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Exclusives

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This is how Google's crazy new home button for Assistant on the 2016 Nexus phones animates

You've all been asking: "how is this crazy weird new home button with the little colored dots going to work?" Today, we finally have an answer for you. In animated GIF form. Because that's the best kind of answer. Before the GIF - a bit of background. At this point, it is our basic assumption that the reasoning behind the home button's rather radically colorful redesign is in order to promote Google Assistant (possibly via Now / On Tap functions), which has been teased by Google in the past using these four little colored dots.

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Exclusive: Dual-tab settings UI, "Night Light" mode, ambient display double-tap on 2016 Nexuses

Google will introduce a new layout for its settings apps on the upcoming 2016 Nexus phones to accommodate its new Google Support tool (which we previously showed you), a new way to activate the ambient display mode via double-tap, as well as a "Night Light" to tint the display red (turn off blue pixels) for easier evening viewing, we've learned from a trusted source. The new settings UI and the Night Light mode are pictured below. We do not have any visuals of the support tab itself, unfortunately, though as we said in our previous exclusive, we believe the Google Support app will allow for live screen sharing with customer support reps for owners of supported Nexus devices.

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Exclusive: Swipe fingerprint scanner to open notification shade gesture coming on new Nexuses

We've learned that Google plans to introduce a new gesture to open the notification shade using the fingerprint on its new Nexus phones, slated for release later this year. We have an animation of settings tip that shows how the feature works, sourced from one of said new Nexus phones, below. At this time, it is unclear to us when or if this feature will come to existing Nexus 5X and 6P devices, as they are the only other Nexuses with fingerprint scanners aside from the upcoming devices.

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Exclusive: Manual exposure control is coming back to Google's Camera app

One of the coolest additions to the camera in the Android 7.0 developer preview was an option to manually adjust the exposure in the camera app. It's not as if that's a groundbreaking feature - plenty of third-party apps and manufacturer skins offered the same thing - but it's nice to get it in stock. The manual exposure option has disappeared in some of the later preview builds, but there's good news: it's coming back.

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Exclusive: Future Camera update will add more photo grid options and a handy toggle

At the moment, the default Google camera app allows a staggering one option for a helpful photo grid: on or off. As happy as we are that it's there at all (if you're wondering, it's very good for getting a straight perspective and a balanced composition), we'd like to see some more options. And we'll get them sometime soon! We've managed to snag a preview of a future update for the APK, and while it's not exactly mind-blowing, it does add some very welcome tweaks to the grid.

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Exclusive: These could be Google's upcoming Android Wear smartwatches

As we reported last week, Google is in the process of building two Android Wear smartwatches. At the time, we were unable to show you the watches themselves. Today, that changes - what you see in the image above could be codename and "Swordfish" and "Angelfish," Google's two Assistant-enabled wearables that we believe will be released after the new Nexus phones.

Disclaimer: No matter the confidence level, there's always a chance product updates, features, and some or all details will be changed or cancelled altogether.
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Exclusive: Google is building two Android Wear smartwatches with Google Assistant integration

Speaking to Android Police, a reliable source has told us that Google is currently building two Android Wear devices - possibly Nexus-branded - for release some time after the latest Nexus phones are announced. One watch will be larger, sportier, and more fully-featured (LTE, GPS, heart rate), the other will be smaller and lack the aforementioned mobile data and GPS.

Disclaimer: No matter the confidence level, there's always a chance product updates, features, and some or all details will be changed or cancelled altogether. As with all rumors, nothing is 100% until it's officially announced.

We do not have possession of any APKs we can distribute or unreleased devices, so please don't ask for them.

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Exclusive: this is what the 2016 Nexus phones, Sailfish and Marlin, will look like

The moment you've all been waiting for, right? As you can see in the above image, Google's Nexus phones are taking on a decidedly cleaner design language for 2016, according to information we've received from a reliable source. The image you're seeing is not an actual press render, but our own recreation of the upcoming Nexus phones based on evidence from our source. So, let's do the rumor breakdown.

Confidence level

We give this rumor a confidence level of 8 out of 10. While we are very confident in the reliability of our source in this case, we are uncertain of the age and finality of particular details we received from that source.

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Exclusive: specs for "Marlin" - the larger of two upcoming HTC-built Nexus phones

You know about Google's smaller new Nexus phone, Sailfish, but what about Marlin? Everyone's keen to know what the bigger - and ostensibly better - Nexus phone this year holds, and we've got the goods. Well, some of them - enough to sate you until we learn more. Let's get the basic stuff out of the way, I know you're not interested in waiting.

Disclaimer: No matter the confidence level, there's always a chance product updates, features, and some or all details will be changed or cancelled altogether. As with all rumors, nothing is 100% until it's officially announced.
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Exclusive: Google is building a live support app with screen-sharing for Nexus devices

A long-standing gap in the Nexus device feature-set for "normal" buyers has been live on-device support. In the event you need help setting up your Nexus smartphone - a smartphone you bought on the internet, not a store - going through the online Google Support documentation or back and forth with a chat agent in the browser is not an ideal experience. Being able to share your screen with an agent who can see what's happening on your display is a lot easier for many people, and it helps support agents resolve issues more quickly by having direct visual access to a user's device.

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