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[Something about Droids] Google Allo adds a themed sticker pack for Rogue One

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will hit theaters in under a week, and fans of the long-running franchise are practically radioactive with anticipation. Since Google is a company that 1) likes money and 2) probably has more than the usual number of employees who list their religion as "Jedi," is going Allo-in with its latest promotion. [Editor's note: Michael, one more crappy pun like that and you're fired.] Starting today, new stickers featuring characters from Rogue One are available in the Allo chat client.

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Android Pay v1.12 prepares for launch in Japan with Rakuten Edy and other e-money providers [APK Teardown]

Android Pay made its first Asian appearance in Singapore back in late-June. A couple months later, in August, rumors began circulating that Google was in negotiations with numerous financial companies to prepare for a launch in Japan. Names of the likely partners included: Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, East Japan Railway Company, Rakuten, NTT Docomo, and JCB, to name a few. Since then, details have been sparse; but with evidence discovered in the latest update to Android Pay, it's now clear that a deal has been struck with Rakuten.

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Verizon won't send Samsung's charge-blocking Note 7 update, citing emergency contact concerns

Here's an interesting wrinkle in the rapidly-closing saga of the Galaxy Note 7. Yesterday Samsung announced that it would send a software over-the-air update to the few remaining phones in the US, preventing the devices from taking a new electricity charge, and hopefully stopping any more battery-based fires. It's far from the first measure the company has taken to further encourage owners of the defective phones to accept the voluntary recall, but it might be the last. American wireless carrier Verizon, for reasons of its own, isn't participating in the latest software update.

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Upcoming Galaxy Note7 software update in the USA will completely stop the device from charging

In the ongoing Galaxy Note7 saga, today's chapter includes another drastic measure taken by Samsung in the USA to encourage reluctant owners of the phone to pretty please, come on, it's time already, stop using their device and return it. So after issuing an OTA in the US that limits the battery capacity to 60% in November, Samsung has scheduled another update that will completely prevent the phone from charging.

The OTA, which is scheduled for December 19, will take about 30 days to be distributed to all remaining devices, and will stop the Note7 from ever charging again. So it can only be used for as long as its current battery capacity lasts you, after which it's essentially a useless brick.

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TWRP is now out for the OnePlus 3T, ZTE Axon 7, some BQ devices, and more

For those of us who love to mess around with our Android devices' software, custom recovery is essential. TWRP is, without a doubt, the most popular custom recovery out there, likely due to its easy-to-use interface and availability on a wide variety of devices. Now, it's available for several more devices, including the OnePlus 3T, ZTE Axon 7, a few BQ smartphones, and more.

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[Update: RUU file] Unlocked HTC One M9 starts getting Nougat OTA

Ready for some Nougaty goodness before the end of the year, HTC One M9 users? If you answered with an enthusiastic "yes!" then I hope you have an unlocked device, because that's the one getting the OTA update to Android 7.0 in the US. If you bought your handset from an operator, you will have to wait longer, unfortunately.

Both HTC USA and the famous Mo Versi announced the news on Twitter early this morning yesterday afternoon, saying that Nougat would start rolling out to the unlocked HTC One M9 "late this evening," ie.

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Google Search on the web adds movie and TV ratings from users

The movie-going public owes a great debt to Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert. The "thumbs up, thumbs down" system breaks down a complex opinion into a simple yes/no question, "did you like it or not?" Its effects can still be seen on Reddit and even in the comments section of this very article - now all we need is some digital implementation of The Wagging Finger of Shame. Google's on board with the thumb system of movie and TV reviews, and has lately implemented it on its search pages in the Knowledge Graph section.

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Report says Samsung will ditch the physical home button for the Galaxy S8

We're starting to hear a few Galaxy S8 rumors well ahead of the usual Mobile World Congress-ish reveal for Samsung's flagship series (usually around late February or March). That may or may not have something to do with the phenomenal failure of the Galaxy Note 7, after which Samsung must be scrambling to shift potential customers' attention elsewhere. So we're treated with two somewhat credible pieces of Galaxy S8 info in a single week: one that Samsung will drop the headphone jack, and another that the company will finally release its deathgrip on physical home buttons.

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CyanogenMod 14.1 nightlies come to the Galaxy S III, Moto X 2014, some Oppo phones, and more

It's no secret why CyanogenMod is the most popular custom ROM out there; not only does it support a metric crapload of Android devices, but it also keeps them going far past their primes. The latest devices to get support for CM14.1 (Android 7.1 Nougat) nightlies include two variants of the Galaxy S III, the second-generation Moto X, a few Oppo devices, two versions of the HTC One Max, two Xiaomi phones, and more.

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Actions on Google opens to the public, developers now free to create custom voice actions for Google assistant

The Google assistant makes for a pretty awesome companion on the Pixel phones and Google Home, but it's still young and feels constrained by the very limited number of things it can do outside of Google's sandbox of supported services. During the October 4th announcement, Google declared plans to open up the platform in early December for developers to build their own services. Staying true to that schedule, the Actions on Google platform opened the door today, allowing developers to integrate their services. Google is also launching an early access program to begin testing new features and upcoming expansions.

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