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Android O feature spotlight: More natural movement with physics-based animations

Animations in apps can often be jerky or unrealistic, but in Android O Google plans to give developers tools to make animations buttery smooth and natural with the power of physics. It should also be much simpler to make animations with this system.

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MediaTek launches a new chipset for Google Assistant and Android Things

MediaTek has just announced a new chipset for two of Google's favorite recent projects: Google Assistant and Android Things. The descriptively named MT8516 is a 64-bit ARM platform that includes wireless radios and is designed specifically for voice assistants applications. It looks like Google has one more hardware partner behind Intel and Qualcomm for its future IoT plans.

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The emoji support library in Android O means your phone won't need OS updates for new emoji anymore

One of the more annoying aspects of owning a smartphone on a not fully-updated version of Android can be emoji. Not how they look, but which ones your device supports. If you're running an older OS version, you probably don't have the latest Unicode revision of the emoji character library, and that can lead to the infamous blank square issue.

With Android O, Google is going to solve this problem, even if in a less-than-ideal way.

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Android O feature spotlight: Night Light gets a slider to control how intense you want it to be

Night Light made its formal debut on Android 7.1 Nougat not long ago, but that doesn't mean that it can't be improved upon. The second Android O developer preview has added a slider that allows you to control the intensity of Night Light, just in case you found the default to be too yellow.

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[Update: Factory images and OTA files] Android beta registration is back, O Dev Preview 2 rolling out now

The beta program is now live! Cruise on over here to check it out, if you'd like to register for the program. Only a few Nexus and Pixel devices are compatible with the service, but now you can whet your Android O whistle in a slightly more stable way.

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Android O feature spotlight: Get quick access to an app's widgets by long-pressing the icon

Google began introducing long-press actions for icons in Android 7.1—currently, a long-press in Pixel Launcher can display app shortcuts (previously known as launcher shortcuts). You get more in Android O DP2. We already knew about the previously reported notification dots, but there are also widget links.

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Google launches new vitals tools in the Play Console Dashboard to find and solve problems

In one more slice of I/O developer news, Google has launched another set of tools for developers using its Console Dashboard for apps on Google Play. The new tool automatically analyzes app reports to show developers pertinent info about app issues. This is the 2nd big feature about making app performance and bug fixing easier for developers after the new visual profiler tools in the latest preview of Android Studio.

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Android O feature spotlight: Quick settings are now grayscale, get some other small tweaks

We've had the same dark/teal color combo in the notification panel for years now with few complaints, but someone at Google decided it was time to change things up a bit. Android O's second developer preview has made the quick settings' theme grayscale, and rearranged/redesigned some smaller aspects of the notification panel in general.

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Everything that's been announced at Google I/O 2017 so far (continuously updated)

Google I/O 2017 is in full swing, and we're about halfway through the first day as I write this post. Even so, we've already had dozens of stories come out of Google's big developer conference, and we want to make sure you're able to find all of our coverage in one place. Google Home, Photos, Assistant, Android O, Daydream - all saw major announcements today, and we're just getting started. I'll break it down for you. I've bolded what I think are some of the more important stories out of I/O today.

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Android O feature spotlight: Pixel Launcher lets you select icon shapes [Update]

We've all gotten used to the consistent round icons on the Pixel Launcher, and a surprising number of developers have even gotten on board with round icons. Android O brings more choice to the icons, but keeps the consistency. There's a new icon shape selection in the launcher settings as of the second O developer preview.

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