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BlackBerry files two patent infringement lawsuits against BLU

BlackBerry's phone sales have been on the decline for years, and its switch to Android may have been too little too late. The company's first Android phone, the PRIV, has not made a significant impact on the market. BlackBerry CEO John Chen made an unusual and potentially troubling statement on the company's May earnings call. He said he was in "patent licensing mode." That means lawsuits, and one of the first targets is budget phone maker BLU.

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Amazon wants to sell a cheaper music subscription service that will only work on its Echo devices

Music subscriptions are all the rage now - most people I know use either Spotify or the services offered by Google and Apple. Not mentioned as much is, erm, Amazon, and its oft-forgotten Music service that acts as a locker for music purchased on and through Amazon. According to Recode, the company plans to reinvent it by introducing two music streaming services with different aims.

The first is similar to what you'd expect: $10 a month for all-you-can-stream music, akin to Spotify or other offerings. The other option Amazon is considering is more unusual. This would only work through Amazon's Echo hardware, so not on phones, tablets, or the web, and cost $4 or $5 a month.

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Google Assistant can answer your voice messages in Allo

We've covered a lot of what Google Allo can do as a messaging application, but we haven't yet scratched the surface of one of its most interesting features: Assistant. It lives as a standalone chat, but also as a bot ready to answer any question inside your other conversations (not the Incognito ones though, as we've said before) by just mentioning @google.

Since Assistant is an evolution of Google Now / OK Google commands, and since Allo can send voice messages, there's a nifty feature you can easily deduce from the combination of the two: Assistant will interpret your voice messages in Allo. It's as cool as you might guess.

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28 new and notable (and 1 WTF) Android apps from the last 2 weeks (8/9/16 - 8/22/16)

Welcome to the roundup of the best new Android applications, games, and live wallpapers that went live in the Play Store or were spotted by us in the previous 2 weeks or so.

Please wait for this page to load in full in order to see the widgets, which include ratings and pricing info.

Looking for the previous roundup editions? Find them here.

Featured App

AccuBattery

Today's roundup is presented by AccuBattery from Digibites. Barring any accidents, the battery is the part of your phone that generally wears out the fastest, so it pays to keep an eye on its health.

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Kodi version 17 beta with new Estuary and Estouchy themes is now ready for download

Kodi version 17 is bringing a new look to the app that turns your Android device into a media center. Some of you may still recall the open source project by its old name, XBMC. Either way, the upcoming release has reached beta status. That makes now a good time to dive in if you can't wait to get what's coming next.

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Google is moving Android to a regular maintenance release schedule, will continue using developer previews

Google started the rollout of Android 7.0 Nougat today, but what about the next update? According to the Android developers blog, Google is working on moving Android to a regular maintenance update cycle over the next few quarters. The first Nougat maintenance update is already in process, and Google will make it available as a developer preview prior to release.

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Walgreens becomes first retailer to add their loyalty card via NFC to Android Pay

Walgreens has supported NFC payments for a number of years, even when other retailers were trying to fight it. They are taking it a step further by becoming the first retail store to support their loyalty card via NFC on Android Pay. There are many stores that support managing their loyalty/rewards cards in Android Pay, but Walgreens is notable for being the first to support their card via NFC.

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OxygenOS 3.1.0 Community Build now available for OnePlus X

The OnePlus X is a great little device for $250, with its borderline-flagship specs and small form factor. Although OnePlus has said they don't intend on making a direct successor to the X, at least they are still updating it. Starting today, OnePlus is making the Oxygen 3.1.0 Community Build (based on Android 6.0.1) available for the OnePlus X, just in time for Android 7.0.

If you're unfamiliar, OnePlus tends to release Community Builds of an update before the OTAs begin to roll out. The OxygenOS 3.1.0 build brings changes from Android 6.0.1, new icon packs for the launcher, a new wallpaper picker, and various Shelf UX improvements.

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Google Assistant feature spotlight: What a nice poo

Google Assistant seems... fun. Taken from a prerelease version of Allo. (And yes, this is what will happen if you send Google Assistant a poo emoji in Allo.)

Official comment from Senior VP of Android, Chrome, and Google Play Hiroshi Lockheimer.

Huge if true.

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Android 7.0 Nougat is rolling out to Nexus devices starting today

Today is the day we've all been waiting for since March when Google unexpectedly dropped the Android N developer preview on us. Android 7.0 Nougat, as it's now known, is officially done and rolling out to Nexus devices, the Pixel C, and the General Mobile 4G. There aren't any big surprises here—the final build is virtually identical to the last developer preview, but it should be more stable and it'll be on your phone or tablet very soon.

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