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New TWRP recoveries for multiple LG, Samsung, Pantech, Lenovo, LeEco, and Zuk devices now available

It's that time again: multiple TWRP builds for a multitude of various devices have become available, ranging from some obscure Pantech phones to LG and Samsung mid-range handsets.

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[Update: RUU file] HTC's One A9 is finally getting its Nougat update tonight

HTC has been sort of falling apart lately. While the 10 was a solid improvement over the last year's M9, the A9s was a downgraded and even more iPhone-inspired version of the A9, and the recently-announced U Ultra is already somewhat doomed thanks to its lack of a headphone jack, very small battery, limited availability, and ambitious price tag. In the latest installment of the saga, the mid-range One A9 is just now receiving Android 7.0 Nougat.

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YouTube shows a fun castle animation when loading a video

If you happen to have a slow internet connection, you're used to seeing a spinning circle on Youtube while it loads, and loads, and loads, and finally really loads a video. That's the bane of my existence when I'm on WiFi (3G and LTE are much faster in Lebanon, but also more expensive, so we endure WiFi). But YouTube has recently implemented a castle animation, which is a lot more fun and playful. It doesn't make the wait any shorter, but it sure feels like it is.

The animation has been showing for several weeks, if not more than a month for me, but we've recently started getting more frequent tips about it, so we thought we'd let you know that yes, we have seen it before, and yes this is relatively new, and yes it is indeed cute.

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[Deal Alert] Get a free Moto Z Droid or half price Moto Z Droid Force (after Verizon credits) at Best Buy

Motorola took a leap with the Moto Z this year by focusing on the modular accessories known as Mods. That meant a few design sacrifices had to be made, including a small-ish battery on the Moto Z and a non-ergonomic flat back panel. I don't think these phones stand up to the competition at full price, but at half price or free, it's hard to complain. That's the deal at Best Buy right now for the Verizon-branded versions.

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Vizio SmartCast devices now have Google Home compatibility

A little while after LG's announcement that it would add Google Home compatibility to its Music Flow line, Vizio steps up and makes a similar announcement for its SmartCast series of connected speakers, displays, and the like. This will add the strength of voice control to Chromecast-ready devices like the Crave 360 and Pro speakers.

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Google acquires Fabric, a popular mobile developer platform for performance tracking and crash reporting

Ask all of the mobile app developers to name the SDKs and third-party services they're using and the answer you're likely to hear more than any other is Fabric, or possibly Crashlytics (a component of Fabric). Many apps rely on Fabric for crash reporting, performance metrics, and other services that are hard to build in-house, but prove very useful when supporting an app and making business decisions. Fabric announced earlier today that it had reached an agreement to be acquired by Google, leaving behind its parent company Twitter.

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InBrief
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Motorola releases Nougat kernel source code for the Moto G4 and G4 Plus

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Image of unclear provenance shows Galaxy S8 panels with shockingly minimal bezel, rounded display corners

An image published on the Twitter handle @dfordesign appears to show what are two display covers for Samsung's upcoming Galaxy S8 smartphones. The tweet, in Polish, was actually sent out two days ago, but it just now appears to be getting picked up by a small number of blogs. The tweet and subsequent replies from the author do not offer any kind of context for the source of the image, unfortunately.

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Motorola says the unlocked Moto Z will get Nougat in February, Moto Z Play in March

Motorola customers who opted for the unlocked version of the Moto Z, as opposed to the Verizon-exclusive Moto Z Droid models, are feeling a little miffed. Droid owners have been rocking the latest version of Android for months now, but the GSM unlocked variants (which usually get updates faster) haven't had so much as a whiff of Nougat. We covered the story on Android Police yesterday after receiving multiple complaints from our readers. Motorola's response, delivered via Twitter, was less than encouraging.

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NVIDIA pushes minor update to 2017 SHIELD with fix for remote bug

The new SHIELD Android TV has just launched with a smaller chassis, revamped controller, and a few new software tricks. One trick no one much cared for was the one where the remote would just stop working. NVIDIA says it's addressed this bug in the latest update.

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