Android 7.1 Nougat is bringing with it a lot of new and improved security and encryption features that were preciously not seen in Marshmallow. Google is touting these security features as maybe part of the things you might want on a Pixel phone. Security has never been Android’s strongest element, but maybe now you’d feel safer having an Android device.
First up, File-based Encryption (FBE) and the “direct boot” feature are front and center. FBE means that different files are encrypted with different keys that can be unlocked independently. The “direct boot” feature uses FBE so that applications like alarm clocks, accessibility settings, and phone calls are available immediately after boot, even if encryption keys have not been entered. This makes for a faster experience and a more usable device all in all.
Android Nougat also uses ext4 encryption rather than the Linux standard eCryptFS system. The inline hardware encryption engine in the Pixel phones allows the device to write encrypted data at speed to the flash memory. This gives you better performance within the device – especially when writing data – even with encryption turned on.
These features are also available with the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), so the code for this type of security and encryption will be available for those building custom ROMs based on AOSP.