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Android Auto v2.5 prepares to offer navigation cards based on your calendar appointments [APK Teardown]

A fresh update to the Android Auto app began rolling out yesterday, but it doesn't appear to include any notable changes to the interface on either the phone or in the car. But that doesn't mean this update is just for bug fixes, there isn't something interesting floating around inside the apk that can only be seen through the lens of a teardown. We can look forward to at least one important new feature: Auto will soon get to use our calendar appointments to suggest directions when we're on the way to a destination. As always, grab the apk from the link at the bottom if you don't have it on your phone already.

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Bluetooth battery level indicators could be coming to stock Android soon

Over the years, one of the most annoying feature omissions in stock Android has been a battery indicator for connected Bluetooth devices. There is a public standard for reporting battery life from (supported) Bluetooth devices, but stock Android just doesn't use it. A few OEMs have implemented it themselves in the last few years, like Samsung and LG, but not Google.

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[Update: Now on Google Play] Android O feature spotlight: The Google Clock app gets a makeover in v5.1

With each new version of Android, Google tends to make small tweaks to some of its default apps. Such changes are often nothing more than superficial, a way of giving the new OS release a fresh feel. We're now on the third Android O Developer Preview, and the official clock app has been treated to a visual refresh, its first meaningful update since February.

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Chrome on Android O will give each website its own notification channel

While this isn't live now in any version of Chrome from stable to Canary, work is underway to improve the way notifications through the app that originate from websites are handled on Android O by giving them individual channels.

Currently, with all Chrome versions (59 stable to 62 Canary), the app offers 5 different notification channels: Browser, Downloads, Incognito, Media, and Sites. These let you assign different importance levels and choose how each type of notification is handled by the system. But the "Sites" channel treats all websites equally, so you can't give a low importance to facebook.com and a high importance to some other site, or vice versa.

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[Deal Alert] LG Watch Style on sale for $139.99 ($110 off) via eBay

Google and LG teamed up on a pair of smartwatches to show off Android Wear 2.0, one of which had all the things and the other had very few things. That other watch is the LG Watch Style, which still sells for $249 on the Google Store. That's way too much, but it's on sale for a much more reasonable $139.99 on eBay right now.

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Android O feature spotlight: Google's "grinning face with smiling eyes" emoji no longer looks constipated

Different types of emoji, trivial as they may seem, can manufacture lots of controversy. Just look at how many votes and comments our blobmoji vs O-moji poll generated, or the fact that it caused a Change.org petition to be created. However, I think we can all agree that the "grinning face with smiling eyes" emoji that Google used in the first three Android O developer previews looked pretty stupid; it didn't so much look like a grin as it did constipated. Thankfully, Android O DP4 has fixed this terrible issue.

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[Update: APK download] Waze for Android Auto is out of private beta and available today

The private beta for Waze on Android Auto rolled out early last month, and two months of testing seem to have been enough. The feature once promised at I/O 2016 is now here. According to a blog post, today Waze will be available for everyone on Android Auto. Avoiding bad traffic just became that much easier.

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Android O feature spotlight: Text-to-speech has an experimental always-on language detection option

Google's Text-to-speech (TTS) is an accessibility feature that's long been a part of Android. It's a screen reader that can read aloud anything currently on display, a vital utility for users who are blind or partially-sighted. TTS isn't updated very often, but when it is it's usually to add something meaningful. The last update added support for new languages, as well as pronunciation and intonation improvements. We've now been made aware that there's also an experimental always-on language detection switch, available to those using Android O.

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Android O feature spotlight: System apps (and apps without icons) get a new icon

Icons can either make an operating system look very modern or very dated. You could have the most state-of-the-art OS, but the wrong icon will make that OS seem like it's straight out of 1995. Google knows this, and so it's updated all of its system apps and iconless apps to show a new, contemporary-looking icon.

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