Google Nexus 2016 is the next big thing to come after the release of Samsung Galaxy Note 7. These two are meant to go toe-to-toe in the phablet smartphone market, but the former is still a mere rumor.
The latest word on the street has it that Android 7.0 Nougat will be released before the end of this month. While this cannot be guaranteed, it could mean that the upcoming Nexus 2016 handset could also see the light earlier than the previous Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X. With time ticking, Google developers are busy putting on final touches as far as Nexus apps and features are concerned.
As usual, only Google Nexus devices will be getting the Nougat update once it is here. But for now, it seems Google is working on an exclusive set of features that will only work with the Google Nexus 2016 handsets as well as other Android Nougat-based Nexus devices. Let’s check them out.
A newer version of Android 7.0 Nougat
At the moment, we all know the next OS will launch as Android 7.0 Nougat, just like previous iterations have done. However, it seems things will be a little different when the new Nexus 2016 handsets are announced.
Apparently, Google apps are targeting developer API Level 25, up from the current API Level 24 that is used for Android 7.0 Nougat (Android 6.0 Marshmallow was at API Level 23). With this in mind, it is easy to say that the current Android 7.0 Nougat is not the latest version, instead, Google is already working on a newer iteration, probably Android 7.0.1 Nougat, just like with the case of Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, or even Android 7.1.
A look at the latest leaks of the upcoming Google Nexus Launcher, Google Play Store, Google Photos as well as Google Wallpaper will reveal that all of these apps are targeting API Level 25. Is Google cooking up something new? We’ll soon find out.
Google Nexus 2016 Launcher
With the release of the 2016 edition of the Google Nexus phones, the search engine giant will also bring to life a new Nexus Launcher to go along with the new handsets. The Launcher will bring about two major changes to the home screen. The most noticeable one is the missing app drawer button that also creates room for a fifth icon to be added in its place. This doesn’t mean you have to download a third-party launcher that offers this feature, instead, Google has hidden it a swipe-up away via the “up” arrow towards the bottom of the screen.
The new Nexus Launcher also shifts the location of the Google Search bar. This has now been hidden in a “G” icon pinned to the left of the screen. By tapping on the G icon, you will launch Google Search, but you won’t be seeing this icon in all other screens, instead, it only lives on the home screen. However, this might change since the feature is still not complete.
Buyers of the new Google Nexus 2016 will also be certain to come across Google Wallpapers. This is a platform that provides Nexus users with numerous photos from the 500px community from which they can pick any and set as their wallpapers. It is even possible to have the wallpapers automatically switching throughout the day, but like the rest, the official release still awaits.
Tweaked Home button
As pointed out earlier, Google Nexus 2016 will usher in a new Nexus Launcher. In addition to the changes brought in by this launcher, Google will also be making some tweaks to the way the Home button works as part of the new System UI.
When long-pressed, the Home button will now showcase a Google-like animation. This will be a major shift from Android Marshmallow where long-pressing the Home button and swiping up opens Google Now on Tap. When the Nexus 2016 Home button is long-pressed, a set of four colored balls (green, red, blue and yellow) will show up, but up to now, it is not known what this will launch. But looking back at previous events where the same process could lead to Now on Tap or Google Search in the case of Jelly Bean, it is possible that the same will open up the Google Assistant, which is seen as a better version of Google Now.
Carrier-branded Google Nexus 2016
Apparently, Evan Blass claims that Verizon will be carrying the upcoming Google Nexus 2016 handsets. Well, going for a carrier-branded Nexus 2016 handset defeats the meaning of stock Android OS. Ideally, the major reason many people prefer Google Nexus handsets to other Android partner OEMs is the speed at which updates are received on the devices. Since Verizon will have to make their own tweaks to the stock Android 7.0 Nougat OS, it would mean the same delays are experienced when it comes to receiving software updates, much more like what we see with the likes of Samsung, LG, Sony, Motorola, HTC, and Huawei handsets, among many others.
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