Android Police

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Android 8.1 feature spotlight: You can now restore backed up data after initial setup process

Backing up and restoring data is something that Android hasn't always handled so well, but it's got a lot better in recent versions. Since Marshmallow, automatic app data backups have made switching between phones a whole lot easier, bringing all your apps and settings with you. This means that you can set up a new device and have it look identical to your old one, without having to go through the agony setting everything up again.

What hasn't been possible, though, is restoring data to a device after the initial setup is complete. That appears to have changed with the Android 8.1 Oreo developer preview, and also in 8.0 on the new Pixels, which share a bunch of features with the 8.1 build you'll get on OG Pixels and Nexuses.

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Samsung Gear Sport review: A smartwatch regular people might actually buy

Smartwatches were supposed to be the Next Big ThingTM a few years ago when Samsung launched the original Android-powered Galaxy Gear. That device came with a laundry list of problems, but the company quickly reassessed and got on board with Android Wear while also dabbling with the Tizen wearable OS. When Samsung quietly stepped back from Android Wear, many of us thought it was a mistake. With the release of the Gear Sport, it's looking like Samsung made the right call.

The Gear Sport is a followup to last year's Gear S3. Like that watch, the Sport has a round Super AMOLED display, a rotating bezel, and the Tizen wearable OS.

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Action Launcher v30 update includes 'At a Glance' widget and colored search box icons

Action Launcher is one of Android's most popular replacement launchers, and this has a lot to do with how quick Chris Lacy has recently been to update his app with the latest features of Google's Pixel Launcher. It's much more than just a port, however, and also has original features that its loyal users swear by, such as covers and shutters.

The last two updates have added AdaptivePack icon integration and a customizable bottom search box, à la new Pixel Launcher. The latest bump to version 30 includes the Pixel's 'At a Glance' widget, which shows you your next calendar appointment alongside the current date and weather, and an option to colorize the icons in the search box.

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Google Photos v3.8 has a fancy new Lens animation [APK Download]

Google Lens is taking its sweet time getting ready for its full-fledged debut. The juiced-up version of Google Goggles is already available to those who use the first- and second-generation Pixel smartphones, but it's cooped up in the Photos app and has yet to appear in Assistant, as promised back in May at I/O. One of the reasons for this delay appears to be aesthetic, as Google Photos v3.8 shows off a new animation while Lens is analyzing a photo.

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Want Ambient Display to show battery level? Star this issue and let Google know (but don't comment)

These days, a lot of phones come with some form of ambient/always-on displays. Samsung, Motorola, LG, and Google all have phones with a variant of this feature, and it can really come in handy if you just need to check something in a pinch. But while Google has updated its Ambient Display with 8.1 Oreo, it's still missing one crucial feature: battery level. However, you can help push Google to add it by starring this issue in its Issue Tracker.

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Pixel 2 XL, but not Pixel 2, now sold on Google Store in Italy and Spain

Google's hardware has always been difficult to purchase, if you happen to live outside of a handful of countries. The original Pixels were only sold by Google in six regions - Australia, Canada, Germany, Puerto Rico, United Kingdom, and the United States. The Pixel 2 and 2 XL were originally limited to those regions as well, but now the XL is expanding to Italy and Spain.

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Weekend poll: Has your opinion of Google's Pixel 2 XL changed?

It's been a turbulent couple of weeks for Google's latest pair of phones. The most significant point of contention has been the screen on the Pixel 2 XL, which has been reported to have issues ranging from an uneven "grainy" appearance, color-calibration woes, off-angle blue-shifts, to problems as significant as thick bands of darkness or bright color. If that wasn't enough, other issues started to appear like strange sounds and audio weirdness with videos.

With all these potential problems cropping up, how has your opinion of the Pixel 2 XL changed?

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Sony uploads Xperia Assist app to the Play Store

It's pretty common practice for manufacturers to upload their custom system apps to the Play Store. This way, the individual apps can be updated outside of a system upgrade. Sony has done this for many of its applications, and the 'Xperia Assist' app is the latest one to be uploaded.

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Android Auto is crashing randomly for many Pixel 2 and 2 XL owners [Update]

For the circumstances in which Android Auto is used, you'd think that Google would pay extra attention in getting everything just right. But with issues in just the past few months regarding Maps, the Ok Google command, and Play Music, it's clear that that's not the case. Our latest Android Auto issues come from owners of Google's brand-new Pixel 2 XL.

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SwiftKey Beta's new Photo Themes lets you use your own images to create custom keyboards

One of SwiftKey's many virtues is its abundance of themes, which are all free to users. By my count – I hand-counted them twice for you, dear reader – the Microsoft-owned keyboard has 125 themes available to download. That number officially jumps to infinity with the latest SwiftKey Beta thanks to a new feature called Photo Themes, which allows you to use any image you want to create a custom keyboard theme.

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