Google Android 7.1.1 Developer Preview 2 comes before December's final update

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It seems like only yesterday that search giant Google was rolling out an Android Developer Preview to participants in its Android beta program. In fact, it was nearly a month ago in October. Like clockwork, the Mountain View, California-based company is letting loose a new release: the Android 7.1.1 Developer Preview 2.

Android 7.1.1 Developer Preview 2 follows on the heels of Developer Preview 1, which launched for the Nexus 5X, 6P, and Pixel C on October 19. It brought in tow nifty features like App Shortcuts, which mimic the 3D Touch features in Apple’s iOS 9 (you press and hold an app icon to quickly jump into specific actions), and a new restart setting. A Moves menu introduced the ability to launch apps with gestures. And Image Keyboard added support for like stickers, GIFs, and more in the native Android keyboard, including the more than 100 additions the Unicode Emoji Subcommittee approved in July.

The new preview isn’t quite as momentous. It includes “near-final” features and user interfaces, miscellaneous bug fixes, and “optimizations” across the system and Google’s suite of apps. On the programming side, Developer Preview 2 includes an update to Android’s software development kit in Android Studio, Google’s app programming environment. And it makes available the latest version of Android’s support library (25.0.1), the collection of tools that let developers generate circular icons, add keyboard images, and more.

Those enrolled in Android’s beta program will receive Developer Preview 2 as an automatic over-the-air update. Alternatively, system images are available for manual installation on the Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Pixel C, and Nexus 9. Google’s timeline for the developer preview indicated that the Nexus 6 and Nexus Player would receive an update to the second developer preview, but they have since been removed from the list.

Luckily, it will not be long before a finalized Android 7.1.1 begins rolling out to supported devices — Google said Developer Preview 2 will be the last release before the finished version debuts. “Starting in December, we’ll roll out Android 7.1.1 to the full lineup of supported preview devices, as well as the recently launched Pixel and Pixel XL devices,” Google wrote. “At that time, we’ll also push the sources to AOSP, so our device manufacturer partners can bring this new platform update to consumers on their devices.”

The list of supported devices includes the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Nexus 9, and Pixel C, Pixel, and Pixel XL.

Google is also rolling out an unrelated update (with build number NPF26J) to Pixel devices on Canadian carriers. It includes bug fixes and security enhancements, but new features in addition: two new gestures, “double-tap to check phone” and “lift to check phone.” Here’s a video of the two new features in action.

The former signals the return of a feature that leaked prior to the launch of the Pixel and Pixel XL, but which failed to materialize in the devices’ launch firmware.

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