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Report: Nexus Program May Push For Greater Control Of Hardware, Nexus 5X And 6P Not Meeting Sales Goals

A rather lengthy report on The Information was published this morning about the state of Google's Nexus program, and if I had to put it in one word, the state of Nexus seems to be "fluctuating." While there's a lot to chew through here, there are a few talking points worth pulling out specifically to digest and analyze, so let's dive in.

  • Google will take more control over Nexus device development and branding in the future. Maybe.

What does this actually mean? It really is impossible to know. The Information carefully clads these statements in a lot of "ifs," "mays," and "coulds." Google clearly already does nearly all of the aesthetic design on Nexus devices and likely many major feature or hardware decisions - neither the Nexus 5X nor the 6P look anything like what LG or Huawei currently produce.

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February Nexus Factory Images Are Now Available For Download [Update: Security Bulletin Up]

Google is keeping up with its promise to roll out monthly patches for Nexus devices, and it's really on the ball this time. The factory images for the February update are already available for download from the Google developer site. There are also some updated binaries for devices that need them.

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[Deal Alert] Best Buy's Gold Nexus 6P Comes With A $25 Gift Card On Top Of The Valentine's Day $50 Discount

A few days ago, we saw the price of the new Nexus devices drop by $50 at various retailers as a promo for Valentine's Day. The Google Store had discounts applied on all different variants of the Nexus 5X and 6P, but Amazon, Best Buy, and B&H had only removed the $50 from a few of the color and storage options.

Best Buy was among the sellers discounting the Nexus 6P, but only in gold, and it turns out that the retailer has one more trick to sway your decision its way instead of the Google Store's or Amazon's: an additional gift card. When you add the 32GB ($449) or 64GB ($499) gold Nexus 6P to your cart, you'll see a free Best Buy $25 show up with it.

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Google+ Version 7.1 Gives The Tab Bar Instant Scroll-To-Top Behavior

image: Luke Wroblewski

In case you missed it, the Google+ app for Android got updated recently to version 7.1.

The update is mostly comprised of bug fixes - 37 bug fixes to be exact - but it also offers fixes for 17 "accessibility issues," a fix for the "keep contacts up to date" setting, and one pretty handy feature that makes the bottom tab bar just a little more useful.

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It Looks Like Google Has Finally Caught On To Systemless Root - Android Pay No Longer Compatible

Well, it was nice while it lasted. A few months ago prolific Android developer Chainfire introduced a method of rooting Android devices without modifying the /System partition. It had the added and extremely welcome benefit of getting around SafetyNet detection for applications that were intentionally disabled on rooted phones, like Android Pay. But it looks like Google has caught on: starting this weekend (as reported on the /r/Android subreddit ), Android Pay and other SafetyNet apps no longer work with the roundabout root method. Bummer.

Google's system uses a server-side update, so at the moment there's no way to get around the check even with older versions of Android Pay, Google Play Services, et cetera.

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[APK Download] Google Calendar Adds Smart Event Suggestions And 54 New Country Holidays

Most of us rely on our Calendars to tell us where we need to be and what we need to do. Few calendars, however, take into account public and religious holidays, so we often end up scheduling meetings on these off days or putting deadlines right after them. Google Calendar has long been able to show public holidays from many countries around the world, but it's now adding 54 more for a total of 143. Lebanon, for example, is among the new additions. Yay! These holiday calendars can be enabled from Settings > Holidays and then choosing one or several countries to display.

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YouTube App Adds 'Watch Later' Action To 'New Upload' Notifications

Google added the handy "bell" icon to the YouTube app's channel screens last summer to make signing up for "new upload" notifications quick and painless. But until now, users could only watch the video immediately, or take a shortcut to settings to disable the notification.

Recently though, it seems the YouTube app's upload notifications are gaining a new action - watch later. If you don't want to see the latest video from your favorite channel right this second, you can tap this new action to add it to your Watch Later list on YouTube. Here's a before-and-after shot of the notification:

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[Bonza] Google Introduces Its Beaut New Australian Text-To-Speech Voice With A Synthesized Version Of 'I've Been Everywhere'

If you're an American and you've heard the tongue-twisting country music ballad "I've Been Everywhere," odds are that you've heard the most popular version from Johnny Cash, or perhaps the earlier version by the unequaled Hank Snow. There have been dozens of adaptations of the song, for everywhere from Texas to Singapore. But the original was written by Geoff Mack way back in 1959 and popularized by Lucky Starr, and the first set of lyrics was exclusively tailored to cities, towns, and regions in Australia. The song featured such multi-syllabic municipalities as Megalong, Tamborine, Woodenbong, and Grong Grong.

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Nexus 6P And Nexus 5X Are €100 And €80 Off, Respectively, Until February 12

Remember when everyone was up in arms because the Nexus 6P and 5X were so expensive outside North America? It turns out that Google has decided to quietly fix that, at least in some parts of the world. On the Google Store, the Nexus 5X, which initially launched for €479 and then came down to €429 in the Eurozone, is now starting at just €349, while the Nexus 6P, priced at €649 back in September, now begins at €549. The prices in Italy are still €50 more expensive for every model than the rest of the Eurozone, and the price increments for each storage tier are the same as before.

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Google Play Store Comments Section On Android Switches To A Single Thumbs Up And Spam Feedback

Lately, Google has been experimenting with some changes to its Play Store reviews section to make as much information available at a glance as possible. That's why it added review highlights where you could see the most frequent terms found inside the comments with small samples from different reviews. And recently it began slightly tweaking the way users interact with these reviews, probably in an effort to streamline feedback submission for others' comments.

Previously, the Play Store would show a small thumbs up / thumbs down icon next to each review where you could quickly give feedback on whether or not it's useful.

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