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43

Google shares the shutdown timeline for Android Things

Google shares the shutdown timeline for Android Things

Google launched Android Things back in 2016 as a simple operating system for use on a variety of smart appliances. It never actually found its way onto any Google hardware products, though, and last year the company announced it was narrowing its focus to smart speakers and displays. Now Android Things OS is hitting another obstacle on its way out the door, as non-commercial use starts being cut early next year.

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60

Google and Qualcomm's big update announcement isn't what it seems — here's what you need to know

Google and Qualcomm's big update announcement isn't what it seems — here's what you need to know

Today, Google and Qualcomm announced what seemed like a big improvement to updates for Android smartphones. The headlines (ours included! We were confused, too) largely read as though Android phones with Qualcomm chipsets would now receive "four years" of Android updates, an additional year on top of what manufacturers like Google and now Samsung have offered on their top-tier smartphones. Except, that's not actually what it said.

After speaking with both Google and Qualcomm (and chatting with AP alumnus Ron Amadeo), I received confirmation of what I suspected was the point of confusion about today's news, and that, in fact, very little is changing if you have a Google Pixel or high-end Samsung smartphone.

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16

Android 11 has the fastest adoption rate of any version yet

Android 11 has the fastest adoption rate of any version yet

Google has built on the success of things like Project Treble to increase the pace of Android update rollouts. Last year, Android 10 was the fastest-deployed update ever. But it looks like Android 11 has just barely beaten the number of active users in the wild compared to the same time last year.

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9

Xiaomi launches its first Dolby Vision-enabled QLED 4K TV in India

Xiaomi launches its first Dolby Vision-enabled QLED 4K TV in India

Typical to Xiaomi’s approach, its TV range in India has so far focused on budget offerings, massively undercutting the traditional players. After capturing a major chunk of the local smart TV market, Xiaomi is now stepping up to a slightly more premium space with its latest QLED model that aims to offer premium picture quality and design, but with pricing that's still affordable.

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12

Sygic arrives on Android Auto to compete with Google Maps and Waze

Sygic arrives on Android Auto to compete with Google Maps and Waze

Until now, Google Maps and Waze (also owned by Google) were the only navigation apps to be fully supported on Android Auto — others were restricted to the phone interface. This is now changing as popular alternative Sygic becomes one of the first third-party navigation apps to have native support for Android Auto.

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24

This is Phone Hub for Chrome OS — Google's promising attempt at deeper Android integration

This is Phone Hub for Chrome OS — Google's promising attempt at deeper Android integration

It's been a few months since we covered Google's ambition to bring tighter integration to two of its core hardware products. Dubbed Phone Hub, the feature aims to enhance the relationship between your Android smartphone and Chromebook. Shortly after a visual prototype made its way to the Canary and Dev channels via a Chrome flag, it mysteriously vanished from the system tray and—until recently—has not made a return. While we still don't have a functional version of it today, Phone Hub received many visual and backend updates that give us a glimpse of what Google is cooking up to bring your phone and Chromebook closer together.

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34

Android 11's media controls can be completely dismissed after the December patch

Android 11's media controls can be completely dismissed after the December patch

With Android 11, Google revamped media controls by introducing a unified design in a central place — in the notification drop-down, below the quick settings toggles — and letting most apps use it by default, whether they're playing music or videos. Beta after beta, the design and functionality improved, and the ability to swipe the controls away was added, but that only hid them by dropping them lower. With the December patch and Feature Drop, you can finally remove the media controls for good when you're done listening.

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9

Sony begins its Android 11 rollout with Xperia 1 II update

Sony begins its Android 11 rollout with Xperia 1 II update

Sony used to be one of the quickest manufacturers around when it came to releasing major Android updates, but the company has definitely slowed down in recent years. Sony didn't start rolling out Android 10 until December of last year, and now its Android 11 schedule is starting off on the same foot.

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5

The AT&T Galaxy S20 and Note20 series are receiving Android 11

The AT&T Galaxy S20 and Note20 series are receiving Android 11

The Verizon and the T-Mobile Galaxy S20 variants are already receiving Android 11 (though the rollout has been halted for the latter), and now the AT&T S20 and Note20 series are joining their siblings. The OTA update weighs a hefty 2.5GB and packs the latest tweaks to Android and One UI, which has reached version 3.0 with this update.

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43

25+ forgotten or hidden shortcuts for your Android homescreen

25+ forgotten or hidden shortcuts for your Android homescreen

When you spend a lot of your day digging into Android as I do, you start looking for ways to get to things faster. One shortcut equals several saved taps and seconds, which add up over a day, week, and more. With time, I've uncovered more and more interesting Android or Google-specific shortcuts that save me every day from the menial and repetitive task of digging into settings or apps. In this article, I'll share some of these shortcuts with you so you too can feel the small joy of reaching your favorite features and settings faster and more efficiently.

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