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article imageAndroid N to be named 'Nougat,' launching this summer

By James Walker     Jun 30, 2016 in Technology
After months of speculation, Google has officially announced the sweet-themed nickname for Android N, the next major Android release. The update will be known as "Nougat" and follows names including Lollipop and Marshmallow.
Since the very beginning, Google has always given major Android releases a name based on a sugary treat. It follows the alphabet each year, leading us up to "N" for 2016 and hence the colloquial branding "Nougat."
After the initial Alpha and Beta versions, the first public release of Android was dubbed Cupcake. Since then, Donut, Éclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, KitKat, Lollipop and Marshmallow have had their time in the spotlight. In the next few months, Marshmallow will hand the baton over to Nougat when Android N hits the masses.
For many Android fans, the nickname's reveal can be as exciting as the release itself. Although speculation this year centred around Nougat, other ideas have been put forward. Google allowed the public to contribute suggestions for the first time, opening a webpage for the purpose.
Earlier this year, Google CEO Sundar Pichai was asked by an audience member at a talk in India why no Indian sweets have been featured yet. Pichai jokingly said he'd ask his mother for suggestions, implying future releases could include sweets from across the world.
Another popular idea for this year was "Nutella." After Google's partnership with Nestle in 2014, seeing what many thought would be "Key Lime Pie" branded as "KitKat," it seemed probable it could team up with Nutella manufacturer Ferrero for another licensed name. Both ideas have proved unfounded though, leaving us with Nougat for the next year.
Google unveiled the first preview of Android N back in March. It includes several major new features and interface improvements for users of Android phones and tablets. It is currently unclear whether the final release will have the version number 6.1 or 7.0.
Headlining the feature list is support for split-screen multi-window on both phones and tablets. You can drag apps to the sides of the display to snap them next to each other, similarly to Apple's implementation in iOS 9 on the iPad and Microsoft's Windows.
Google has redesigned the notification tray once again, bundling notifications by app to stop your feed becoming overwhelmed by hundreds of alerts from one frequently used app. You'll be able to expand each app's entry in the tray to see all the notifications. It allows you to collect message alerts from active group chats and dismiss them in one swipe, keeping your notification tray tidy.
Finally, further improvements are coming to Android's smart battery-saving mode Doze. Your phone will now be able to automatically suspend itself as soon as the display turns off, saving you extra power as soon as you lock your device. Doze works transparently in the background, disabling services and processes while your phone sleeps to maximise battery endurance.
Android N will be released to consumers later this summer, most likely in August or September. Developers have had access to preview builds for several months and Google is heading towards completion of the final release.
Despite the new features, Nougat is unlikely to reach many people, seeing as its predecessor Marshmallow is currently on just 10 percent of devices coming up to a year since launch. Android's notoriously fragmented ecosystem means many devices never receive updates. Those that do can be left waiting months. Google has recently expressed frustration at this situation but it doesn't look like it'll be able to change it before Nougat's release, leaving many people unable to access its latest sweet treat.
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