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Google releases Daydream Elements, a new demo app for best VR practices

If you're considering building a new VR game or app experience, you may be facing new challenges in how to create realistic scenes, how to move your characters across space without dizzying the player, and how to choose between click and gesture controls depending on what's best for your setting.

Daydream Elements is a new open-source app by Google that provides tech demos for many scenarios regarding these 3 areas: locomotion, menus and virtual controls, and rendering and lighting. There's also a full documentation page with explanations and details on each aspect, plus the source code on GitHub, so you should have everything at your disposal.

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[Deal Alert] Samsung Gear 360 1st gen down to $168.55 on Amazon

Summer time is almost here and if you're planning a trip or vacation somewhere, or if you have a couple of months full of activities and fun, then you're probably looking at grabbing a new camera. Action cams are awesome, but what if you're not the super adventurous kind and you just want to capture the moment in a unique way? Then you might be looking at 360 cams. And today we've got a deal on one of them.

The Samsung Gear 360, the first generation one and not the just-announced 4K 2017 version (which is $235.88 on Amazon), is down to $168.55 on Amazon.

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The current Google Pixel/Pixel XL will support Project Treble, possibly meaning longer support

There are a few reasons why your phone or tablet stops getting Android updates. One reason could be that the maker of your device's processor (e.g. Qualcomm or MediaTek) never updated the drivers for newer versions of Android. This is why no phones or tablets with the Snapdragon 800/801 chip ever officially received Android 7.0 Nougat, including the Nexus 5.

Google announced Project Treble a week ago, which aims to solve this particular problem by separating the Android OS from the 'Vendor interface' (the part with all the low-level drivers and binary blobs). The vendor interface under Project Treble is also designed to be forwards-compatible, meaning that it shouldn't have to be updated for every Android update, in theory.

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Android O feature spotlight: Apps can finally capture the mouse pointer

Android has never really been designed for use on desktop or laptop PCs, but various ports like Android x86 and Remix OS have appeared over the years. Now that Android apps can run on Chromebooks, perhaps Google thought it was finally time to implement pointer capture support in Android.

Starting with Android O, apps can capture a device's mouse pointer using the new requestPointerCapture method.

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Android O Developer Preview 2 gets a small bump to OPP2.170420.019, fixes Android Pay but isn't installing on many Nexus devices [Update]

Android O's second developer preview was only released yesterday, but Google has already released an update for it. We're getting bombarded with tips from readers with Nexus and Pixel devices alike. This update reportedly somewhat fixes Android Pay, which did not open at all on yesterday's version. However, it appears that Nexus devices are having trouble updating.

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Android O Dev Preview 2 swaps around WiFi and cellular status icons for some reason

Google is always making little tweaks to the UI during the developer previews, but there's usually a reason. The new Android O preview inexplicably swaps the cellular and WiFi indicators around in the status bar. It's very weird to see.

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Google Assistant gets an app directory with categories and sample commands

Until now, the only place you could see all the apps with Assistant support was the gigantic scrolling list in the Home app. With the updated Assistant implementation rolling out today, you can finally check out what Assistant has to offer in a more sane way. It's got an app directory now.

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Brazil, Canada, Russia, Spain, and Taiwan will be getting Android Pay soon

Earlier this week, we wrote about some strong evidence hinting that Canada and Russia would be getting Android Pay support imminently. However, despite a ton of hints toward this, we had no official statements to support these claims. Today, though, The Keyword (Google's official blog) confirmed that those two countries, along with a few more, will have Android Pay availability soon.

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How Google plans to tackle power consumption even more aggressively in Android

Yesterday at I/O Google had an interesting talk called Background Check and Other Insights into the Android Operating System Framework. It's a long name, but really it's about improving battery life in Android. It went on at great length as to how, exactly, they plan on doing that, and it's quite worth a watch. We have the video here, but if you don't have the half-hour to check it out, then you are welcome to read below.

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[Update: Keyboard can be selected as default] Keyboard typing is already rolling out in Google Assistant

We've known for a while that typing in Google Assistant was coming, but it was officially announced yesterday at I/O. And now the feature is starting to show up for some users when they launch Assistant on their phones.

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