ANDROID N STARTS rolling out today—but only if you have a Nexus device. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait a few months. Most Android phone owners will likely receive a notification to update their phone’s operating system sometime between November and January.
Getting a first bite of Nougat, which offers new emoji, multitasking tricks, and notifications, depends on your phone model, your carrier, your location, and the “heaviness” of the skin each manufacturer slaps on top of Android. According to a report by mobile-development firm Apteligent, there are established first-movers in the update game. If you have the Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, or Nexus 6, you’ll get Android N as early as today; August 22 is the kick-off date for a weeks-long rollout to Nexus devices. All those phones run stock Android and get their updates directly from Google. Other phones get their updates from the device manufacturers, and each manufacturer has to make sure the new version of Android runs properly with all of its proprietary software and custom features across multiple carriers. That can take a while.
None of the manufacturers or carriers I reached out to would give me a specific date on when Nougat would show up on their phones. They wouldn’t even ballpark it.
But precedents have been set. According to the Apteligent report, in the US, Motorola was the first major device manufacturer to start rolling out Android 6.0 Marshmallow to its higher-end phones. That makes sense, as Moto has a relatively lightweight custom skin on top of Android. The Moto Z series and Moto G4 series seem like frontrunners to get a Nougat update.
Close behind on the last rollout was LG. The company’s current flagship, the G5, will probably see a Nougat update soon after Motorola’s devices. HTC phones have also historically received Android updates around the same time as LG’s.
Still, you’re in for a wait: According to Apteligent, it took about three months after Marshmallow’s official release for Motorola, LG, and HTC phones to get their Marshmallow fix.
You’ll likely be in for an even longer wait if you own Samsung’s Note 7, Galaxy S7, or Galaxy S7 Edge phones. According to Apteligent’s report, Galaxy phones took about five months to see the last Android update. Same with Sony’s phones.
So if past history is any indication, the first non-out-of-the-box Nougat phones should start seeing the new version of Android around the end of November. Samsung and Sony phones may be getting their Nougat filling in the first month or two of 2017.
If you’re planning to upgrade to a new phone, you can get Nougat sooner. The upcoming LG V20 will be the first phone to be sold with Nougat installed on it, and it’s teased on Google’s official Android page. The release date for the V20 hasn’t been announced yet (it’s still “coming soon”) but it could arrive before Android N lands on the device you’re currently using.