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NVIDIA SHIELD (2017) review: Still the king for a reason

NVIDIA's SHIELD Android TV console has been, since its launch in 2015, the only Android TV you really should be paying attention to. For 2017, it has received a very light hardware refresh. Even with the changes overall being minor, it is still the only Android TV device you should be paying attention to.

Now, many of the changes in the 2017 version of SHIELD came to the existing SHIELD console today via the 5.0 upgrade, including Android 7.0. The old model, too, will get Google Assistant, SmartThings support, and Amazon Instant Video. And this brings me to the second major point of our review: If you already have a SHIELD, there's no reason to replace it with this refreshed version.

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WhatsApp's notifications now work properly on Android 7.0 and 7.1 Nougat

WhatsApp Nougat users, the time has come, the day is here — well, it was here a couple of days ago, but it was the weekend and I was busy sweeping the floors of my new apartment, so I had to delay coverage... priorities y'know. Anyway, for all of you who have been lamenting the poor notification situation on Nougat, cried over the fact that you only see the most recent message making the whole "notification" thing completely useless, things are looking out.

In version 2.17.13 beta (grab it from APK Mirror), WhatsApp has properly implemented notifications on Android 7.0 and 7.1 Nougat devices.

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[Update: 2017 only for now] NVIDIA Experience Upgrade 5.0 brings Nougat, Amazon Video, and more to SHIELD TV

NVIDIA just released its new SHIELD set top-box with upgraded design and controllers and plenty of goodies including Android 7.0 Nougat. But for those of you who have the first SHIELD TV from 2015, there's another goodie in store: NVIDIA is releasing Experience Upgrade 5.0, a software update that brings a lot of what the new SHIELD has to your existing unit. I know this ruins your excuse for buying fresh gear, so you'll have to work harder to find a new one.

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An unknown LG Android Wear smartwatch passes through the FCC

LG has not launched an Android Wear device since the troubled LG Watch Urbane 2, but it appears to be prepping one now. A mysterious new LG watch has passed through the FCC with support for cellular connectivity. LG has requested confidentiality for the external device photos (of course), but there are a few details available in the reports.

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Samsung is now officially rolling Android 7.0 Nougat out to the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

Samsung isn't well-known in the Android community for delivering quick updates, but with the Galaxy S7-series of phones and Android 7.0 Nougat, the company hasn't done too poorly. Following a beta program that began in November, some models of the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge are now receiving official, non-beta builds of Nougat over the air.

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Android 7.1 is being developed for Chrome OS, adds in freeform mode and window resizing

'This is Chrome OS's year,' people say optimistically as they think for the gazillionth time about buying a Chromebook. Hell, I'm one of those people. Will it be 2017? Maybe. With the upcoming release of Samsung's new Chromebook Plus and Pro, and the wider release of Android apps on the Chrome OS stable channel, it's definitely possible. Now, more exciting news has come our way from Chrome Unboxed, in that Android 7.1 is being actively developed and tested for Chrome OS.

What does this actually mean? Basically, it means that the apps running on Chrome OS will gain features Android 7.1 has.

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Android Wear 2.0 is launching in early February

Google was supposed to release Android Wear 2.0 last fall, but there were... issues. Specifically, feedback for the developer preview was quite negative. Google decided to reassess and pushed the release to early 2017. After a few more dev previews, here we are. Google has notified developers that Wear 2.0 is coming in a few weeks, so they had better get their apps ready.

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Google will require OEMs to support Android's notification bundling and direct reply features

Google released a new version of its Compatibility Definition Document for Android earlier this week, and while most of the changes are very, very minor, one did stand out to me in the section on notifications. Specifically, Google has singled out manufacturers who in any way obstruct or remove Android's native notification actions, replies, settings access, and the bundling of notifications. The latest document forbids such practices, stating that OEMs must comply with Google's implementations of the features in AOSP. Here is the relevant section:

Handheld device implementations MUST support the behaviors of updating, removing, replying to, and bundling notifications as described in this section.

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Seems like the Nexus 6 Android 7.1.1 update brought with it some speakerphone echo

Nexus 6 owners had cause to rejoice a few days ago when Android 7.1.1 finally hit the beastly phone. It sat on 7.0 for quite a bit after its younger brethren received the update. However, now it seems that the celebration has come to a slight hiccup. It appears that the Shamu is suffering from a speakerphone echo bug. Yikes.

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Fossil's Android Wear watches removed from the Google Store

It looks like Google is working on spring cleaning a little early this year. After removing the remaining Huawei Watch models from the Google Store earlier today, all of Fossil's Android Wear watches are now gone. The company's lineup includes the Fossil Q Founder, Q Marshal, and Q Wonder.

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