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[Deal Alert] Google Offers $50 Of Play Store Credit With A New Nexus 6, Nexus 9, Or Android Wear Purchase, Sony SmartWatch 3 Is $50 Off (US Only)

The Nexus 6 is a pretty fantastic piece of Android hardware. The Nexus 9 is... a tablet that runs Lollipop. And even some hardcore Android fans have yet to be sold on Android Wear. But if you're in the market for any of those devices right now, you want to get them from the new Google Store, at least if you live in the United States. Google is offering $50 of free Play Store credit with a new purchase of the N6, N9, or any Android Wear device.

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Factory Image For Nexus 6 LMY47E Android 5.1 Build Now Available

That mysterious LMY47E build of Android 5.1 for the Nexus 6 has arrived on Google's factory image download page. This build leaked online as an RSD image last week, but it wasn't clear what its purpose was. It's not really clear now either, but you can download and probably flash it.

nexus2cee_N6-moreeverything-1600.jpg

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Google I/O 2015 Registration Is Open Now

Right on time, Google has opened up registration for Google I/O 2015. For the chance at a ticket, head over to the registration page below and complete the process. To prevent registration stress, Google is leaving the form open until March 19th at 5:00pm PDT. Presumably, Google will also have a few registration codes hidden across its various web properties just like last year.

Of course if you can't make it to I/O 15 in person, just drop by AP for all the coverage you need or join an I/O extended event.

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 12.07.47 PM

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Chromecast Can Now Respond To Your TV's Remote Control, But Only On Some Models

Google has done a spectacular job of improving and adding features to Chromecast. The low-cost streaming dongle continues to get better, even as it starts to close in on its 2nd birthday. The latest change makes it possible for Chromecast to receive commands from a TV remote, but it may not work on a lot of older televisions. This means users can finally enjoy the convenience of pausing and resuming with the push of a physical button without first turning on the casting device.

This is possible through the use of HDMI-CEC, the protocol that allows multiple devices on an HDMI chain to communicate between each other.

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Google: Android 5.1 Memory Leak Has Been Fixed Internally, No Timeline For Release Yet

In the Android community, Lollipop 5.0 is known for a lot of things. Unfortunately, among those things is a pretty severe memory leak that has plagued users with app crashes and launcher redraws, as device memory filled and failed to clear.

When Android 5.1 was announced, many hoped the issue would finally be resolved. After all, Google did mark the memory leak (which climbed to the 34th highest position in the issue tracker's history) as "future release" back in December.

As it turns out though, Lollipop 5.1 is not without its own memory leak, at least for some users over at the issue tracker. But Google has some good news and some bad news.

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New YouTube Interface Rolling Out To Some Users Ditches The Hamburger Menu

Just in case you were getting comfortable with the YouTube app's latest design, it looks like there may be more changes in store. It seems a number of users are encountering a new YouTube interface, apparently triggered server-side without an app update.

The change sees YouTube's hamburger menu flipping right out of the interface, going the way of Google+ in discarding the left-side navigation drawer. Instead, users are given four primary tabs - Home, Trending, Subscriptions, and your profile. Interestingly, a couple of these tabs seem to have bars underneath to switch from, say, all videos to music on the home tab, or from uploads to channels on the subscription tab.

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Chrome Beta v42 Includes New Prompt For Adding Web Apps To Your Home Screen

Along with site notifications, the latest Chrome Beta v42 has another new feature for improving the web app experience. The ability to add a website to your home screen from Chrome has been there for a while now, but not all web pages are created equal in this regard. These shortcuts work best for fully-fledged web apps and now Chrome will let you know when you have visited a good candidate for home screen placement.

To get an idea of how it works, check out this GIF from HTML5 Rocks:

add-to-home-screen-9f848df296e9e17100d68ef9aea43d69

Perhaps the most important aspect of this feature is that it will not appear every time you visit a qualifying site.

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Google Play Support Pages Now Include Author Information And Expanded Feedback

All of the writers and editors at Android Police are huge fans of Android and Google; it's more or less a requirement for the job. But we're also keenly aware of the things that Google does poorly, and duty-bound to point them out in the hope that they will improve. One of the more obvious areas where Google doesn't excel is customer support, but one of the latest changes to the Support.Google.com site seems like a nice step forward.

example

Pages specifically related to the Play Store now include a user-facing profile of the technical writer who created them. This isn't an author profile like you'll see on a journalistic website: it's anonymized with first names only and an avatar made in the style of Androidify.

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Code In Android 5.1 App Reveals Connection Between Unannounced Google VPN Service And "Nova" Carrier Project

We've heard a number of rumors about Google launching its own Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), codenamed Nova. According to reports, the service will source wireless service from Sprint and T-Mobile, but it will rely on Wi-Fi networks to bear most of the weight of both data and voice services (though VoIP). While the details of this plan still aren't clear, another piece of the puzzle just emerged that indicates Google is going to offer its own virtual private network (VPN) service, and it may be targeted specifically at Nova subscribers.

This information resulted from a tip we received a few days ago, pointing us in the direction of a new application called Google Connectivity Services.

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New Android 5.1 Build, LMY47E, Surfaces For Nexus 6, Probably Won't Go Out To Existing Devices

As Nexus 6 owners well know, Android 5.1 / LMY47D just started rolling out to devices recently. It appears, however, that Motorola has an even more recent firmware available, build LMY47E. Further, the official filename has "VRZ" in the title, hinting that this newer build may ship on devices that are sold by Verizon. We won't know for sure until Big Red starts sending the devices out next week.

There is a lot of historical precedent for this. Past builds such as GRI54 (Nexus S), GTJ61 (Nexus S), IMM30B (Galaxy Nexus), JRO03S (Nexus 7 2012 Wi-Fi), JOP40F (Nexus 10), JDQ39B (Nexus 7 2012 Wi-Fi/LTE), and JDQ39E (Nexus 4) are all examples of pre-installed firmware that shipped on later-manufactured runs of Nexus devices, but were never released to older devices via OTA or factory images.

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