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Sony’s Concept for Android Nougat firmware now available on Xperia X in Europe

Sony has been toying with a different take on Android for the last year. The company calls it the "Concept for Android" program, and it gives Sony a place to test out new features for its phones with a cleaner build of Android. It's only available on select phones in certain markets, but another one is being added to the list today. The Xperia X in Europe can now download the latest Concept for Android.

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Hands-on with Android Nougat's seamless update on the Pixel

One of the features buried in Android N while it was still a Developer Preview was seamless update. Just like Chromebooks, Android devices would be able to download new OTAs in the background, install them while they're still running, and only switch to the updated software after a reboot. We later learned that existing Nexus devices would not benefit from the option since they didn't have the partitioning necessary to manage the technical feat of having two firmwares installed at the same time, even if temporarily.

So in order to see seamless update in action — or not see them, that's the goal really — we had to wait until the Pixel shipped, since it's the first phone to support them out of the box, and until there was an OTA update for it.

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Open GApps launches its own app for quick and easy Google Apps package downloads [APK Download]

If you're involved in the world of custom ROMs, there's little chance you haven't heard of the Open GApps Project. As of late, Open GApps has been the go-to site for downloading Google Apps packages. It's not hard to understand why; the site is pretty and easy to use, and the packages, which come in nine sizes and variations, are always up to date. Now, the guys behind Open GApps have taken the stuff that makes their site so great and infused it into a new Android app.

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LG starts rolling out Android Nougat update for the G5 in South Korea, other markets to follow

Mark it down, everyone: LG is the second OEM to start the Nougat rollout to its early 2016 phone, the G5. Seeing as the V20 launched with 7.0, LG already had a head start on the update wars this year. The catch here for most of us reading this is that the update is starting in South Korea. The claim is that the rest of the world will see it in the "coming weeks."

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[Update: Official] Samsung's Galaxy Beta Program will allow the S7 and S7 edge to beta test Nougat, starting November 9th

Late last week, an eagle-eyed XDA user and Galaxy S7 edge owner noticed an app in the Galaxy Apps store entitled "Galaxy beta program." Not unexpectedly, many owners of Galaxy S7-series phones, myself included, got excited. Now, thanks to a major oversight on Samsung's part, we've got a ton of information about Samsung's upcoming Galaxy Beta Program.

Starting November 9th, select Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge models in the United States, United Kingdom, South Korea, and China will be permitted to enroll in the Galaxy Beta Program. This program will allow participants to try out Android 7.0 Nougat, in hopes that they'll provide feedback helpful to engineers.

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Android 7.1 feature spotlight: A closer look at seamless updates, partition changes, and new fastboot commands

During the I/O 2016 Keynote presentation, and again at the October 4th Pixel announcement, Google made brief references to newly added support for seamless updates in Nougat. To make this work, many changes had to be made to the structure of Android and its assorted system partitions. As a result, there have also been some changes to the fastboot utility many of us use when new factory images become available. This post covers a few of the technical details and also demonstrates some of the ways to use the new features.

How it works

Seamless updates are accomplished by creating a second set of logical partitions in device storage.

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November's Nexus/Pixel factory images and OTA files are now available for download [Update]

Google's monthly Android patches are live, and it's a momentous occasion this time. This is the first cycle that the Pixel and Pixel XL are included in the lineup. In addition to the security patches, which can be read about in the security bulletin, this update should enable Daydream VR support on the Pixel phones. You can either wait for the update, or do it manually.

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Android platform distribution, November 2016: Nougat shows up, Marshmallow surges to 24%

Android platform distributions for the first week of November are up, and Nougat has appeared... with 0.3% of the pie. But it's there! The only other really noteworthy change came from Marshmallow, which surged 5.3 points to 24% of total devices. As such, it seems likely that Marshmallow will unseat KitKat as the most common version of the Android platform next month, at least if we're counting by API level. If you're counting by whole-digit version, Lollipop is in the lead, and has been for some time.

But KitKat has held this position of dominance for, well, a really long time (probably around two years).

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Android Auto v2.0 is rolling out with on-phone mode [APK Download]

Google announced it would be making Android Auto available directly on your phone's screen a while back, but it didn't offer any time frame. It was starting to look like it was never happening, but lo and behold, Android Auto on phones is now rolling out. It's part of the Android Auto v2.0 app, and we've got the APK ready for you.

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Redditors find partial screenshot functionality is hidden in Android Nougat's code

Screenshots are great for sharing something funny with a friend, but it'd be so much easier if we could do that without having to crop the original shot first. Some Redditors discovered over the weekend that partial screenshot functionality is currently hidden in Android Nougat, and can be turned on via the source code and then used with either the normal screenshot buttons or a physical keyboard.

A commit in Nougat reveals the code, which sees 'a partial screenshot function in TakeScreenshotService'. /u/Maxr1998 and @MrWasdennnoch were able to modify TakeScreenshotService to turn it on (see YouTube video below), while /u/vyashole, using the modified code, used a keyboard with an OTG connector to take screenshots, using the combination CTRL+META+SHIFT+S to take a partial screenshot.

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