Android 7.0 Nougat: 5 Features That Improve Your Mobile Computer Experience
There’s no denying it, Mobile Computers have taken off as some of the most exciting and innovative barcode scanning devices today. The merging of phone and barcode scanner means the standard of user-friendliness, performance and security has shot up. Over the last year, global barcode manufacturer Newland EMEA has expanded their Android mobile computer line greatly to offer solutions for applications and businesses of all shapes and sizes. Now, many of these devices have been upgraded for Android 7.0 Nougat.
So, why does Android Nougat matter? Android 7 brings business users not only much-improved battery life, but also additional security, speed and stability. It has become an established operating system which has had the bugs ironed out by several years of consumer use.
For you as a corporate user, the best features of Android 7.0 Nougat include:
Speed and Security: Direct Boot
Android Nougat introduces Direct Boot, improving startup times and letting registered apps have limited functionality. In short, Direct Boot splits everything into two groups: Device Encrypted Storage (DES) and Credential Encrypted Storage (CES). As a result, some apps and data are available before a user unlocks the device (DES) and others are only available after the user unlocks the device (CES). This allows you to do certain things before unlocking the device, while keeping other apps and data completely encrypted until the you log in. There are two advantages to that – it makes the device run faster and it’s harder for unauthorized users or applications to access data.
Convenience and Security: Key attestation
Key attestation is slightly complicated, but one of the most helpful security tools Android Nougat offers. Suppose you’re working with an application that handles highly sensitive information. You don’t want anyone who picks up the device to have access to this data. However, a password system is often inconvenient and complicated to coordinate, especially when dealing with multiple team members using the device.
With key attestation, you can generate an authentication key that allows it to be opened with the stored key at any time. It is even possible for users to authenticate with their fingerprint or a personal passcode. Android Nougat strengthens this system and makes sure the key an app is using is valid and stored in the phone’s hardware. If an attacker compromises the OS, this means they should not be able to extract the key because it is in secure hardware.
Saving Battery: Doze
Android Nougat cuts down the performance impact by having a better system for management of background processes.
The most prominent feature that achieves this is Doze. Doze arrived with Android 6.0 Marshmallow and drastically improved battery life. The idea behind Doze is that, when your device was at rest, it would switch to a low energy mode. The 6.0 version relied on three criteria to kick in: it needed to be unplugged, motionless and the screen had to be off. With Nougat, Doze gets a much-needed tweak. It now has two stages: one when the screen is off and the device is unplugged and the other is when the device is also motionless. That means it is smart enough to know when the device is at rest, even when in your pocket or on a forklift.
Figure 1. Doze saves battery by deferring app activity when the device is idle. (Source: Android.com)
Higher Performance: Project Svelte
Android Nougat builds on the efforts Google made in earlier versions to lower system requirements and speed up the OS. It rocks tighter core components, lowering system requirements and allowing Android to work well and fast on both higher-end and lower-end devices.
Project Svelte is an ongoing effort by Google to minimize RAM used by the system and apps on the device. Prior to Android Nougat, all apps would be able to listen to broadcast receivers. This allowed them to detect when, for example, a picture was taken, or when the network changed. When that happened, every application listening would wake up to try and process the data at once, taking a toll on RAM and CPU time. With Android Nougat, sleeping apps do not needlessly consume RAM (and battery) or affect system performance unless the app is awake and you are using it.
Intuitive User Interface: Quick Settings
For Android users, Quick Setting is a popular and and simple way to expose key settings and action. Android Nougat has expanded the scope of Quick settings to make it even more useful and convenient. It is now possible to add additional Quick Setting tiles by swiping left or right, allowing you to include those settings most relevant to your everyday tasks. Developers are also able to define their own Quick Setting tiles to give employees access to key controls and actions with the swipe of a finger.
Figure 2. The Android 7.0 Nougat quick settings menu is easy to use. (Source: Android.com)