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Android N Feature Spotlight: Notification Shade Now A Lot More Powerful With Direct Reply And Notification Bundling

Android's notification shade is getting a lot more powerful in N, and two new APIs are the key to that: direct replies and bundling. On the surface, both of these things sound fairly unexciting, but in reality, they have the potential to make the notification shade a powerful multitasking tool that reduces the amount of time you spend doing quick tasks and entering apps when you don't actually need to.

inline-reply

First, let's hit the direct reply API. The wonderful ability to reply to messages in Google Messenger or Hangouts directly from the notification bar was, you may be surprised to learn, not a standard Android feature.

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Google Announces Android "N" Developer Preview: Available Today, Adds Multi-window, Improved Doze, And More

Did you expect to wake up to a new version of Android this morning? Probably not. But that's exactly what you're getting, and Google's letting the information fly fast and hard (... and in some cases, slightly before we expected) about the latest iteration of their mobile OS, at this time only known as "N." Like previous... previews... N doesn't have a version number or name yet, but it's chock-full of new features for users and developers alike, and the list of those features will grow as we near the final release. Let's break down the key facts.

  • Preview images: Android N preview images will be available today for the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, General Mobile 4G (Android One), Nexus Player, Nexus 9, and Pixel C.
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Hiroshi Lockheimer Says Android N Will Be Available In "Final Release" Form This Summer

Android N is here: have you heard? Of course you have (well, maybe a bit earlier than even we expected), because the internet is freaking littered with Android N news right now. But one piece you may not have broken out amongst all the ruckus was exactly when N is launching for real (read: this summer), as opposed to a developer preview. Well, Hiroshi Lockheimer, head of Android (and Chrome OS / Chromecast) at Google, dropped a little nugget of relevant info today in a post on Medium about Android N.

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Nexus 5X Update MHC19J Includes Cooler Color Temp Option, Performance Improvements, And More

Most of the monthly Nexus updates are security patches, but Google is pushing out an OTA to the Nexus 5X right now that's actually got some substance to it. While other phones are just getting the March security update, the Nexus 5X is receiving a raft of bug fixes and tweaks in the update too.

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CyanogenMod 13 Comes To The Asus ZenFone 2 Laser And Selfie (Z00T)

Asus plans to bring Marshmallow to the Asus ZenFone 2 and its variants, but the when is still up in the air. Thanks to the CyanogenMod project, Asus ZenFone 2 Laser and Selfie owners can say the time is now. CM 13 nightly builds have arrived for the two devices, bringing with them Android 6.0.

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Marshmallow Starts Rolling Out To The International LG V10 In Turkey

LG's current portfolio of smartphones isn't that big, yet the company still struggles to keep even its flagships updated to the latest Android version. Take the G4 for example. The company announced Marshmallow would begin seeding to the device way back in October in Poland, but it took a lot longer to graduate to full roll-out. Sprint had it in December, US Cellular in January, while AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and the international variants got it in February. That was a gruesome wait, but it doesn't even compare to the LG V10.

We're just now hearing about the first instance of an OTA update rolling to the V10, and that's hitting the international variant for users in Turkey.

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March Platform Distribution Numbers Updated—Marshmallow Nearly Doubles To 2.3%, Lollipop Continues To Grow

Google has updated its platform distribution numbers today, showing a nice increase for Android 6.0, but Lollipop is still ticking upward too. As for our Froyo deathwatch, the watch continues as Android 2.2 is holding on at 0.1%.

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Someone MacGyvered Android Auto Onto Newer Mazda Vehicles (Yes, This May Void Your Warranty)

Android Auto? On my Mazda? Before you get too excited by that title, let me drop a couple of ice cubes in that piping hot cup of excitement: this is exceptionally buggy. With that disclaimer out of the way, yep, some clever individuals have managed to reverse-engineer Android Auto's head unit bits to run on newer Mazda CMU (infotainment) systems, and if you're feeling adventurous, you can get in on the action.

The issue is that, well, it's kind of broken in lots of ways. And I mean virtually everything is subject to bugs, crashes, and various strange issues, like the fact that the CMU system permanently thinks it's midnight on January 1st, 1970 when in Android Auto and thus Auto is always in its night mode layout.

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AOSP Changelogs Posted For March's 6.0.1 And 5.1.1 Security Updates

The latest factory images for the Nexus family have landed and people are getting their updates. What are they updating to? The changelogs built from developer comments can probably answer that, or at least give some pretty good hints.

Like most of the monthly updates, at least since Google started this practice, March's update focuses on security.

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Android 6.0 Update Comes To The T-Mobile HTC One M8 And LG G Stylo

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