The operating system that started out as Android N is no longer a beta. Google began distributing free upgrades to Android 7.0 Nougat this week. However, the only tablets that currently support this new version are the HTC Nexus 9 and the Google Pixel C. Users of most other large-screen models are left wondering when–or even if–they’ll be able to take advantage of the new features.
People with the Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet are a exception. Sony has committed to releasing an Android 7.0 upgrade for this model. The company has yet to reveal when this will be available, though.
Samsung promised to introduce a Nougat upgrade for the just-released Galaxy Note 7 phablet, but hasn’t said anything definite about similar releases for its tablets. And it might not happen at all; an upgrade to Android 6.x Marshmallow is still “in development” for the Galaxy Tab S2 9.7, even though this is Samsung’s flagship tablet.
Why the Delay?
Android users might wonder why they have to wait for their operating system upgrades when people with Windows and iOS tablets don’t. This is because Google allows device makers to modify the OS, like the way Samsung replaces the standard application launcher with TouchWiz. Also, companies “tune” the system software so it performs better on their individual hardware.
Microsoft and Apple have very different strategies. Windows 10 will run on any computer that had Windows 8.1. Apple, by contrast, controls both the iPad hardware and the iOS software, so it takes care of any necessary modifications needed for specific devices behind the scenes before releasing new versions for its tablets and phones.