Google started the rollout of Android 7.0 Nougat today, but what about the next update? According to the Android developers blog, Google is working on moving Android to a regular maintenance update cycle over the next few quarters. The first Nougat maintenance update is already in process, and Google will make it available as a developer preview prior to release.
In the past, Android releases more significant than the monthly security patches would arrive intermittently with little or no warning. From what Google posted on the dev blog, it sounds like the maintenance updates will arrive quarterly, but the language is a bit fuzzy there. Interestingly, Google is going to keep the developer preview program going. When the first maintenance update is ready, it will be sent out as a dev preview first. That means we'll have a chance to see what's coming in the new update before it's live for mainstream users.
Google says the first maintenance release will be ready this fall as a dev preview. It's not clear if this will only be provided via flashable images or if there will be OTAs like we had in the Android N beta. I guess we'll know this fall.
- Android Developers