Android Nougat drops support for Nexus 5 and 2013 Nexus 7
It’s official: The Nexus 5 and 2013 Nexus 7 won’t receive the Android 7.0 Nougat update from Google today. The update will roll out to the Nexus 6, 9, 5X, 6P, the Pixel C tablet, the Nexus Player, and the General Mobile 4G (an Android One phone that has been included in the beta program), but older gadgets will remain on Marshmallow.
Neither device was supported by the Android N developer beta builds that Google has been releasing all summer, and both are past the point when new major Android updates are guaranteed (July and October of 2015 for the Nexus 7 and 5, respectively). But the beta support list is not always indicative of the final support list. Google has provided updates outside of that 18-month window before.
Google provides its monthly security patches either three years after a device’s release date or 18 months after the end of general availability, whichever is longer. According to the dates listed on Wikipedia, that ought to cover both of them until October 2016 or so, at which point both devices may be left behind for good.
Nexus 5 owners who want to stay updated have some options. The Nexus 5X is nearly a year old, but it’s still a solid phone, and it goes on sale pretty regularly at this point. And rumor has it that one of the upcoming HTC-made Nexus phones will have a 5-inch screen, too. Sadly, Nexus 7 users don’t have an easy Nexus upgrade path since both the Nexus 9 and Pixel C were significantly larger and more expensive. There are no rumors of a new small-screened Nexus tablet on the horizon.
Even if people use those older Nexuses for another year or two, they’ll still be running a newer version of the OS than the vast majority of the Android ecosystem. And the Nexus devices’ easily unlockable bootloaders and wide use among developers make them popular among the ROM development community. So you’ll be able to find Nougat builds floating around if you’re equipped (and brave enough) to install them. But it’s too bad that the support lifecycle of the most consistently updated Android devices is so much shorter than what Apple achieves with iOS, especially since the hardware should still be more than capable of supporting Nougat.