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The Pixel and Pixel XL are guaranteed Android version updates for at least 2 years

Updates are still a huge pain point for many Android OEMs, but Google's usually been okay with them. Historically, devices with the Nexus nameplate have received around two years' worth of updates; for instance, the LG-made Nexus 5, which was released in late 2013, is stuck (officially) on Marshmallow, which was released in late 2015. That trend seems to be continuing with the Pixel phones.

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Android 7.1 feature spotlight: The notification panel now has room for an extra Quick Settings tile and easier access to Settings

The Android 7.1 Nougat Developer Preview 1 just came out for the Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, and Pixel C, and we're already seeing quite a few improvements over 7.0 Nougat. Some of the most noticeable changes are in the notification panel; not only are there now six mini Quick Settings toggles, but Settings is easier to get to.

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Android 7.1 feature spotlight: Nexus devices and Pixel C get a restart option in the power menu

People have been asking Google for years to put a restart button into the power menu of Nexus devices. It's a feature most OEMs have been putting on their phones and tablets since the beginning. After first getting a good hint the restart option would appear on the Pixel phones, and actually seeing it appear in a shipping version, many people were left wondering if it would make the transition to older Nexus devices (at least those receiving Android 7.1). The answer appears to be an emphatic yes.

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Android 7.1 Developer Preview 1 (NPF10C) is now available for the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, and Pixel C

Google promised a developer preview of Android 7.1 before the end of the month, and here it is sooner than you might have expected. Android 7.1 ships on the Pixel, but now you can try it on the Nexus 5X, 6P, and Pixel C. If you want in, head to the Android beta program page.

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Verizon's Pixel phones will get a small update to build NDE63P tomorrow

Google's Pixel smartphones have just begun shipping in most countries (some lucky Aussies got them last week), but Verizon, a carrier notorious for slow updates, will be pushing an update with build number NDE63P out to their Pixels tomorrow. Impressive.

The update is so small that the changelogs for both the Pixel and Pixel XL only have five words: "This update improves Wi-Fi connectivity." It's almost definitely just a fix for a small bug that Google caught before the public release of the phones. It's likely that phones from the Google Store will also receive this update, if they don't ship with it already.

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AT&T updates the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 to Android 6.0 Marshmallow, adds NumberSync support

The first-generation Galaxy Tab S hails from a time when Samsung was still using swipe-based fingerprint scanners - yeah, it's that old. Just look at that stock wallpaper; Galaxy S5 flashbacks, anyone? Around three weeks ago, Verizon updated its 10.5" Tab S to Marshmallow, and now AT&T is doing the same. The Death Star is also throwing in support for NumberSync.

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Google's smartwatches may arrive in Q1 2017, will run Android Wear 2.0

Android Wear hasn't received much love in the past few months. The first major update, Android Wear 2.0, was announced back in May. Two months later, we revealed the first leaks of Google's own smartwatches, set to debut with the new update. Although developer previews for 2.0 are still arriving, the update itself has been pushed back to 2017, and multiple companies won't release any new AW devices this year.

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AndroidN-ify Xposed module brings Google Assistant to Marshmallow devices

Bless you, Xposed Framework. Thou art the last refuge of power users whose hardware has been forsaken by manufacturer and ROM developer alike. The root-enabled tool has a new module that back-ports a bunch of Android Nougat features to earlier versions of the OS. It's called AndroidN-ify, and the latest update includes a tweak that exposes Google's fancy new voice-controlled Assistant search tool to users on Android 6.0. An earlier build.prop tweak allowed Android 7.0 users to try Assistant on non-Pixel phones, which won't be officially supported when the new hardware launches.

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Critical vulnerability Pork Explosion revealed by jcase, cripples security on some phones

Security has been a hot topic on Android for many years, particularly as smartphones take on increasingly significant roles both at home and at work. A single device acts as your main form of communication, contains personal photos and confidential documents, and may even have access to your finances. Google and other companies have made significant investments in time and money to ensure these devices are very hard to break into. However, a vulnerability was recently discovered in some phones that compromises important security measures and opens devices up to various types of attacks. The worst part is that it was created intentionally by a manufacturing partner contracted to build the phones, and the OEMs that designed the phone had no idea.

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Google Announces the Android 7.1 developer preview will start later this month, final release expected in December

There was a great deal of consternation earlier this month when it was revealed the Pixel phones would ship with Android 7.1, but Nexus phones were going to lag behind. Today, there's a little less reason to be upset with the announcement of the Android 7.1 developer preview. It's coming later this month, but not to all the same devices we saw in the last preview.

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