After months of waiting, Samsung users will finally be able to get their hands on the Android 7.0 Nougat operating system. The official update, which began on Tuesday, follows weeks of testing by the company with a limited group of users through Samsung’s Galaxy Beta Program.
“With the release of the update, new and improved features promise to let Galaxy users get more out of their devices,” the company said today in a statement. “The update also enables faster speeds for downloading apps and system software updates.”
Slow and Steady
Google first released Nougat in August and has already released two subsequent updates to the mobile OS. However, Samsung appears to be taking a slow-but-steady approach with the new version, rolling it out first to owners of its Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge handsets.
The company said it expects to add several other Galaxy devices to that list throughout the first half of 2017. Customers with other Samsung devices that aren’t part of the Galaxy line may have to wait a bit longer.
Nougat introduces a number of new features to Android devices. For Samsung users, the most significant one will most likely be the Samsung Pass, which functions much like a master key for Web sites and apps. Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge users will be able to access the feature using only their fingerprints. In addition, Samsung said it expects to integrate the feature with banking apps as well.
Performance Mode and Quick Panel
Another new feature included in the Nougat upgrade is the Quick Panel, which brings a cleaner aesthetic to the display by removing titles from the icons on the first level of the panel. Icons on the second level are organized into groups of nine, which should help make them easier for users to locate.
Users will also be able to utilize the integrated S Finder to locate what they want on their smartphones or the Web directly from the Quick Panel. Notifications are now grouped to display information more clearly and also support Direct Reply.
Meanwhile, an improved controller allows the window size to be more easily adjusted in the split-screen view. Also, a new pop-up window function that supports up to five separate windows -- in addition to the two in the split-screen view -- enables users to access up to seven apps at the same time, according to Samsung.
Finally, the newly added Performance Mode is designed to allow users to optimize their phones to better meet their specific needs by activating one of the four available modes. Optimized mode, for example, extends battery life, enhances speed and is suitable for daily use, while Game mode provides useful functions such as Game Launcher and Game Tools. Entertainment mode enhances sound and image quality and High Performance mode enables the highest quality display settings possible.