There was a great deal of consternation earlier this month when it was revealed the Pixel phones would ship with Android 7.1, but Nexus phones were going to lag behind. Today, there's a little less reason to be upset with the announcement of the Android 7.1 developer preview. It's coming later this month, but not to all the same devices we saw in the last preview.
Google says that the preview will start off supporting only the Nexus 5X, 6P, and the Pixel C. Other devices will be added to the preview as it progresses. Google calls out several features in Android 7.1 (here's the full changelog) that developers should be aware of. Here they are.
- App shortcuts API — lets you surface key actions directly in the launcher and take your users deep into your app instantly. You can create up to 5 shortcuts, either statically or dynamically.
- Circular app icons support — lets you provide great-looking rounded icon resources that match the look of Pixel and other launchers.
- Enhanced wallpaper metadata — lets you provide metadata about your wallpapers to any picker displaying the wallpapers as a preview. You can show existing metadata such as label, description, and author, as well as a new context URL and title to link to more information.
- Image keyboard support — expands the types of content that users can enter from their keyboards, letting them express themselves through custom stickers, animated gifs, and more. Apps can tell the keyboard what types of content they accept, and keyboards can deliver all of the images and other content that they offer to the user. For broad compatibility, this API will also be available in the support library.
- Storage manager Intent — lets an app take the user directly to a new Settings screen to clear unused files and free up storage space on the device.
- APIs to support multi-endpoint calling and new telephony configuration options.
Just like last time, you can join the beta and get an OTA to the test as soon as it's live. There will likely also be flashable images available later. If you still have a device enrolled in the beta from Android 7.0 that you don't want to use with the 7.1 preview, you should un-enroll it now. This will be a quick developer preview, unlike the first Nougat test that lasted about 6 months. Google expects to have the final build ready in early December.
- Android Developers