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Android OS

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Developer Preview 4 of Android Things OS is now available

Google officially released Android Things OS last year as a developer preview. If you're not familiar with it, the OS is a lightweight version of Android that maintains support for popular Android developer tools and APIs, like Android Studio and Google Play Services. The developer preview has received a few updates since then, with the last one adding support for the Google Assistant SDK.

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Verizon axes LG Watch Sport, offers $100 credit for other watches to pre-orderers

When the LG Watch Sport was announced, Verizon was on the list of carriers that would sell it. However, it's been three months since then, and Verizon still hasn't made it available for sale, with nothing being shipped to pre-orderers. It turns out that the chunky device has been completely canceled for Big Red.

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NBC releases its app for Android TV

Last night the US cable network NBC released an app for streaming content to the Android TV platform. It's pretty similar to NBC's other Android app, but, you know, for Android TV. The UI has been reworked to look better on a larger-format display but, presumably, offers all the same content you expect.

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Asus begins pushing Android 7.1.1 update to ZenFone 3 Max

Asus didn't pop up much on our radar until a few years ago when the ZenFone 2 came in at a competitive price. The ZenFone 3 family hasn't been as popular, but there certainly are more of them. One variant of the ZenFone is the lucky winner of "first Nougat update," the ZenFone 3 Max (model ZC553KL).

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Android Auto is now on three new 2017+ Mercedes-Benz vehicles

Android Auto is becoming available on an increasing number of vehicles. Even if it's not as cool as the recently-announced 'Android Automotive,' it's still pretty nifty. Premium German marque Mercedes-Benz has just added support for Auto on three of its cars, starting from the 2017 model year.

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The T-Mobile LG Stylo 2 Plus is getting an Android 7.0 update, for real this time

The LG Stylo 2 Plus is a pretty standard budget phone, with a Snapdragon 430 processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 2,900mAh battery. The phone's standout feature is a large 5.7" display, with the low resolution of 720x1280 (again, because it's a budget phone). It shipped with Android 6.0, but now the T-Mobile model is getting a bump to 7.0 Nougat.

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Google is building full-on Android for the car with Volvo and Audi

Today Google has revealed more info on its new standalone Android platform for cars. Unlike Android Auto, which just casts info from your phone onto whatever software your vehicle maker has tossed together, the new system is based on Android and brings some of the same tools Android Auto had natively. Google revealed this initiative at last year's I/O, but there hasn't been much news apart from Chrysler's concept back at CES. Both Audi and Volvo will be making use of the new systems in future vehicles.

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Android O feature spotlight: SMS authentication process gets streamlined

With each new version of Android, we all look out for the big, front-facing changes that alter the way the OS looks or works in a big way. But for every major new feature, there are countless smaller ones behind the scenes that altogether add up to a better experience. One such change that seems to be heading our way with the upcoming release of Android O is an improved SMS authentication process for use by third party apps.

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[Update: Fixed in Google Maps Beta] Android Auto's Google Maps broken on Audi's 2017 A3s, Google and Audi are on the case

Anyone who might be considering a 2017 Audi A3 on the basis of it using Android Auto might want to reexamine their options. Apparently a large number of the cars are having difficulties with the compass in Android Auto being rotated 180 degrees while the phone is connected, which interferes with navigational operations. Navigation does function correctly when a phone is not connected, though.

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Google's "Project Treble" will modularize Android to make updates faster

Easily the most annoying aspect of using an Android phone (with the exception of Pixel/Nexus) is slow updates. Android 7.1 (which came out last year) currently sits at 0.5% marketshare, and brand new phones are still being released with 6.0 Marshmallow. Google is aiming to solve this with "Project Treble," which will modularize part of the Android OS to decrease the time OEMs spend updating their devices.

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