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Android O feature spotlight: Developers can specify timeouts for notifications

Some notifications are plain annoying. Fitbit keeps bugging me with how many steps I have to walk to overcome someone in a Workweek Hustle or who has just surpassed me in a Daily Showdown. Ebay wants to tell me that a watchlist item is nearing its end date. And the order of pharmacists in Lebanon app sends dozens of repetitive notifications to remind me of a certain conference happening on the night.

Some notifications are important to read regardless of how late you are to spot them, others like the ones I mentioned above are pointless after a certain time. For those notifications - and the developers who are kind and empathic enough to care about their users - Android O has one awesome feature: timeout.

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Android Nougat OTA rolling out to the Galaxy Note 5 and S6 edge+ on Sprint

Samsung promised that the S6, S6 edge, S6 edge+, and Note 5 would be getting Nougat in the first half of 2017 and it's starting to fulfill its end of the deal now. Galaxy Note 5 and S6 edge+ devices on Sprint are one of the first to benefit from an OTA update that takes their devices up to Android 7.0.

If you own one of these two late 2015 flagships on Sprint, check manually for an update as it might be waiting for you without having surfaced the notification. And regardless of which one of the two you have, you should expect the OTA to weigh around 1.3-1.4GB so you better be on a fast and unlimited connection to download it.

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'Muskie,' the larger of the next-generation Pixel phones, appears in AOSP

I know, I know - we won't do this every time they show up. But! We caught our first sighting of the larger next-generation Pixel phone in the AOSP gerrit, codename 'muskie.' You can see one such example we fished out below.

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Android O feature spotlight: Automatically enable WiFi when you're near a saved network

It's important to take advantage of WiFi in this era of capped data plans, but what if you forget to turn your WiFi on? That might happen much less often in Android O. There's a feature (not currently active) that can turn WiFi on for you when you get near a saved network.

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[Update: Any notification can be compacted] Android O feature spotlight: Persistent notifications are more compact

I hate persistent notifications. I like dropping down my notification shade and seeing nothing there, otherwise I get very OCD and feel like there's something that requires my attention, but then I see there really isn't because it's just a persistent notification. Even if you don't mind these and even if these always get pushed to the bottom of the list, they can clutter up your notification drop-down and make it more difficult to manage.

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Google posts 7.1.2 changelog, adds battery usage alerts and fixes serious bugs on Pixel and Nexus devices

Android 7.1.2 was officially released today, and the rollout has started for Nexus and Pixel devices (unless you have a Nexus 6 or 9). Besides the minor new features, the release also fixes several long-known problems.

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Google announces PAX, a cross-licensing program to stop patent litigation among Android OEMs

Google announced the existence of a new program known as PAX today, which apparently stands for Android Networked Cross-License Agreement (someone should tell Google how acronyms work). PAX is intended to reduce litigation between Android device makers by granting royalty-free licenses to any Android-related patents held by its members to all other members.

Google, Samsung, LG, HTC, Foxconn, HMD Global, Coolpad, BQ, and Allview are the founding members, which Google claims collectively control over 230,000 patents globally. Membership in PAX is free and open to any company in the business of making Android stuff. There's no obligation for Android OEMs to join, either.

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Invites are going out to the Waze Beta Community to begin testing on Android Auto

Android Auto doesn't boast new features all that often, which is part of the reason many people became excited when a roadmap including some of the most requested improvements was announced at last year's Google I/O event. One particular item, Waze integration, had fans of the navigation app ready to sing. However, the months wore on and news about the pairing dried up. That is until today. Members of the Waze Beta Community have been receiving emails asking if they would like to participate in testing out the new capabilities.

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Android 7.1.2 images and OTA files are now live for Pixel and Nexus devices

After just posting the April security patch builds based on Android 7.1.1 moments ago, Google has now published Android 7.1.2 builds for Pixel and Nexus devices. You can find the images here and the OTAs here. The Nexus Player and Pixel C started to receive 7.1.2 just days ago.

OTAs for the Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel C, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, and Nexus Player are live.

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Android O feature spotlight: Android System is already using notification channels

There are some cool things you can play around with in the Android O preview, but some of the most useful features won't be available until developers start implementing them. For instance, the new notification channel feature. As it turns out, Google has already implemented notification channels in the Android System. That means you can get a feel for how it'll work.

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