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[Update: Official] Samsung's Galaxy Beta Program will allow the S7 and S7 edge to beta test Nougat, starting November 9th

Late last week, an eagle-eyed XDA user and Galaxy S7 edge owner noticed an app in the Galaxy Apps store entitled "Galaxy beta program." Not unexpectedly, many owners of Galaxy S7-series phones, myself included, got excited. Now, thanks to a major oversight on Samsung's part, we've got a ton of information about Samsung's upcoming Galaxy Beta Program.

Starting November 9th, select Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge models in the United States, United Kingdom, South Korea, and China will be permitted to enroll in the Galaxy Beta Program. This program will allow participants to try out Android 7.0 Nougat, in hopes that they'll provide feedback helpful to engineers.

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Android 7.1 feature spotlight: A closer look at seamless updates, partition changes, and new fastboot commands

During the I/O 2016 Keynote presentation, and again at the October 4th Pixel announcement, Google made brief references to newly added support for seamless updates in Nougat. To make this work, many changes had to be made to the structure of Android and its assorted system partitions. As a result, there have also been some changes to the fastboot utility many of us use when new factory images become available. This post covers a few of the technical details and also demonstrates some of the ways to use the new features.

How it works

Seamless updates are accomplished by creating a second set of logical partitions in device storage.

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November's Nexus/Pixel factory images and OTA files are now available for download [Update]

Google's monthly Android patches are live, and it's a momentous occasion this time. This is the first cycle that the Pixel and Pixel XL are included in the lineup. In addition to the security patches, which can be read about in the security bulletin, this update should enable Daydream VR support on the Pixel phones. You can either wait for the update, or do it manually.

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Android platform distribution, November 2016: Nougat shows up, Marshmallow surges to 24%

Android platform distributions for the first week of November are up, and Nougat has appeared... with 0.3% of the pie. But it's there! The only other really noteworthy change came from Marshmallow, which surged 5.3 points to 24% of total devices. As such, it seems likely that Marshmallow will unseat KitKat as the most common version of the Android platform next month, at least if we're counting by API level. If you're counting by whole-digit version, Lollipop is in the lead, and has been for some time.

But KitKat has held this position of dominance for, well, a really long time (probably around two years).

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Android Auto v2.0 is rolling out with on-phone mode [APK Download]

Google announced it would be making Android Auto available directly on your phone's screen a while back, but it didn't offer any time frame. It was starting to look like it was never happening, but lo and behold, Android Auto on phones is now rolling out. It's part of the Android Auto v2.0 app, and we've got the APK ready for you.

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Redditors find partial screenshot functionality is hidden in Android Nougat's code

Screenshots are great for sharing something funny with a friend, but it'd be so much easier if we could do that without having to crop the original shot first. Some Redditors discovered over the weekend that partial screenshot functionality is currently hidden in Android Nougat, and can be turned on via the source code and then used with either the normal screenshot buttons or a physical keyboard.

A commit in Nougat reveals the code, which sees 'a partial screenshot function in TakeScreenshotService'. /u/Maxr1998 and @MrWasdennnoch were able to modify TakeScreenshotService to turn it on (see YouTube video below), while /u/vyashole, using the modified code, used a keyboard with an OTG connector to take screenshots, using the combination CTRL+META+SHIFT+S to take a partial screenshot.

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Google VR Services gets an update in preparation for Daydream VR

Daydream VR was revealed alongside the Pixel phones and Google Home last month, but while those other things began to ship, news surrounding Google's latest virtual reality headset remained sparse. However, the Mountain View-based company has just pushed an update to Google VR Services, the framework needed for Daydream VR to work with the Pixel and Pixel XL.

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Latest Google Play services update restores the 'Check for updates' button on Nexus and Pixel devices

With a security update looming on the horizon, we thought now would be a good time to point out that there's a small incentive to update to the latest version of Google Play services ahead of its normal rollout schedule – assuming you didn't already do it for those handy little Cast notifications with player controls. If you happen to miss repeatedly slamming on the update button after it was removed from Nexus devices with the Android 7.1 update, you'll appreciate knowing that Play services v10 restores the button to its former state of existence.

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Samsung publishes [non-functional] Nougat beta enrollment app in Galaxy Apps store

It was not too long ago that Samsung gave U.K. owners of the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge the ability to enroll their devices in the Marshmallow beta program. This marked a step outside of Samsung's norm, which was internal testing of major software updates. So here we are in the latter part of 2016 and Samsung seems to be following its new methodology... At least, it looked that way briefly.

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[Update: Nixon now available] Michael Kors Access, Nixon, and Polar smartwatches, Philips Hue Starter Kit, now on the Google Store

Earlier this month, Google removed a number of products from the virtual shelves of the Google Store, most notably the Nexus 5X and 6P. Today the Google Store has begun selling a few new Android Wear wearables and the Philips Hue Color A19 Starter Kit.

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