The first week of the month is when Google pushes out security updates for Android. This month, in addition to getting security fixes, Nexus users are also getting an update to the latest version of Android, Nougat 7.1.1. It’s currently rolling out for the Nexus Player, although users likely won’t see anything new.
What’s New in Android 7.1.1?
There are several highlighted features, none of which actually apply to TVs.
- Rich input keyboard – Apps can now support rich media from system keyboards, like images and gifs, without having to manually integrate it. Of course, it requires keyboards to support it. Android TV’s Leanback Keyboard does not support gifs, and text entry (or gif entry) isn’t a big part of TVs in general.
- More emoji – Again, it needs to be supported in the keyboard, and the Leanback Keyboard isn’t big on emoji in general
- Launcher shortcuts – Apps can specify shortcuts that users select on the launcher instead of navigating in the app. It requires support from the launcher, and though we created a mock up, it isn’t part of the Leanback Launcher
- Circular icons – Apps can now have a specific round icon so launchers can display more consistent icons. This depends on the launcher, and Android TV uses banners instead of icons.
There are plenty of security fixes which can be useful for devices that continue to be used and connected to the Internet. Some of the vulnerabilities include a remote code execution issue in the CURL library which could allow for man-in-the-middle attacks with a forged certificate.
A few vulnerabilities were found in NVIDIA drivers which allowed for privilege escalation. The devices affected include Nexus devices with NVIDIA’s GPU, although these same issues may exist in the NVIDIA Shield TV. They may have been fixed already, or will be in their next update.
Overall, it seems like this update, while nice to have, isn’t really impactful to Nexus Player owners. Anything substantial would have to be included in a future version of Android, or just come as app updates.