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Until we have an Apple Watch of our own, no one is going to take Android Wear seriously (opinion)

Yesterday, Google announced what many hoped would be the first "proper" Android Wear smartwatches - designed from the ground up to provide the best Wear experience possible by the very team behind Android Wear. But what we received increasingly appears to be two LG smartwatches with hints of Google design influence, with far more of Google's effort being felt in the marketing and media campaigns than on consumers' wrists. Our reviews of the LG Watch Style and Watch Sport haven't yet landed, and I don't wish to taint their conclusions (my opinions here are my own), but to me they show Google's strategy with the struggling Android Wear platform is deeply misguided.

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Polar M600 smartwatch to get Android Wear 2.0, new swimming metrics, and battery improvements this spring

The Polar M600, which was announced in August of 2016, is on the list of smartwatches slated to get the Android Wear 2.0 update. But there's more to look forward to when the update rolls if you own the GPS fitness watch or were planning on buying it.

Polar has announced that the M600 will be getting Android Wear 2.0, including the Google Assistant, more customizable watch faces, and integrated Google Play Store. The update also improves the battery life to 36 hours, a nice upgrade from the 24 hours that were quoted at launch, especially for those who use more of the sporty and battery-draining features of the M600.

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Android 7.0 Nougat starts rolling out to the NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet

NVIDIA is on fire this year. Not only did the company release new SHIELD TV boxes, it also quickly updated them to Android 7.0 Nougat and upgraded the older SHIELD TV as well, then said it would bring the same update to the SHIELD Tablet, and here we are: promise fulfilled.

SHIELD Experience 5.0 will start to roll to NVIDIA Tablets today and will be staged over the next few days to make sure no issues arise. It brings Android 7.0 with multi-window support and quick switch between apps by double tapping the Overview button, bundled notifications and quick reply, better notification management, better battery standby through doze, Unicode 9 emojis, customizable Quick Settings tiles, and plenty of improvements under the hood like a new JIT compiler for faster app and system updates, and more.

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The new LG watches show the time when they're booting up

By now, you must know a lot about the new LG Style and Sport watches and all that they can and can't do. What you don't know is a little added functionality that's just handy to have, even if it won't have that much impact on your daily use.

When booting up, the new LG watches show the time on top of the spinning and expanding colorful circles animation for Android Wear. The animation only lasts a few seconds and you probably don't reboot your watch often enough to care, or you're not impatient to need to know the exact time this very second without being able to wait until the watch has fully booted, but it's a nice touch.

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[Update: OTA resuming] Sony begins rolling out Android 7.0 Nougat OTA to the Xperia Z5, Z3+, Z4 Tablet

The Xperia Z5 series (Z5, Z5 Compact, and Z5 Premium) was on the list of devices that Sony promised to bring Android 7.0 Nougat to. After releasing the update to the more recent X Performance and XZ, then the X and X Compact, Sony is now ready to bring Nougat 7.0 to the Z5.

The OTA has started rolling out to some Xperia Z5 and Xperia Z5 Premium users and will probably expand to the Z5 Compact soon. It's a large download at more than 1.2GB, and it should up your phone's software to version 32.3.A.0.372.

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T-Mobile is rolling out Feb. 2017 security patches to the Galaxy S4 and Tab 3, their first updates since 2015

The Galaxy S4, in its day, was a pretty capable smartphone. However, with its fourth birthday fast approaching, its update period has long since passed. No matter to T-Mobile, though; the company has just pushed the latest February 2017 security patches to it and the older Galaxy Tab 3... but they're still on Android 4.4 KitKat.

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Verizon announces exclusive Wear24 Android Wear watch, $299 with new two-year activation

Google's premiere devices for Android Wear 2.0, the LG Watch Style and Sport, had details leaked well before the official announcement today. By contrast, Verizon's announcement comes as something of a surprise. In a blog post discussing how Verizon will offer the LG Watch Sport, the company also announced its own exclusive 'Wear24' smartwatch.

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LG Watch Sport: First impressions of the most feature-packed Android Wear device yet

Nearly two years after the original Android Wear announcement, Google is officially bringing version 2.0 to market. While there have been developer previews running on the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition and Huawei Watch, two new watches from LG will be the true standard bearers for the final release. Richard did the honors of discussing the LG Watch Style, which features a low-profile design. In this post, I'll be taking a look at its incredibly feature-packed big brother, the LG Watch Sport.

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Android Pay for Wear smartwatches doesn't work if your phone has an unlocked bootloader

After confirming with Google, we've learned that Android Pay for Android Wear will not function if your paired smartphone has an unlocked bootloader. This is not surprising, but it is disappointing nonetheless. This is despite the fact that we know the actual Wear app runs totally independently on the smartwatch, with the phone at most acting as a data pipe over Bluetooth. But the phone is integral in the actual setup process for Pay, and we suspect this may be where the limitation comes into play.

If you have an unlocked bootloader, the Android Pay app on your phone won't even let you add a card, and setup will fail, notifying you that your device is unsecured.

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Android Wear 2.0 should greatly increase the speed of voice commands and transcription

One of the major features announced as part of Android Wear 2.0 at Google I/O last year was standalone apps. Similar to Apple's "native" apps introduced in WatchOS 2, Android Wear 2.0 can allow an application to run independently on the smartwatch itself - no tethered phone required. Not only that, but Google itself is utilizing the feature right out of the gate to the great benefit of one of the core experiences on Wear, Google Assistant, in the form of voice commands and transcription performance.

On 1.x versions of Android Wear, your smartwatch captured the audio of your voice query and then sent it back to the smartphone, which then sent it up to the cloud for processing and pulled back down the final result, which then was returned to the smartwatch.

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