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Android Marshmallow just reached 15% recently in terms of the percentage of devices running on the OS and that's good news. Android Lollipop still leads the chart with a whopping 35.5% of all current Android devices (divided in between the two versions) in the market running on it. Even Android 4.4 KitKat is enjoying a huge market share at 29.2%. Android Jelly Bean continues to power 16.6% (all versions from 4.1 to 4.3 included) of the Android devices out there till date, but if you go before that to the likes of Ice Cream Sandwich and Gingerbread, the numbers are quite low at 1.6% and 1.7% respectively. Finally, Android Froyo is the oldest Android version to still be used by some users on their smartphones and the percentage is a negligible 0.1%.


Although Marshmallow is lagging behind, it is definitely gaining in size and it's good to see. However, Android 7 Nougat is almost out and once it is out, it will surely take the crown as the most advanced Android OS with the least number of devices running it, as is the system with Android devices unfortunately. In the API usage situation, the ancient OpenGL 2.0 is at the top of the list with 46% of all Android powered devices running it. OpenGL 3.0 is used by 42.6% of the population, while OpenGL 3.1 is utilized by a disappointing 11.4%. The Vulkan API is the latest and most powerful of the bunch, but it will take some time before enough devices start using it for the API to be even listed.


Saikat Kar (tech-enthusiast)



If @evleaks is right (which he mostly is) then Android 7.0 Nougat could be officially released this month. As the rumors regarding the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 have recently been hinting towards the smartphone being launched with Android Nougat right out of the box on August 2, could the Samsung device be the first phone to officially showcase it?


We have bad news for Nexus 5 owners though as Evan Blass is pretty clear in his Tweet that Google will only be updating its devices that came out after the Nexus 5. This means that if you own a Nexus 5, you will need to wait for custom ROM versions from modders if you want to experience Android 7.0 on your three year old Nexus.


We are looking forward to the graphical enhancements which the OS will bring to the table for Android users, but there are other exciting features that could be featured in the final build as well. For example, the Sustained Performance Mode, that is designed exclusively for developers. There's also the new system of upgrading your device with major updates, without having to wait for it to finish as the task will utilize a second partition on your phone's memory to download and install itself. Once you restart the phone, the changes will start to take effect. There are plenty of other features that we got a glimpse of in the five Developer Preview builds released so far, but we will have to wait and see how many of them actually make it to the final cut.


Saikat Kar (tech-enthusiast)



Staying true to the tradition of naming their Android iterations after desserts and sweets, Google has finally announced the official name of Android N as Nougat. In case you are curious, real life nougats are chewy Spanish sweets/ingredients made with whipped egg whites, roasted nuts, sugar, honey and candied fruit.


As has been the custom for Google, Android 7.0 Nougat has now received its official statue which depicts the Google Android standing over three nougat bars at its feet. The company expressed its appreciation for the public's response when they had put up an official site for anyone and everyone to suggest a name for the next Android OS. In the launch video, it was also mentioned that those suggestions played a major role in selecting the nougat as their preferred choice.


Android 7.0 Nougat should start to make its appearance by late 2016, especially on Nexus devices. This is a version of the OS that will be heavy on the visual animations and will offer a much better graphical support than Android Marshmallow, which will make way for superior looking games on your Android smartphones.


Author: Saikat Kar (tech-enthusiast)



As promised at the Google I/O earlier, a new Beta section has arrived in the Google Play menu for beta testers. If you are testing beta software on your Android device, you should now be able to find them under My apps & games > Beta in the Play Store.


The best part about the section is that it will let you opt out of the beta testing as well, if you so choose. Conversely, the user will also be able to sign up for new beta testing options from the same menu. In order to see this section on your smartphone, the required Google Play version is 6.7.13 as per reports.



Although this isn't something that will interest the average user, tech-enthusiasts should find the new feature pretty useful. We like the option of being able to experience new features for our favorite apps before others, but beta testing can cause performance issues on your smartphone. If you are facing such problems from any of the beta apps, you can now opt out of the program with ease. Provided that your Play Store is up to date and you still cannot see the options, you will possibly need to wait a while before the update arrives for your smartphone.


Saikat Kar (tech-enthusiast)



The second last Developer Preview for the next Android OS has been released and after the next one, the final build will be made available to smartphone manufacturers all over the world. So what new features does Android N Developer Preview 4 bring to the table? Let us take a look at some of them.


Performance



Android N will allow for better graphics in games and 3D apps, with the help of the Vulkan 3D Graphics API. As the API puts less pressure on the processor than OpenGL, we expect app developers to be able to provide better details in terms of graphics than ever before.


The JTI Compiler on the other hand, will make installing apps 75% faster! Not to mention, the compiled code size will also be decreased into half of what it is right now.


Productivity



Direct Reply will allow you to reply to messages and emails from the notification bar itself. The user will also be able to long-press a notification to bring up various interactive options.


The Daydream platform, along with the Daydream headset will offer brand new VR capabilities to Android users.


There's an improved multitasking experience bundled in, along with an upgraded multitasking menu, complete with a Clear All option.


If you like Emojis, Google has packed in 72 new ones (Unicode) and 9 realistic glyphs with variable skin tones.


Android N will finally support split-screen by default on both Android smartphones and TV sets.


Doze Now will be saving the phone's battery, even while the display is off.


Security



Android N brings in new security features through file-based encryption, framework hardening and regular updates. What is amazing is that the new update system will operate on two system images. It will allow the phone to download and install updates in the background, without disabling the phone during the update process. The updated image file will come into action as soon as you restart your phone.


These are just some of the many new updates that are brought into the fray by the Developer Preview 4 and we are sure that many more are yet to come. By the way, If you tap repeatedly (7 times to be precise) on the version name in the Android N Developer version 4 from the Settings menu, you will see the name displayed as "Namey McNameFace." This is of course a joke, so rest easy!


Author: Saikat Kar (tech-enthusiast)

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