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41

[Update: LG V30 too] Netflix enables HDR playback on the Sony Xperia XZ Premium

[Update: LG V30 too] Netflix enables HDR playback on the Sony Xperia XZ Premium

The good news keeps piling up for owner of Sony's latest badass-est flagship, the Xperia XZ Premium. Not only did they discover it's one of Sony's most durable phones to date, but they can also benefit from better AOSP ROM development on it thanks to the Open Devices program, and now they'll also be able to watch Netflix content in HDR on its beautiful display.

The Xperia XZ Premium was just added to the very short list of Android phones that support "HDR" streaming on Netflix.

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95

Developer discovers how to turn on Android 8.0's theme support without root, but it's a bit janky

Developer discovers how to turn on Android 8.0's theme support without root, but it's a bit janky

Big news today over on XDA. It would appear that the OMS support added to AOSP made its way into Android 8.0 Oreo, and the enterprising developers at XDA have figured out how to leverage the nascent theming system. That is to say, support for Substratum themes now exists in stock Android as of Oreo, and the Substratum developers have just found a way to leverage that without relying on root, via a bit of privilege escalation and ADB, resulting in an incoming root-less theme management system for phones on stock Oreo, and it could be released within the next week.

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46

Paranoid Android release 2 is out, with new device support and new features

Paranoid Android release 2 is out, with new device support and new features

It would appear that AOSPA isn't just back, it's here to stay. Today the developers for the project have announced a new release with a handful of new features, bug fixes, and support for six new devices, including the OnePlus One, Nexus 6, and one of our favorite new-old phones, the Nextbit Robin. New features include an Accidental Touch mode, Pocket Lock, and a new collaboration with Shuttle+.

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86

[Re-review] Last year's Nextbit Robin is an entirely different (and better) phone at $130

[Re-review] Last year's Nextbit Robin is an entirely different (and better) phone at $130

How little can you spend on a phone in 2017 and still have a good experience? Companies like Lenovo-owned Motorola and BLU are pushing the envelope when it comes to the budget segment in the US. But, even a dated flagship can outcompete almost everything in the current entry-level market, and right now you can pick up one of 2016's most overlooked examples, the Nextbit Robin, for around $130 from Amazon. We think that deserves a second look.

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10

Sony adds Xperia XZ Premium to Open Devices program

Sony adds Xperia XZ Premium to Open Devices program

Sony's latest phone, the Xperia XZ Premium, launched in the United States last week. As the name implies, it's a rather expensive phone ($799.99), but offers a few unique features like a camera capable of recording 960FPS slow-motion video. Sony has now added the phone to its Open Devices program, making it easy for developers to build AOSP for the device.

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16

[Deal Alert] Unlocked Sony Xperia XZs down to $620 at Amazon ($64 off)

[Deal Alert] Unlocked Sony Xperia XZs down to $620 at Amazon ($64 off)

It seems to be the night of back-to-back Sony phone deals. Just a few weeks ago we posted that the Xperia XZs (I will never understand Sony's naming scheme) was down to $658 over on Amazon. Now it's gotten down to $619.99, but just for the black model. The XZs is a mid-season refresh of last year's XZ, featuring an updated camera and a bit of extra RAM. Although the 1.22µm pixels in the new camera aren't the largest, it does have a high 19MP resolution and can shoot in 4K, as well as 960fps slow motion video.

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5

Sony adds the Xperia XZs to its Open Device Program

Sony adds the Xperia XZs to its Open Device Program

Sony has added yet another handset to its Open Device Program. This time it's the Xperia XZs. With older brothers, the Xperia XZ and the X Performance, already on the list, it was only a matter of time before the newer flagship made its way to the program. Sony's support for the open source community is commendable, and this is more great news for developers hoping to play with custom builds of Nougat on their Xperia devices.

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113

Android O feature spotlight: Support for aptX Bluetooth streaming (update: confirmed)

Android O feature spotlight: Support for aptX Bluetooth streaming (update: confirmed)

Google announced Android O today (have you heard?), and one feature on the list that caught my eye was a reference to "high-quality Bluetooth audio codecs" now being supported by the OS. While Google doesn't specifically reference aptX, there really isn't much else they could be referring to. aptX is a proprietary streaming protocol owned by CSR, who are now owned by Qualcomm. Its HD variant allows more seamless playback of high-quality (i.e., high-bitrate) audio and is generally preferable to the standard Bluetooth audio streaming protocol.

It also comes in several flavors, including a mode that offers very low latency, though almost every iteration of aptX offers superior latency to the standard Bluetooth A2DP specification.

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329

Google will discontinue Google Now Launcher in the coming weeks

Google will discontinue Google Now Launcher in the coming weeks

Google currently has two launcher apps in the Play Store; Google Now Launcher and Pixel Launcher. In a few months, there will only be one. According to an email forwarded to us by a tipster, Google has alerted GMS partners of its intention to remove Google Now Launcher from the Play Store in the coming weeks. OEMs that use GNL have options, though.

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32

[Update: Xperia XZ too] Sony begins its Nougat upgrades with the Xperia X Performance

[Update: Xperia XZ too] Sony begins its Nougat upgrades with the Xperia X Performance

It's been a few months since Android 7.0 hit the AOSP code repository, and this is about the time of year that owners of non-Nexus (non-Pixel, now) flagships start to ask why their upgrades are taking so long. Well if your flagship just happens to be the latest high-powered Sony smartphone, you're in luck. The Xperia X Performance is receiving its Nougat update starting today, according to XperiaBlog. For the record, that's just a little over three months of waiting for the upgrade - not bad by current Android standards.

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