to get an update.

The graph currently emphasises the first mover speed (which is affected by carriers, not just manufacturers).

The LG V20 will be the first Android 7 phone which will be reveled on September 6th.

That's the first phone to ship with it, but I think phones like the LG G5 and S7 could see it earlier than that.

Heh. It's Android, so ... no. Unless you mean international versions. No way will the US carriers get the updates through that fast.

Why did they removed the color correction slider from dev previews? My Nexus 5X has a light yellow tint and the cool color switch is way too cool. Three sliders for RGB would be ideal. Now I still need to flash custom kernels to adjust RGB :|

Meanwhile many phones (especially vendor-locked ones like the Droid Turbo...) are still stuck on Lollipop.

According† to https://developer.android.com/about/dashboards/index.html

    The recent Marshmallow has 15.2% market share

    Lollipop (14.1% + 21.4%) = 35.5% (the greatest share)

    KitKat has 29.2% (the next greatest share)

    Jelly Bean† still has (6.0% + 8.3% + 2.4%) = 16.7%
Earlier than Jelly Bean is 3.4% of the total share. Jelly Bean was first unveiled in June 2012, four years ago. I think given the development model: large ecosystem of hardware companies, alternative software stacks like Kindle and Cyanogen, a good chunk of it being open-source; given all that I'll forgive Google that we all can't upgrade to Nougat on the day of its release.

As a techie you have to know by now that if you want an up to date version of Android you ought to get a Nexus or a brand which has guaranteed frequent into the future updates. There's not much point in claiming that you're "stuck" at this point.

Data collected during a 7-day period ending on August 1, 2016.

> As a techie you have to know by now that if you want an up to date version of Android you ought to get a Nexus

Not true. I have bought: Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 7, Nexus 10, Nexus 5. Two of those were as expensive as iOS devices. None of them can get the N update (yes I could use Cyanogenmod but I prefer production versions of software for testing). We have our own app for Android phones and it is a pain to test (simulating touch with a mouse is not good). Other Android devices purchased for testing are no better...

Meanwhile the work iPhone 4 made it to iOS 7, the iPad 2 made it as far as iOS 9, and our other test devices are still getting updates to iOS 10.

I feel that Nexus devices stop getting updates quickly. The non-nexus Androids are way worse.

Don't buy an Android if you want a device to stay secure more than say two years (coming from somebody who loves Android!).

Thanks for the stats!

> As a techie you have to know by now that if you want an up to date version of Android you ought to get a Nexus...

Except I did that and it looks like my Nexus 7 is no longer getting OS updates, while my older iPhone 5 is still chugging on the latest OS and afaik will get iOS 10 soon.

This will definitely dissuade me from buying Android in the future.

We decided to build our own dashboard since Google's is updated only about once a month. It also doesn't include data from non Google Play devices:


Lollipop? I wish! My Samsung tablet is stuck at KitKat unless I'm willing to try a Cyanogenmod nightly.

I wish I didn't update my Nexus 7 2012 to Lollipop. Lollipop made it crawl compared to Kitkat.

Apparently this is due to a hardware issue with the Flash memory (not that that excuses the slow performance!).

You can still go back to Kitkat by resetting it (I did and the performance difference is astonishing).

Works well on my Nexus Player and happy to see Google is still supporting it.

Fugu got a lot of polish for N.

Looking forward to see AOSP reach Android-x86.

> Multi-Window support lets users run two apps at the same time

(click the Multi-Window support link)

> If your app targets API level 23 or lower and the user attempts to use the app in multi-window mode, the system forcibly resizes the app unless the app declares a fixed orientation.

> If your app does not declare a fixed orientation, you should launch your app on a device running Android 7.0 or higher and attempt to put the app in split-screen mode. Verify that the user experience is acceptable when the app is forcibly resized.

Great, more nonsense being shoved down Android developer's throats. They still claim that newer versions and new features are not breaking their API - if this is the case, why would an app on Google Play from a year ago need the developer to "verify that the user experience is acceptable" just because they published a new version with a new feature?

It's been almost nine years since Android released its initial SDK and they're still playing cowboy stuff like this. This feature should be turned on for apps targeting Nougat or later, you shouldn't make every Android developer check every app ever made because three people on the Android developer team made a new feature and can't wait for its use to become more widespread, so they turn it on by default for legacy (pre-Nougat targeted) apps.

This will only break the user experience if the app happens to have a bad experience in this mode and if the user happens to request to use it in this mode. It is hard to know for how many apps this would be the case.

There is no way that they could guarantee that the experience would be perfect for every scenario, so that left them with two options:

1. Make the feature only work for apps that declare support for it. This would significantly degrade the user experience for some apps that would work just fine but have not been updated.

2. Make it work for everything with reasonable defaults that every app should be able to handle. Leave it up to the user to accept the degradation for the ones that don't (or to just not use those applications in those modes).

From a user perspective, it isn't clear to me that option #1 was the wrong choice.

Apple went with option 1 for split screen and picture-in-picture video support on iOS, and a year later many major apps still don't support those features. Option 2 is definitely the way to go.

I actually agree with this. I implied otherwise due to a typo and now it is outside of the edit window. Oops. :)

Along your point, it's pretty easy to reverse the logic on the last sentence and still have it be a sane argument:

> This feature should be turned on for all apps; you shouldn't make every user wait for every app ever made to be updated because three people on the Android developer team made a new feature and were too afraid to break things, so they turn it off by default for legacy (pre-Nougat targeted) apps.

EDIT: I should read the whole thread before posting. GrinningFool made the same argument:


I was very confused until I realized that I had a typo. I actually meant for that last line to say "Option 2". :)

My uninformed guess would say that a sampling of a significant number of apps showed that they rendered fine, and they deemed it worth the trade-off that some may not.

The logic probably went along the lines of: it's better for the user to have this feature that works with X% of what they already have installed than to force them to wait for the developers of each and every app to decide if/when they want to get around to updating.

If I recall, it also displays a simple toast for apps that do not target the API, saying "App may not work with split screen"

This also lets the user know it's not the Apps fault. I feel it's a pretty good way to enhance the experience where possible and move apps forward even if they're old.

Multi-windowed mode can be found hiding in the options (which can only be edited with root) in 6.0.1, and it works well enough right now with just a few graphical bugs on very few apps. I'm guessing you're right, and if it does break the app then all the user has to do is turn off multi-windowed mode.

> a sampling of a significant number of apps showed that they rendered fine

The problem is they break the API all the time, and this leaves Google Play strewn with broken apps. This may break 1% of apps, the next release breaks another 1%, after 10 releases, 10% of the apps not updated are broken.

Here's an example, I go to Google Play and search for "ringtone maker" ( https://play.google.com/store/search?q=ringtone%20maker ). The #3 result for me (which can vary by location) is https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.anbu.ringt... . So I download the app, click the microphone, say something, hit stop and - "java.io.IOException: Unknown file format".

This is their 3rd result for ringtone maker, has over 5 million downloads and yet their record feature is broken. It used to work but Google changed the API. You can look at the app source code ( https://github.com/malizadehq/ringdroid ) to see where this app broke if you want. This is just one example which comes to mind, I can think of many.

They claim they don't break the API going forward but they do all the time.

It looks like the app tries to do its own audio file parsing and (wrongly) assumes .aac files are always MP4 containers [0] rather than as ADTS.

So perhaps not the best example of what you're trying to say.

[0] https://github.com/malizadehq/ringdroid/blob/master/src/com/...

How is the split screen breaking the API when the app works like ever has worked in the main screen?

> the app works like ever has worked in the main screen

If the app always works like it ever has worked in the main screen, why do they say:

> If your app does not declare a fixed orientation, you should launch your app on a device running Android 7.0 or higher and attempt to put the app in split-screen mode. Verify that the user experience is acceptable when the app is forcibly resized.

To check if it is displayed fine in a split screen, nothing mire

If your app doesn't work on smaller screens or in landscape, you should be declaring that. Otherwise, your app is probably already running on devices with tiny, landscape screens and giving users the same experience as those with larger split screens.

Yeah if people have followed the UI guidelines for Android that has existed since day one, their app will have the required resources for Android to resize and reshape it to fit whatever screen shape the split view will create.

Sadly the way you do things has changed since then though. I remember doing android development in the 2.3.1 days, and the method of doing dialogs has transformed into fragments since then, so although my old code I wrote back then will run and work, it isn't the recommended way. Nor are the UI guidelines I followed back then.

I appreciate that things change (like the UI guidelines every year apparently!!) but if a clear roadmap was laid out back then, it would have saved a lot of time.

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