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[Update: more details] Android O feature spotlight: Notification Channels give more controls over notifications to users

Android has allowed blocking notifications from selected apps for a while now, but it was all-or-nothing. Android O aims to give users more control over what notifications they want to see, through the new Notification Channels API.

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LG G6 review: A breath of fresh air

If the G5 was the low watermark for LG's mobile division, you might think there was only really up to go for LG in 2017. The G6 can feel like a self-fulfilling prophecy that way: the narrative around the G5 was almost universally negative, and the idea that 2017 would yield a "comeback" product from LG seemed to become a given. After all, it was obvious what LG did wrong last year, so how could they not address these issues?

At the same time, we often find ourselves saying tech companies make a habit of poor product decisions year after year, so it's never quite a sure thing that a new gadget really will check the very-obvious-to-us boxes we've communally decided are so important.

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The Moto X Pure may receive Nougat soon, soak test notifications going out to owners

Motorola released the Moto X Pure two years ago, as the North American equivalent of the Moto X Style. It happened about a month before the release of Android 6.0 Marshmallow, and received the update about two months later. Motorola doesn't seem to care about fast updates these days, so it should be no surprise that the Moto X Pure is still waiting for Android 7.0/7.1 Nougat.

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Google posts Android O overview video for developers

Android O is in the wild now, and developers are already toiling to bring new features to their apps. We're still a long way from release, but there are many new features for developers to play around with in the meantime. Google has posted a quick video to give devs (and curious normals) an overview of what's new in Android O.

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You can now control your Wink-connected thermostats and lighting products from Google Home

When Google renamed Brillo to "Android Things" at the end of the last year, it also announced new partners for Google Home. Beside Hue and SmartThings, there would be Belkin WeMo, Honeywell, Wink, LiFX, and TP-Link. The first two are already live in the Home Control section of Google Home's Assistant settings, and the third should be available starting today.

Wink makes a home hub that works as a central control place and bridge between all of your connected gadgets. The Hub 2, which I reviewed a few months ago, has WiFi, Bluetooth, Z-Wave, Zigbee, and plenty of other protocols to communicate with many smart home products. As I discovered, it's also very easy to set up and one of the simplest ways to start building your connected smart home without feeling overwhelmed. As long as the product you choose is supported by Wink, there will be clear requirements, tutorials, and graphics for you.

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HTC will reveal its Snapdragon 835 flagship, the U, in April according to report

Watching HTC release phones is almost as frustrating as Google's current messenger app situation. After two years of incremental releases to the company's 'HTC One' lineup, many considered last year's HTC 10 to be a great phone (besides being rather expensive at launch). The company followed up this year with the HTC U Ultra and HTC U Play, neither of which has received positive reviews.

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Urbanears introduces Chromecast speakers with Bluetooth and Airplay, starting at $350

Scandinavian brand Urbanears is branching out of the headphones market to launch its first speakers: the Baggen and the Stammen. These are almost the same speaker made in two different sizes, wrapped in 360-deg fabric, and available in neutral colors like black, grey, and navy, but also interesting shades like light pink, dark green, and bold orange.

The reason we're talking about them is that they're connected speakers and come with plenty of integrations out of the box: Chromecast Built-in, Apple Airplay, and Spotify Connect.

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The Facebook app continues to grow in size with a new effects-laden camera and Stories

In continuing its crusade to bring Snapchat-like features to its repertoire of applications, Facebook has taken to its blog to announce some new features in the main app itself. Users will be able to use and share a variety of camera effects, 24-hour Stories, or send photos to specific friends with Direct.

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Truecaller 8 will add video calls from Google Duo, an SMS inbox, and payments in India

Truecaller had its first annual "Stay Ahead" event in India today and made plenty of announcements regarding its app and platform with partnerships across the board. The popular service, which first started as a way to help you identify unknown callers, is now spreading its wings beyond being your complementary phonebook and voice call app.

With Truecaller 8, the app can be your default SMS inbox, handling unknown senders, blocking spam messages and specific numbers, and integrating flash messaging for sending quick requests and bouts of information to your contacts, like your location or an emoji.

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Amazon to acquire Middle East online commerce site SOUQ.com

The news has been abuzz for a couple of days in the Middle Eastern region, but it has now been made official, press release and all: Amazon has reached an agreement to acquire SOUQ.com.

For those of you who don't live in the Middle East and haven't heard of SOUQ (which means "market" in Arabic), you can think of it as India's Flipkart maybe or well, Amazon, but serving a few local countries in the region: UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and also shipping to Bahrain, Oman, and Qatar. It has made a name for itself as one of the leading online retailers for shopping for clothes, electronics, beauty products, home items, sports equipment, baby products, and more.

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