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Google's Android Messages app hits 100 million downloads

Google has a long and often complicated history with messaging. For a time, there was no core Android SMS app while Google dabbled with SMS in Hangouts. Well, the Nexus 6 debuted with the Messenger app, later renamed Android Messages. Hangouts has since lost SMS capabilities, and now the Messages app has hit 100 million downloads in the Play Store.

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Google partners with Udacity to offer 50,000 new scholarships for aspiring developers

Grow with Google is the company's educational initiative offering free training and tools to help kickstart the careers of budding developers across the United States. The platform has several partners with which Google works to create learning programs and provide support. One such partner is Udacity, which offers free and paid online courses for a range of different technical disciplines.

Together, Google and Udacity are offering 50,000 new scholarships in the US. They will specifically target Android and mobile web developers with a view to training them up and getting them into work. The courses are intended to prepare students for Google's Associate Android Developer and Mobile Web Specialist developer certifications.

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Xiaomi Mi A1 (Android One) review: Almost the perfect budget phone

Xiaomi phones always have the same problem. While the company's devices have generally great specifications and design for the price, the software experience is usually not very good. If you've read one of our Xiaomi device reviews, or used one of the company's phones yourself, you probably know what I'm talking about.

All of Xiaomi's phones and tablets ship with MIUI, a heavily modified version of Android that has countless problems. Some of these include Bluetooth connectivity bugs, terrible notification handling, and over-the-top power management that can outright break notifications for many apps. Jordan went in depth about MIUI's issues here, if you're interested in details.

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The AT&T Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) is getting Nougat, including BlueBorne patch

In a perfect world, the phone you buy would get relevant and timely updates to add new features and fix security issues for many years after the initial purchase. Sadly, such a world does not exist (though it's easy to understand why in some cases), but at least people who purchased the 2016 Samsung Galaxy J3 (J320A) from AT&T have a significant upgrade waiting for them. The phone is getting Nougat 7.1.1 and the update includes the BlueBorne patch.

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NVIDIA won't update the SHIELD Tablet and Tablet K1 to Oreo

It's been a few years since NVIDIA released a SHIELD Tablet, but it's been keeping them up to date with regular OTAs. However, this appears to be the end of the line. NVIDIA won't push an update to Oreo for the SHIELD Tablet and Tablet K1.

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BlackBerry and BLU settle patent dispute and agree on license agreement

A couple of months ago we learned that BlackBerry CEO John Chen decided a good way to arrest his company's decline was to go into patent lawsuit mode. His first victim was rival manufacturer BLU, against which BlackBerry filed two separate infringement lawsuits covering 15 different patents. One of the suits was mainly based on software while the other looked at hardware, specifically relating to phone signal transmission.

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[Update x2: Motion Photos and more with v5.0] Hands-on with the updated Google Camera 5.1 app from the Pixel 2 [APK Download]

After the updated Google Launcher from the Pixel 2, we have the APK file for the updated Google Camera app that will come on the new Pixel as well. You can install this one on your current Nexus, Pixel, or other OEM-branded phone and give it a try to get a taste of what the Camera app will be like on the Pixel 2.

However, you'll be sad to know that the two most interesting features of the Pixel 2 won't work on your current device: the AR stickers are nowhere to be found and Motion Photos are, as we reported previously, exclusive to the Pixel 2 and Google Clips (for now at least).

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[Praise Slow Google] It's now possible to control Chromecast music and TV playback from your phone's Assistant, not just Google Home

The fragmentation of what Google Assistant can do on which device is, to say the very least, beyond frustrating. You issue a command on your phone and it works, then you try the same on your Google Home and it says it can't do that yet. You try something else on your Google Home and it works, but it doesn't from your phone, or your watch, or your TV, or Allo. It's disheartening when you know the Assistant could be so cool, but its implementation is so heterogeneous that it's impossible to explain that to a regular human.

Take for example the action of playing something on your Chromecast, be it a Chromecast connected to your TV, a Chromecast Audio, or a speaker with Chromecast built-in.

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Hands-on with the updated Pixel Launcher, including the new Pixel 2 features [APK Download]

If you spent the past week looking at videos and images of the Pixel 2 phones and wishing you could have them in your hands, well today you can have your first taste at them. We got the APK file for the updated Pixel Launcher that will ship on the Pixel 2 with its bottom Google Search bar and At A Glance widget, and it should work on all devices from Android 5.0 Lollipop and upward.

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[Update: Get your movie while it's hot] Deal alert: Amityville: The Awakening will launch exclusively on Google Play on October 12 for free

Following the exclusive launch of Peter Dinklage's Rememory on Play Movies, Google doesn't seem to be slowing down and is already at it with another exclusive for its movies and TV service. This time, forget the drama, we're full on horror/thriller/gore with Amityville: The Awakening.

I am not a fan of the genre — I have one heart, why torture it by watching this stuff? — so I had to watch the trailer with one and a half eyes closed.

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