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Android O feature spotlight: VolumeShaper lets audio apps perform cross fades, fade-outs, and more

Android has a long and complicated history with audio output, but Google has been improving audio on Android with higher quality sound and lower latency. In Android O, developers will have a new tool to perform audio transitions and effects.

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Google's Dave Burke: The first rule of Fuchsia is you don't talk about Fuchsia

People have been buzzing about Google's Fuchsia project, an open source operating system that popped up on GitHub a few months ago. Some have even speculated that Fuchsia could be a replacement for Android down the road. Someone brought this up at the Android Fireside Chat, and VP of engineering for Android Dave Burke replied by basically not talking about Fuchsia.

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Graphics drivers can be updated from the Play Store in Android O

A pretty nifty new feature was talked about at last night's Android Fireside Chat. In addition to the other O features and the rest of the announcements at I/O, it was revealed that we'll soon be able to update our graphics drivers through the Play Store. This is a feature that is presumably only going to be present in O. There's no word yet on the specifics as to how that might work, or which OEMs or chipset manufacturers might be interested in taking advantage of it, but as of yesterday we know it's coming.

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The current Google Pixel/Pixel XL will support Project Treble, possibly meaning longer support

There are a few reasons why your phone or tablet stops getting Android updates. One reason could be that the maker of your device's processor (e.g. Qualcomm or MediaTek) never updated the drivers for newer versions of Android. This is why no phones or tablets with the Snapdragon 800/801 chip ever officially received Android 7.0 Nougat, including the Nexus 5.

Google announced Project Treble a week ago, which aims to solve this particular problem by separating the Android OS from the 'Vendor interface' (the part with all the low-level drivers and binary blobs). The vendor interface under Project Treble is also designed to be forwards-compatible, meaning that it shouldn't have to be updated for every Android update, in theory.

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Android O feature spotlight: Apps can finally capture the mouse pointer

Android has never really been designed for use on desktop or laptop PCs, but various ports like Android x86 and Remix OS have appeared over the years. Now that Android apps can run on Chromebooks, perhaps Google thought it was finally time to implement pointer capture support in Android.

Starting with Android O, apps can capture a device's mouse pointer using the new requestPointerCapture method.

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Android O Developer Preview 2 gets a small bump to OPP2.170420.019, fixes Android Pay but isn't installing on many Nexus devices [Update]

Android O's second developer preview was only released yesterday, but Google has already released an update for it. We're getting bombarded with tips from readers with Nexus and Pixel devices alike. This update reportedly somewhat fixes Android Pay, which did not open at all on yesterday's version. However, it appears that Nexus devices are having trouble updating.

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Android O Dev Preview 2 swaps around WiFi and cellular status icons for some reason

Google is always making little tweaks to the UI during the developer previews, but there's usually a reason. The new Android O preview inexplicably swaps the cellular and WiFi indicators around in the status bar. It's very weird to see.

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How Google plans to tackle power consumption even more aggressively in Android

Yesterday at I/O Google had an interesting talk called Background Check and Other Insights into the Android Operating System Framework. It's a long name, but really it's about improving battery life in Android. It went on at great length as to how, exactly, the team plans on doing that, and it's quite worth a watch. We have the video here, but if you don't have the half-hour to check it out, then you are welcome to read below.

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Android Studio 3.0 brings Kotlin support and a ton of new debugging tools

Android Studio 3.0 seems to be living up to that major version change the 3.0 number implies. There are many useful new tools for developers, especially when it comes to improving and easing the burden of debugging. There are also some changes that will require advanced preparation to keep your apps and workflow functioning before things break. We have many things to cover, so let's dive in.

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Of course there is already a Change.org petition for Google to bring back the old cat emoji in Android O

As you may know, Android O changes the entire set of system emojis, turning the famous 'blob' faces into more generic circles. However, a lesser known casualty of this change was the cat emoji - which has also been radically changed. Someone has started a petition on Change.org to bring back the old cat, which is currently sitting at 153 signatures.

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