Android 7.0 Nougat - multi-window support

Multi-window support is the highlight of Android 7.0 Nougat

Amongst Google’s most surprising moves last year was the launch of the Pixel C. Now the search engine giant is looking to rectify one of the biggest complaints about the convertible device, with the inclusion of multi-tasking support in Android 7.0 Nougat.

For a few weeks now it has been expected that Android Nougat would launch early, with an August date mooted. And then a recent leak from a Canadian mobile network effectively outed the release date as 22 August.

Android Nougat launched as expected, and as there is no new hardware being released alongside the operating system, existing Nexus devices will be the first to receive the update.

Not everyone is in luck, however, as Android Nougat will not roll out for the entire Nexus family. It has already been revealed that the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 2013 will miss out.

Android Nougat presents more of an evolution than a revolution, with only minimal changes in appearances over Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

But although the majority of changes are relatively minor modifications, Android Nougat does have one standout new feature. For the first time, the OS now officially has multi-window support.

The improvements in multi-tasking that multi-window support brings will delight owners of devices like the Pixel C.

Productivity on the Pixel C was limited by the fact that Android 6.0 was very much still a mobile OS at heart. Therefore, completing tasks that are commonly carried out on desktop machines was often challenging.

The evolutionary nature of many changes in Android Nougat is not unexpected. Android is now a mature, stable platform, so to a large extent the focus on refinements was inevitable.

With the Pixel C and Android Marshmallow there was a situation whereby the software did not have facilities that the hardware needed. The opposite is true – for the time being, at least – with Android Nougat, as the OS includes a second notable feature, albeit one not supported by most current hardware.

Baked into Android Nougat is support for Daydream – Google’s new virtual reality system.

Of the devices currently available, just ZTE have claimed to have a handset that is compatible with Daydream (the ZTE Axon 7), although there will be more smartphones launched later this year offering support for the VR platform.