New features coming to Android will give business users a boost. The latest iteration of Google's mobile operating system, dubbed Android 7.0 Nougat, makes multitasking easier with a new split-screen mode. It also introduces beefed-up security features, better messaging functionality and a new way to extend the battery life of your smartphone or tablet. The update will start rolling out to select Android devices — specifically, the Nexus 6P, Nexus 6 and Nexus 5X — as early as this week. Other phone makers haven't yet announced when their devices might get the update.
While you wait, read on to see how Nougat will make you more productive.
A slew of new multitasking tools will help Android Nougat users do two things at once. First up is the addition of split-screen mode, which enables you to run two apps side by side at the same time. That ability will come in handy for tasks such as referencing your calendar or using the calculator app while composing an email. The feature has been available on Samsung phones and tablets for years, but the launch of Nougat marks the first time you'll see it on other Android devices.
If your phone's small screen feels too cramped for split-screen mode, you might appreciate the new Quick Switch functionality. Just double tap the Recent Apps button at the bottom of your phone's interface to quickly switch back and forth between the two most recently accessed applications. It works just like the Alt + Tab shortcut on PCs.
Google is prepping beefed-up security features for Android 7.0 Nougat, including improved encryption. Nougat is the first version of Android that encrypts your system at the level of individual files — a measure that will help ensure that your private work data stays private.
The new operating system will also be able to fend off ransomware, a type of malicious software that can steal your password and lock you out of your device. The platform can block software from clearing already-set passwords, thus keeping you in control. Regardless, the best ways to keep ransomware off of your device is to only download apps from the Google Play store and to avoid installing apps from unknown sources altogether.
Longer battery life
The best business phone won't do you much good if it's always running out of juice. So it's good news, then, that Google is updating Android 7.0 Nougat to help extend the battery life of your device with an improved version of the Doze feature, introduced last year.
Doze puts your system into a low-power state when it's been idle for a while, blocking apps from sapping your phone's battery with frequent background updates. In Nougat, an improved version of Doze will put your phone into the same low-power state whenever your screen is off, which will help your charge last longer, even when you're on the move.
Improved messaging and alerts
Nougat will make it quicker and easier than ever to reply to a text message. Instead of having to launch the Messaging app every time you want to fire off a text response, you'll be able to reply to texts straight from the notification tray. The seamless process will save you time and help you stay on top of business conversations.
You'll also get better control over your alerts. When a notification pops up, you'll be able to long-press it to block that app temporarily or force it to show its notifications silently. That's a perk for workers who don't want to be interrupted during a meeting.
Updating your operating system is a lengthy and tedious process — so much so that many Android users delay updates for days after first being notified that a major update is available. Nougat promises to change that by letting your phone seamlessly update its operating system in the background. Once it's finished, simply reboot your phone to start using the fully updated device without waiting at all.
Unfortunately, the seamless updating process currently works only on Google's newest Nexus smartphones. It's not yet known which phones will support the feature in the future.