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Fossil Q Marshal and Q Wander review: The surest sign yet that Android Wear is on the ropes

Everyone was intrigued when Fossil announced it would make Android Wear devices. After all, it makes "real" watches, so maybe its smartwatches would be a cut above. The Q Founder was an okay smartwatch for its time. It was a little big, but it looked nice and had a fast Intel SoC. Now, Fossil is back with the Q Marshal and Q Wander. These smartwatches are some of the first to have the wearable-focused Snapdragon 2100 chip, but is that enough to make them a good purchase? Sadly, not really.

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Latest Nova Launcher 5.0 beta adds Pixel-style launcher app shortcuts and weather in the search bar

Launcher app shortcuts, those neat little pop-ups for compatible apps that allow quick access to deeper app functions, are currently restricted to Android 7.1 on the Pixel phones and dev previews. As for everyone else, the tireless developer of Nova Launcher has you covered. Version 5.0 still isn't up in the public Play Store, but the beta version has been adding bits and pieces of Pixel Launcher functionality. The latest update includes the much-celebrated launcher app shortcuts.

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InBrief
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NVIDIA rolling out Shield Android TV upgrade 3.3 with improved audio, updated Vulkan API, and more

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PlayStation Vue expands to Android TV today, PC and Mac web support coming soon

Sony just announced today that its PlayStation Vue streaming service is coming to Android TV. If you do not know what Vue is, it might just seem like another streaming option. It is actually more akin to Dish's Sling TV with live TV channels, sports networks, and HBO and Showtime across a variety of price tiers. Additionally, the "PlayStation" moniker might give the impression of requiring Sony's PlayStation 4 game console — it actually doesn't. For all of the cord cutters out there, this is just another good option in a growing market.

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AOSP changelogs posted for the Pixel versions of Android 7.1 Nougat

Android 7.1 is upon us – at least it is if you count the oddball mix-and-match of having an "official" version of 7.1 on Pixel phones and a "developer preview" for a few other Nexus devices. Now that the Pixels are out, source code has also been released for Android 7.1.0 on AOSP. It comes as little surprise that we don't have an official release of the 7.1.1 source code that went out to Nexus devices since they are still considered developer previews, but they're probably not terribly different. So now it's time to dig through for some interesting and unusual hints about what unusual changes have been made in this version that we didn't already know about.

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IDC: Smartwatch sales absolutely tanked in Q3 2016

According to the IDC, sales of smartwatches globally declined an absolutely catastrophic 51.6% in the third quarter of this year versus the same time frame in 2015. While there are several mitigating factors at play, this is even more staggering than the numbers from the previous quarter, in which sales dropped only 32% ("only") year over year.

Unsurprisingly, the majority of the bleeding comes courtesy of Apple, which just released its newest Apple Watch devices. Those new watches were only on sale for two weeks in the third quarter, so their impact will likely be felt more in Q4, though I'm really not sure by how much.

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Android 7.1(.1) feature spotlight: System UI Tuner's Overview swipe-up split-screen gesture has disappeared

Split-screen multitasking on Nougat is great - I use it quite a lot when taking notes on my Nexus 6P in lectures or other talks that I may want to revisit later. However, one of the original multi-window features introduced back in the first N developer preview has disappeared in the 7.1.1 Beta; the swipe up split-screen gesture, found in System UI Tuner.

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Xiaomi Mi Box Review: the best deal around for Android TV... for what it's worth

There's a race to the bottom in the home entertainment world, created by the lower pricing for set-top boxes, the near ubiquity of built-in "smart" features for new televisions, and not least, Google's own low-priced efforts with the Chromecast. Compared to the rock-bottom pricing of gadgets like the Chromecast, the Amazon Fire TV Stick, and the market-dominating Roku boxes, Android TV is in a pickle. Stand-alone ATV units start at around $100, which is more expensive than the Roku you might buy (or the apps that come free with your TV), and less expensive than the home game console you might already have.

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PSA: Android 7.0 Nougat is NOT officially out for the Moto G4 and G4 Plus

Android Nougat is still relatively new, and very few phones have officially been upgraded to it thus far. However, in the past few hours, we've been seeing reports by multiple tech sites that the mid-range Moto G4 and G4 Plus are now receiving Android 7.0 Nougat in various countries; this is completely false. While the G4 Plus has received a Nougat soak test, the software has not officially been released in any region yet.

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Android 7.1 feature spotlight: Camera no longer freezes when screen is rotated

If you have used Google Camera before, you have probably noticed the lag when rotating your device. When auto-rotation is enabled on your phone, your entire display flips around - causing the Camera app to freeze for a second. This behavior has been fixed with the Google Camera application on Android 7.1.

Rotating the device from portrait to landscape results in the controls rotating, not the entire app UI. Flipping the phone 180 degrees in landscape causes a slight black screen, but only for a split second. I'm testing this on my Nexus 5X, so performance could vary from phone to phone.

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