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Android 7.1 is being developed for Chrome OS, adds in freeform mode and window resizing

'This is Chrome OS's year,' people say optimistically as they think for the gazillionth time about buying a Chromebook. Hell, I'm one of those people. Will it be 2017? Maybe. With the upcoming release of Samsung's new Chromebook Plus and Pro, and the wider release of Android apps on the Chrome OS stable channel, it's definitely possible. Now, more exciting news has come our way from Chrome Unboxed, in that Android 7.1 is being actively developed and tested for Chrome OS.

What does this actually mean? Basically, it means that the apps running on Chrome OS will gain features Android 7.1 has.

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Android Wear 2.0 is launching in early February

Google was supposed to release Android Wear 2.0 last fall, but there were... issues. Specifically, feedback for the developer preview was quite negative. Google decided to reassess and pushed the release to early 2017. After a few more dev previews, here we are. Google has notified developers that Wear 2.0 is coming in a few weeks, so they had better get their apps ready.

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Google will require OEMs to support Android's notification bundling and direct reply features

Google released a new version of its Compatibility Definition Document for Android earlier this week, and while most of the changes are very, very minor, one did stand out to me in the section on notifications. Specifically, Google has singled out manufacturers who in any way obstruct or remove Android's native notification actions, replies, settings access, and the bundling of notifications. The latest document forbids such practices, stating that OEMs must comply with Google's implementations of the features in AOSP. Here is the relevant section:

Handheld device implementations MUST support the behaviors of updating, removing, replying to, and bundling notifications as described in this section.

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Fossil's Android Wear watches removed from the Google Store

It looks like Google is working on spring cleaning a little early this year. After removing the remaining Huawei Watch models from the Google Store earlier today, all of Fossil's Android Wear watches are now gone. The company's lineup includes the Fossil Q Founder, Q Marshal, and Q Wonder.

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Google posts January 2017 platform distribution numbers: Nougat still under 1%, but Froyo is finally dead

Today is a big day for Android, nay, for all of us. After nearly seven years, Android 2.2 Froyo has finally dropped off the platform distribution numbers. Our Froyo Deathwatch has ended. That's not all that happened this month, but everything else is fairly routine.

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Weekend poll: What smart TV system do you use?

The war for your television's operating system (or, the operating system / platform you use to display content on it) is heating up. CES saw a refresh of the loved SHIELD Android TV console, and a new such box from Dish. We also saw Alexa on TVs, as well as continued attempts by the likes of Samsung and LG to push their own smart TV solutions.

So, I wanted to get a snapshot of what kind of smart TV system you're using here at the beginning of 2017. I'm allowing multiple answers on this poll, because I think people definitely may use a variety of platforms depending on both the TV and the content they're consuming, as not all platforms offer all services or features.

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[Update: HTC 10 RUU] Android 7.0 Nougat rolling out to the T-Mobile HTC 10 and LG G Pad X 8.0

While everyone is busy paying attention to the happenings at CES, T-Mobile has dropped a few big OTA updates. Android 7.0 Nougat is coming to the HTC 10 and LG G Pad X 8.0. If you have one of these devices, now is the time to start mashing the update button. Okay, don't actually do that, but an update will arrive soon.

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Google makes ADB, fastboot, and other platform tools available without full SDK or Android Studio download

As an Android nerd, there are times you probably need ADB or fastboot to mess around with your phone. Maybe you're flashing an OTA or unlocking the bootloader. You used to need to grab a giant package of other junk from Google to get them, but no more! Google has started hosting platform tools downloads without the other stuff that are a mere 3.5MB.

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Android 7.1.1 image and OTA files finally available for the Nexus 6

Google's shiny new Pixel phones and the slightly older Nexus 5X and 6P, and the Pixel C tablet have had access to the latest and most tasty flavor of Nougat for a month now, but the Nexus 6 (from 2014, if we're keeping score) has been puttering along on the more outdated 7.0 build. As promised, the 7.1.1 update is now available for Nexus 6 owners in both full system image and over-the-air update form - though of course, it may be a while before you see the actual OTA roll out to your phone.

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New Balance launches the $300 RunIQ Android Wear watch with GPS, Strava, and an Intel processor

Last year at CES, New Balance announced that it would be releasing an Android Wear watch by the end of 2016. The company missed the schedule by a month or two, since the new watch has just been officially unveiled. It's called RunIQ and like the name and the brand behind it, it's focused on running.

The RunIQ packs the 3 features that were hinted at last year: GPS, an Intel processor, and integration with the Strava platform to add a social and competitive element to running. But now we have more specific details. The GPS chip is coupled with a built-in heart-rate sensor that can work for up to 5 hours with continuous monitoring and map tracking.

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