With the release of Android 7.0 Nougat last week, Google also announced moving to a quarterly maintenance update process. After years of unpredictability, we are finally seeing the maker of the world's most used mobile operating system better planning the update process. The latest rumors claim that the first three quarterly updates for Nougat will be versions Android 7.1, 7.1.1 and 7.1.2.
Android 7.1, 7.1.1 and 7.1.2 will be the first three quarterly updates
Google's decision of pushing out regular maintenance updates to its mobile operating system has been followed by today's report of expected versions. A regular leakster, Evan Blass has suggested that the next three releases will be Android 7.1 Nougat, Android 7.1.1 and 7.1.2 Nougat. There will be those incremental 0.0.. security and bug fixing releases in between these quarterly updates.
The next three quarterly maintenance releases of Android Nougat will be Android 7.1 / 7.1.1 / 7.1.2
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) August 28, 2016
While there aren't any more details available now, Google has already started to work on the 7.1 update. The first of the next three big updates, Android 7.1 Nougat is to bring Google Assistant among other additions. Many have suggested that Android 7.1 Nougat will be the biggest of the future updates, as this will be the one shipping out with the upcoming Nexus devices. Previously, Google released new versions of Android with the release of new Nexus hardware. Since we saw Android Nougat releasing before the new Nexus lineup, it is expected that the upcoming Nexus devices will release with Android 7.1 Nougat instead. Along with the next generation Nexus launcher, Google Assistant, Android 7.1 will also bring redesigned Android soft buttons.
As for the timeline, we are expecting to see Android 7.1 Nougat this fall, which will be followed by 7.1.1 release at the end of this year. Android Nougat 7.1.2 would possibly release in the spring next year. The last two quarterly releases aren't expected to introduce any major features to the OS, but will instead focus on refinements.
Google will release the developer preview of 7.1 in the coming month, which will also help us learn more about what to expect from the future Nougat updates. Remember, these point releases are somewhat major updates that will follow the more regular, monthly security patches that we have now come to expect from Google every month.