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Android O feature spotlight: Dev options has new "Window animation scale" and "Force RTL layout direction" quick settings tiles

We've hit most of the high points in our quest to find all the important things in the new Android O beta. Still, there are some little tidbits that will interest developers and huge Android dorks (that's probably you). If you venture into the developer options, there are two new quick settings tiles to enable: "Window animation scale" and "Force RTL layout direction."

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Verizon's ASUS ZenPad Z8 tablet is receiving its Android 7.0 Nougat update

Android Oreo (yes, I'm calling it) is almost here, but not all devices are equal when it comes to update speed. In this case, both the manufacturer (ASUS) and carrier (Verizon) are well-known for updating devices rather slowly, which is probably why it's taken until nearly June of 2017 to update the ZenPad Z8 to Android 7.0 Nougat. But hey, it's here now.

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Android O feature spotlight: The proximity sensor can turn off ambient display

Ambient display on the Android O developer preview is doing some odd things right now. It's showing a minimal and less useful UI for some people, while others see something more akin to the old version. Whatever is going on there, we do know of one small (but useful) change to ambient display in O—covering the proximity sensor now puts the phone back to sleep.

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Verizon's LG K8 V is getting an update to Android 7.0 Nougat

Last year, LG unveiled the LG K8 budget phone, alongside the less-powerful K5. As you might be able to tell from the name, the LG K8 V is the Verizon variant, and now Big Red is pushing an Android 7.0 Nougat update to it.

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AT&T's LG Phoenix 2 has received Android 7.0 Nougat

Considering many high-end phones never get major Android updates, it's always nice to see budget phones continue to be supported. This time around, AT&T's sub-$100 LG Phoenix 2 phone is getting Android 7.0 Nougat.

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Editorial: Assistant is the key to Google's Android Automotive project

Google spent much of the I/O 2017 keynote talking about machine learning. In fact, we heard the phrase "AI first" as a description of Google's current plans. You probably have a little sliver of Google's AI capabilities in your pocket right now—Google Assistant. There's one place in particular Google really wants Assistant to live, and that's in your car.

Voice commands in general are extremely well-suited to the car, so it should come as no surprise that Google had two Assistant-infused "Android Automotive" demos on-hand at I/O—one from Volvo (above) and another from Audi. It's more clear now than ever that Google wants to be the smart interface for your car, and it plans to do it with Assistant.

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The 'Swipe for notifications' gesture now matches device orientation for Nexuses running Android O

Since the release of the Pixel last year it's been possible to swipe down on the rear-mounted fingerprint sensor to pull down the notification shade. It took a while, but the feature eventually came to the Nexus 5X, and finally the 6P. Ever since it came to the Nexuses, there was a bug wherein the axis wouldn't change along with the orientation. The release of the second developer preview for Android O (DP2) fixes this, and you can now logically swipe down from whichever side of the device is currently the top, depending on how you're holding it.

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Chrome now uses Android O's adaptive icons for home screen shortcuts

As you might know, Chrome for Android allows you to save websites on your home screen for easy access. The first Android O Developer Preview added support for a new 'Adaptive icons' feature, and Chrome now appears to be taking advantage of it for home screen shortcuts.

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[Update: O DP2 broke notification channels] Android O feature spotlight: Android tells you if an app is displaying a screen overlay

Being able to run apps that draw on top of other apps is a powerful feature of Android. Apps like Twilight take advantage of that to add a filter to the display, but other apps just show a floating UI element. However, this can also be a security concern. Android O offers a handy alert when an app is showing an overlay with a link to turn it off.

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Android O feature spotlight: The settings search now shows installed apps, results now have subtext

Google added a search function to the Android settings app back in Android 5.0, making it far easier for new users to find exactly what they need. Starting with Android O, the search results not only contain subtext to better explain the results, but apps are now included as well.

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