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Android 7.1 feature spotlight: The new system update check denies you cathartic button mashing

We've all done it—a big OTA is rolling out and you want it right this minute. So, you open the OTA update checker in settings and mash the button a few times in an effort to will the update into existence on your phone. It never works, and as of Android 7.1, you can't even go through this pointless ritual anymore. There's a timeout between checks and no button.

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Android 7.1 feature spotlight: Smart Storage helps you make space by deleting old stuff

Even though most devices some with at least 32GB of space these days, there are still plenty of times you run low and need to clear out some junk. In the Android 7.1 dev preview, there's a new storage cleaner that makes it easy to find the old stuff without all that tedious digging around in file managers. It can even automate the process.

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Android 7.1 feature spotlight: App shortcuts are supported in the Google Now Launcher

There were some interesting features announced as part of the launch of Google's Pixel phones. While some are exclusives to the new handsets, others are a part of the new Android 7.1 Nougat. One of the headlining features for the new OS version is the App Shortcuts API, a way for apps to offer fast access to select screens and functions. If you've been looking forward to trying it out, the Google Now Launcher in combination with today's developer preview fully supports app shortcuts and there's already plenty of examples to try out.

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The Pixel and Pixel XL are guaranteed Android version updates for at least 2 years

Updates are still a huge pain point for many Android OEMs, but Google's usually been okay with them. Historically, devices with the Nexus nameplate have received around two years' worth of updates; for instance, the LG-made Nexus 5, which was released in late 2013, is stuck (officially) on Marshmallow, which was released in late 2015. That trend seems to be continuing with the Pixel phones.

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Android 7.1 feature spotlight: The notification panel now has room for an extra Quick Settings tile and easier access to Settings

The Android 7.1 Nougat Developer Preview 1 just came out for the Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, and Pixel C, and we're already seeing quite a few improvements over 7.0 Nougat. Some of the most noticeable changes are in the notification panel; not only are there now six mini Quick Settings toggles, but Settings is easier to get to.

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Android 7.1 feature spotlight: Nexus devices and Pixel C get a restart option in the power menu

People have been asking Google for years to put a restart button into the power menu of Nexus devices. It's a feature most OEMs have been putting on their phones and tablets since the beginning. After first getting a good hint the restart option would appear on the Pixel phones, and actually seeing it appear in a shipping version, many people were left wondering if it would make the transition to older Nexus devices (at least those receiving Android 7.1). The answer appears to be an emphatic yes.

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Android 7.1 Developer Preview 1 (NPF10C) is now available for the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, and Pixel C

Google promised a developer preview of Android 7.1 before the end of the month, and here it is sooner than you might have expected. Android 7.1 ships on the Pixel, but now you can try it on the Nexus 5X, 6P, and Pixel C. If you want in, head to the Android beta program page.

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Verizon's Pixel phones will get a small update to build NDE63P tomorrow

Google's Pixel smartphones have just begun shipping in most countries (some lucky Aussies got them last week), but Verizon, a carrier notorious for slow updates, will be pushing an update with build number NDE63P out to their Pixels tomorrow. Impressive.

The update is so small that the changelogs for both the Pixel and Pixel XL only have five words: "This update improves Wi-Fi connectivity." It's almost definitely just a fix for a small bug that Google caught before the public release of the phones. It's likely that phones from the Google Store will also receive this update, if they don't ship with it already.

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AT&T updates the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 to Android 6.0 Marshmallow, adds NumberSync support

The first-generation Galaxy Tab S hails from a time when Samsung was still using swipe-based fingerprint scanners - yeah, it's that old. Just look at that stock wallpaper; Galaxy S5 flashbacks, anyone? Around three weeks ago, Verizon updated its 10.5" Tab S to Marshmallow, and now AT&T is doing the same. The Death Star is also throwing in support for NumberSync.

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Google's smartwatches may arrive in Q1 2017, will run Android Wear 2.0

Android Wear hasn't received much love in the past few months. The first major update, Android Wear 2.0, was announced back in May. Two months later, we revealed the first leaks of Google's own smartwatches, set to debut with the new update. Although developer previews for 2.0 are still arriving, the update itself has been pushed back to 2017, and multiple companies won't release any new AW devices this year.

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