back to article Chocolate Factory exudes Nougat as Android 7 begins rollout

Google is starting its rollout of Android 7, codenamed Nougat, but you're only going to get it if you're running one of the newer models of the firm's Nexus devices. From Monday, the system update will be sent out to Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Nexus Player, Pixel C, and Android One users, with Google saying it'll …

Trollface

Gordon Bennett you took your time rolling out this story didn't you El Reg? If it was an Apple update you would have been hot on the heals. If it was a Microsoft story you would have had a preprepared coffin ready to roll out. Was there a forced Windows 10 update going on?

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Anonymous Coward

Platform share obligatory reminder

Most users are still on KitKat and Lollipop.

https://chart.googleapis.com/chart?chd=t%3A0.1%2C1.7%2C1.6%2C16.7%2C29.2%2C35.5%2C15.2&chf=bg%2Cs%2C00000000&chl=Froyo%7CGingerbread%7CIce%20Cream%20Sandwich%7CJelly%20Bean%7CKitKat%7CLollipop%7CMarshmallow&cht=p&chs=500x250&chco=c4df9b%2C6fad0c

But nice that Google keep churning out the updates. I'm just glad Cyanogenmod put out a recent security patch update (12.1.1).

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Anonymous Coward

Android as desktop OS?

Since we are seeing Android being pushed as a potential desktop OS, they need to increase the support window. 2 years for mainstream support and 3 for security updates isn't very long for a desktop machine. Even for a phone, this is short (I am not one of those people that always has to have the latest shiny thing, I probably average about 4 years between phones).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Android as desktop OS?

Agreed, look at the grief MS get for dropping support after a decade!

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Silver badge

New version of [Windows | iOS | Android] released

Security has had major improvements due to X, plus Y and also Z.

(a month or two elapses)

Important security patches fixing critical security issues have been released...

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Meh

Ever increasing hardware demands

"The Nexus 5 ... doesn't have the hardware chops to run the new operating system."

Is it not possible to write a better OS that doesn't have an even greater hardware requirement than its forbears? Or just not desirable?

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Re: Ever increasing hardware demands

The Nexus 5 is not eligible for update, sadly.

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Re: Ever increasing hardware demands

I guess if they are adding features like running two apps in the foreground at the same, more grunt will be required.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ever increasing hardware demands

Unless one of the app is a game, I can't really understand how much power you need. IIRC you could get two apps running even on a 80286, are all those ARM chips less powerful?

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Re: Ever increasing hardware demands

Well, even Microsoft can manage that. For all (despite?) its many faults, Windows 10 is faster than W7 & W8 on the same hardware.

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Re: Ever increasing hardware demands

>> Is it not possible to write a better OS that doesn't have an even greater hardware requirement than its forbears? Or just not desirable?

It's certainly possible, and has been done recently - compare Windows 7 with Windows 8 or 10. The latter two just fly compared to the sluggish Win7 on the same hardware. But still most commentards are unimpressed and find the reasons to complain.

So Google is probably right - it lets them cry about how bloated the new version is, so no one looks any further for the reasons to complain.

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Silver badge

Re: Ever increasing hardware demands

I think we may be back to hardware support for specific features. Remember in the early days of Android when point releases wouldn't necessarily work on older hardware? This was apparently (I'm not a dev) down to missing features in the SoC's.

I'm guessing the lack of support has less to do with oomph – most phones have had multiple cores and enough RAM for several years now – and more to do with things like hardware encryption. There is also the possibility of the new features requiring particular GPU functions that older chips don't have, which is similar for some games. This is speculation on my behalf, have to read the AOSP release notes for full details.

I think the important thing is that security patches are backported ASAP and this is as much down to the manufacturers as it is to Google. CM13, which runs great on my Samsung S5, recently had a big update chock full of them. As consumers we need to put pressure on manufacturers to do their job properly: cut out the crapware and provide regular and timely security updates. I suspect many would be happy to pay a nominal annual fee for these after the end of the statutory warranty period has passed.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ever increasing hardware demands

That of course is not Google's words. Android is faster and more efficient than it's ever been. It's likely the N5 is dropped from new OS version (but obviously not security updates) for commercial reasons, not technical ones.

This is also incorrect. "but you're only going to get it if you're running one of the newer models of the firm's Nexus devices.". Of course usual utter ill-informed El-Reg horsecrap. There are already non Nexus devices that have been getting N developer previes.

The Xperia Z3, the Xperia X, the new LG is coming out real soon with it. and so on.

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Re: Ever increasing hardware demands

Hang on. Nougat runs on Android One phones, but the Nexus 5 is too under-powered to run it? Google just couldn't be bothered, more like.

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Silver badge

Re: Ever increasing hardware demands

Windows has been getting faster since Vista. Wonder how the speed-up compares between W7 and W10 and between Vista (XML-based GUI) and W7, and whether you can actually run W10 on some of the machines you can run W7 on? I've happily run W7 in 512 MB VMs and I can remember a lot of people running W7 on less than the proposed minimum.

Android 5 and 6 were also faster than previous versions if the hardware was supported: changes in the runtime format (better JIT), better memory use, more hardware based rendering.

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FAIL

Re: Ever increasing hardware demands

"This is also incorrect. "but you're only going to get it if you're running one of the newer models of the firm's Nexus devices.""

Factually correct. If you are running an older (by old, read still perfectly functioning and usable). Nexus you are not going to get the update.

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Unhappy

Re: Ever increasing hardware demands

It appears that Google is mandating Vulkan support for Google Play Services in Nougat, but they and/or Qualcomm aren't interested in supplying drivers for the older chipset, notably: Snapdragon 80X and Adeeno 3YY.

Sony had an early and active Nougat preview running on the Z3, but when the last preview came out from Google, Sony announced it would not be available for the Z3. Subsequent announcements confirm that only really 2015/2016 devices will be getting Nougat.

It's possible they found issues that couldn't be fixed, but it sounds more like fortuitous (gratuitous?) obsolescence to me. Devices without the Google Play Services requirement may well be good. Not that Google cares about those.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ever increasing hardware demands

Amusingly my three year old Xperia SP, abandoned by Sony on KitKat, already has an AOSP version of Nougat avaiable. It's a dual core phone with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. I therefore declare the 'hardware demands' excuse to be utter hogwash.

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Re: Ever increasing hardware demands

More of the low-down on the "hardware demands" can be found here

* http://www.xperiablog.net/2016/08/30/sony-is-not-to-blame-for-leaving-the-xperia-z3-off-the-android-nougat-list/

OpenGL ES 3.1 support appears to be the stickler. Something tells me that's to support Google's sudden love for VR. Either way, it's pretty sucky since it cuts of a large swathe of still very decent, pretty recent hardware.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Anonymous Coward

Re: I hope Nexii is a troll, but anyway...

Hmm, I've reread the story twice just to confirm and I'm pretty sure it is written in English, not Latin.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I hope Nexii is a troll, but anyway...

... but making Nexus into Nexii is an attempt to use the Latin plural form. If doing that might as well get it right. (But then some people enjoy pointing out the issue with "by Jove!" as an expression; a pedant is just someone willing to be more accurate than you...)

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Coat

Dunno...

It's all Greek to me!

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This post has been deleted by its author

Re: I hope Nexii is a troll, but anyway...

if the proper latin plural is not desired, just use nexuses

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Re: Dunno...

It's all Greek to me!

Are you sure it's not double Dutch?

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Silver badge

Re: Dunno...

However, the word octopus comes from Greek and the Greek plural form octopodes is still occasionally used. The plural form octopi, formed according to rules for some Latin plurals, is incorrect.

So we should refer to a herd of hippopotamodes?

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Silver badge

> Sadly, the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 fondleslabs won't be invited to the Nougat party.

Boo!

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Silver badge

Bullshit, Nexus 5 can't run Android 7..

Not buying it. Nexus 5 has a quad core 2.2GHz processor and 2GB RAM. Even if it downclocks to 1GHz, and the dalvik runtime is a bit bloated, sounds like a lack of optimisation rather than substandard hardware.

My 2012 phone happily runs Marshmallow courtesy of Cyanongenmod, provided I don't try Pokemon GO. I think I can live with that..

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Pint

Re: Bullshit, Nexus 5 can't run Android 7..

CM13 will almost certainly do it. I have a Nexus 5 so am hoping so.

I'm running Marshmallow on a Nexus 7 2012 (first gen) via CM12 and Jelly Bean on a Nexus One via CM7. Both are perfect and both were claimed never to be up to the job.

I even flashed a Moto E 2014 1st gen I got 6 months ago when a Tesco I was in were offloading them for £59 to CM12 the same day. I still don't know if that officially has Marshmallow yet - for the price that was criminal.

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Re: Bullshit, Nexus 5 can't run Android 7..

It's certainly worth trying but remember that the Snapdragon 800 is a 32-bit ARM v7 chip and also that Qualcomm does reduce support for re-writing drivers for the low level stuff in the chips so that they can concentrate on current and upcoming designs.

Android 7 is certain to make more use of the efficiency of the 64 bit v8 cores and is bound to work better with more RAM. I have a Nexus 5X that is running Nougat as of last night, it will be instructive to see how the 2GB RAM affects it, during the Lollipop and Marshmallow era it felt sluggish at times but has been massively better since the system interrupt rate was increased a few months ago.

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Silver badge
Coat

Re: Bullshit, Nexus 5 can't run Android 7..

motog 2015 here. I'm pretty sure the Eg1 is supported in 13.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bullshit, Nexus 5 can't run Android 7..

"I'm running Marshmallow on a Nexus 7 2012 (first gen) via CM12 and Jelly Bean on a Nexus One via CM7. Both are perfect and both were claimed never to be up to the job."

Not trying to be pedantic here, but CM12(.1) is Lollipop (Android 5.0/5.1), and CM7 is Gingerbread (Android 2.3.x). Marshmallow (Android 6.0) is CM13, and Nougat will be CM14. CyanogenMod's primary version number is the position of the code name's first letter in the modern English alphabet with an index origin of 1.

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Quite frankly, I'd prefer 3+ years of security updates to 'major' updates that break half the funtionality, change stuff for no apparent reasons than to confuse the user, sometime entirely remove features and/or brick the device with no way to save it afterward.

My first gen nexus 7 was completely bricked by google at the last update. They never either acknowledged the problem, or provided a fix.

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Anonymous Coward

Chocolate Factory excludes Nougat from 2 year old smartphones

It is a big deception of 'Do no Evil' Google advising people to 'avoid fragmentation buy their Nexus smartphones' and then fragment their 2 year old models for either fragment or landfill !

I agree with earlier posts "Not buying it. Nexus 5 has a quad core 2.2GHz processor and 2GB RAM. Even if...."

"Google says Nougat has 250 improvements" : Perhaps a few of those improvements, like dual windows, may cause a noticeable slowdown, but dual windows not useful on smaller models. But a vast majority of those improvement, security, longer battery life, easier user interface, WILL benefit 2 year old models. A Tachradar review only a year ago said "Part of the reason that the interface is so accessible is the speed. The Nexus 5 is a top performer. It has a 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 with an Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB of RAM." That phone was designed to compete with others able to run demanding games, yet many have no interest in games, just a reliable phone with software kept uptodate with latest security and basic improvements. In case some complained the new features taking most demand of the hardware were wanting, it should not be beyond the wit of Google to tailor newer Android OTA downloads to cut any features causing noticeable performance hits to 2 year old phones, maybe naming the reduced feature version V6.x.

As reviews noted, Nexus 5 and 7 were not cheap models. Excluding customers of 2 year old models from the majority of the 250 improvements IS EVIL.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Chocolate Factory excludes Nougat from 2 year old smartphones

What fragmentation? The Nexus7 (2013) and Nexus5 both still get security updates on Android 6, and the Android API is very mature, what apps do you need that specifically needs API level 24??? Please enlighten us...

The only evil around here isn't coming from Google, it's the evil agenda going on.

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Re: Chocolate Factory excludes Nougat from 2 year old smartphones

It appears that the Nougat requirements that's tripping up most perfectly usable handsets, are the OpenGL ES 3.1 requirement that was added to the Compatibility Test Suite. That automatically flunked anything with an Adreno 3XX GPU. Generally (quite understandably) unhappiness is to be seen all around (me included):

* http://www.xperiablog.net/2016/08/30/sony-is-not-to-blame-for-leaving-the-xperia-z3-off-the-android-nougat-list/

Khronos claim "For most, OpenGL ES 3.1 will most likely be a simple driver update rather than a revision to hardware or architecture when compared to OpenGL ES 3.0.". That seems to indicate that the issue here is Qualcomm that couldn't be arsed with new drivers for their Snapdragon/Adreno SoCs.

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Fairly certain Nexus 5 is 3 years old in October

As I bought my Nexus 5 on release less than 2 months after my daughter was born .... Nexus 7 was 2012 and 2013 if I remember correctly too..

Not to say I'm not disappointed as the Nexus5 is a lovely phone, even with my smashed screen (it still works ... got a replacement screen just havent fitted it yet ... only been smashed for 12 months now .... and its in use every day (Though I do think the battery is starting to fade a little too)

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So when are the 2016 Nexus phones going to be released?

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Childcatcher

Nougat?

I bought a phone last year, so I'll have to remind myself to be excited about this update sometime around 2019.

(By which time we'll be onto 'Fruit Salads' or 'Midget Gems' or some other such wonder)

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Re: Nougat?

That seems unlikely, the versions are named in ascending alphabetical order (...Jellybean, KitKat, Lollypop, Marshmallow, Nougat...) so in 2019 we'll probably be over Oreo and awaiting an upgrade from Peppermint to Quench.

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Anonymous Coward

two resizable app windows to run side by side

best invention since the free Windows 10! That said, not as useful as running four resizeable app windows side by side. Or sixteen, why not? There's nothing better than running 16 app windows side by side on a 5-inch mobe screen. By extension, if you had a mobe with SIX screens (swiss-army-style, or perhaps rubic cube style, click here to donate to donate), you could then run 6 x 16 app windows side by side.

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Silver badge

Better sources needed

"Google guarantees Android updates for two years and the Nexus 7 passed that in July. The Nexus 5 ought to be good until October, but sources tell The Reg that it doesn't have the hardware chops to run the new operating system."

Those same sources should probably have told El Reg that the Nexus 5 is already well over two years old, having released in October 2013, and so certainly shouldn't be expected to still fall under a two year guarantee by next October. It hasn't even been available to buy for nearly 18 months. Two years is still a pretty shit support period, but let's not pretend Google are breaking the terms of their guarantee.

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Silver badge

Re: Better sources needed

Any guarantee would not require them to update the software to a later version with more features.

But it might require them to issue fixes for bugs and security issues, major ones at least.

Two years is pretty crappy, MS got it in the neck for not updating 920/925/1020s to Win10 - they were all past that age and that wasn't the reason anyway, since less capable and possibly older devices got updated, possibly a Qualcomm chip issue, my 1020 ran Win10 but was awful at bits of it.

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Trollface

Yes, all very nice, but...

Is that "noo-gatt" or "noo-gah"?

Stuff the technical frippery, this is the important bit.

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Trollface

Re: Yes, all very nice, but...

Nugget ;)

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Re: Yes, all very nice, but...

Noogaah. It's French isn't it?

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Not enough gain, too much pain.

I want my hardware to last longer than 2 years! A $700 nexus 6p or $400 5x should not require replacing unless it can no longer do the job for which it was purchased. Changing the operating system does not change (but may broaden) the tasks for which the device is being used, but that is not enough of a reason to go splash a few hundred hard-earned dollars on a new device.

At that frequency of obsolescence of every 24 months with minimal gain in functionality means that the law of diminishing returns is in play. My hard-earned cash stays where it is.

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Re: Not enough gain, too much pain.

Believe it or not, the phones do last longer than two years. They don't self-destruct on their 2nd anniversary, and Google is still pretty good about issuing security updates. They'll keep doing exactly what you bought them to do.

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Re: Not enough gain, too much pain.

"Believe it or not, the phones do last longer than two years. They don't self-destruct on their 2nd anniversary..."

Unless, of course, you have put the latest OS on the device, which then starts to crawl (when it was perfectly fine before) and enforces that 'new phone' desire...

A bit like when the washing machine dies a day after the warranty expired - planned obsolescence?

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