Google doesn't allow manufacturers to heavily customize Android TV, but that hasn't stopped some companies from delivering updates slowly (coughSonycough). Philips' smart TVs have been stuck on Marshmallow, but that appears to be changing. The company has now started rolling out Android 7.0 Nougat to its 2016 and 2017 smart TVs. Read More
Manufacturers are gearing up to bring Android 8.0 Oreo to devices, but we frequently forget that there are plenty of them still being sold right now that haven't had a taste of Android 7.0 Nougat. Up until just recently, Verizon and T-Mobile's Samsung Galaxy Tab E were among the devices stuck on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. But now those of you with carrier-branded units can enjoy all the features Nougat brings. This applies to Verizon 9.6" or 8" models, as well as the T-Mobile 8" model. Read More
You might remember our intermittent coverage of Android Automotive — not to be confused with the near-identically named Android Auto. The (really) short version is that Android Automotive is a full Android implementation in a car, rather than just a dumb projection of your phone. And, according to the folks at XDA, Google might be building an emulator for it in the Android SDK. Read More
Sony has been a surprisingly developer-friendly Android phone maker, with its Open Devices program giving anyone the opportunity to build and flash custom versions of the OS firmware on its devices. A few days ago Sony published the relevant binaries for the latest AOSP version of Android 8.0 Oreo for a number of its phones, and now it's added two newer Xperia models.
The XZ1 and XZ1 Compact were launched at the end of August at IFA 2017 in Berlin. They're essentially the same as their predecessors, the XZ and X Compact, on the outside, with updated internals such as the Snapdragon 835. Read More
Back at I/O in May, Google teased the Daydream 2.0 update, codenamed Euphrates, which would bring a more social aspect to using the VR platform by casting what the user sees on another screen. Daydream 2.0 isn't ready just yet, but the latest update to version 1.10.170912063 already has that capability, as well as support for the 2nd generation View headset and the new Pixel 2 phones. Read More
Since BlackBerry got out of the hardware game, and TCL started building phones for the company previously known for its physical keyboard-toting business phones, we've seen a couple of new BlackBerry-branded devices. There was the modest Aurora (sans keyboard), specifically for the Indonesian market, and then there was the flagship KEYone, which was supposed to invoke memories of BlackBerry roots with its physical keyboard. It did so, to some extent, even if it was underwhelming in certain areas.
The next phone to be released under the BlackBerry name can now be seen in full, thanks to serial leaker Evan Blass (@evleaks). Read More
Android Wear isn't an especially popular platform these days, but plenty of people still use it - enough for Google to have released two new smartwatches, the LG Watch Sport and Watch Style, earlier this year. But just eight months after their release, the Android Wear page has disappeared from the Google Store's home page. And more interestingly, both the Watch Sport and Watch Style are now marked as "no longer available." Read More
Carriers are notoriously slow to update their devices to newer versions of Android, and while this is not only annoying for users who want to try out new features, it also has implications for the security of devices. Until now, the Verizon HTC Desire 530 had been running Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow (released by Google in December 2015) with anything but up-to-date security patches. A new update has just been announced, and it does improve the situation, if only a little bit. Read More
Last week, Google announced that the Assistant is coming to Android TV starting with the NVIDIA SHIELD TV. The firmware update started rolling shortly thereafter and users were able to grab the new Google app that came with it: version 3.0.
After probing on Google+, we got limited feedback that v3.0 of the Google app for Android TV can be installed on other Android TV devices and it does indeed activate the Assistant on them. However, before you scream victory, there are several limitations to keep in mind.
First, since the SHIELD has an Arm processor, we only have the Arm APK now and thus this won't work on TVs or boxes with an x86 processor like the Nexus Player. Read More
Sony may not come to mind as one of the most developer-friendly mobile tech companies out there, but its Open Devices program proves otherwise. The latest fruits of this creation come in the form of AOSP Android 8.0 Oreo, which is now available for six Xperia smartphones. Read More