This year's CES has a couple more days yet to go, but the announcements for the show have settled out, and we probably won't be seeing any more big news from the world's largest technology conference. As such, we're about to head out ourselves from Las Vegas, and we're leaving you with some of our favorite technology announced this year. Without further ado, these are Android Police's picks for the Best of CES in 2017. (Presented in no particular order.) Read More
A post by the manager of the Android Beta Program's Google+ page seems to indicate that Developer Preview 2 of Android 7.1 is slated to go live shortly. Orrin Hancock, owner of the page, says that DP2 actually began rolling out today, but we've not received any tips suggesting that's the case. No one who has replied to the thread seems to have gotten it, either, so perhaps the rollout has been slightly delayed or extremely, incredibly, strangely limited (I would hedge on the former).
Anyway, Android 7.1.1 DP2 will apparently be available for the Nexus 6P, 5X, Nexus 9, Android One, and Pixel C. Read More
Usain Bolt's branding on the new HTC Bolt should be enough indication to you that Sprint is marketing this new smartphone for its speed. But as the geeks that we are, we've probably jumped to the conclusion that we're talking about the processor, except that nope. This is Sprint's fastest smartphone yet, if we're only talking about its network capabilities. The Bolt is the first device to support Sprint's LTE Plus three-channel carrier aggregation, which is already live in Chicago, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, Cleveland, and Columbus.
LTE speeds aside, the Bolt is a mid to high-end smartphone. The entire device is made of glass and metal with a 5.5" Quad HD Super LCD 3 display on the front covered with curved-edge Corning Gorilla Glass 5. Read More
Capturing and sending a bug report on Android used to be an inelegant process. Bugs are annoying and bug reports are one of the least exciting parts of a platform, but they are essential to help it and its apps move forward. So it's nice to see the Android team putting some thoughts behind improving the bug report interface and interaction, especially for those of us who tend to actually use the feature.
Previously, on Android 6.0 and below, if you decided to save and send a bug report, the device would vibrate once and nothing happened for a minute or two. Then you get the notification for the captured bug report and the only thing you can do is share it along with the screenshot that was taken when you tapped the bug report icon. Read More
One of the features buried in Android N while it was still a Developer Preview was seamless update. Just like Chromebooks, Android devices would be able to download new OTAs in the background, install them while they're still running, and only switch to the updated software after a reboot. We later learned that existing Nexus devices would not benefit from the option since they didn't have the partitioning necessary to manage the technical feat of having two firmwares installed at the same time, even if temporarily.
So in order to see seamless update in action — or not see them, that's the goal really — we had to wait until the Pixel shipped, since it's the first phone to support them out of the box, and until there was an OTA update for it. Read More
Mark it down, everyone: LG is the second OEM to start the Nougat rollout to its early 2016 phone, the G5. Seeing as the V20 launched with 7.0, LG already had a head start on the update wars this year. The catch here for most of us reading this is that the update is starting in South Korea. The claim is that the rest of the world will see it in the "coming weeks." Read More
During the I/O 2016 Keynote presentation, and again at the October 4th Pixel announcement, Google made brief references to newly added support for seamless updates in Nougat. To make this work, many changes had to be made to the structure of Android and its assorted system partitions. As a result, there have also been some changes to the fastboot utility many of us use when new factory images become available. This post covers a few of the technical details and also demonstrates some of the ways to use the new features.
How it works
Seamless updates are accomplished by creating a second set of logical partitions in device storage. Read More
One of the most useful features of Android N is the improved notifications handling: notifications coming from the same app are bundled together and can be unbundled and dealt with individually, and there's direct reply support to quickly answer a message without opening the app.
Not a lot of apps have added support for both of these features, but now Yahoo Mail is joining this elite group. Thanks to a new update, Yahoo's mailing app lets you send direct replies to emails from the notification, and it bundles notifications together for less redundancy and clutter in the drop-down. Read More
Perhaps the most interesting feature exclusive to Google Pixel, at least officially, is Google Assistant. We have a review of Assistant's current functionality, but in a nutshell, it's essentially a conversation-based version of the former Google Now. XDA user brianelv has posted a short guide on enabling Assistant, and it should work on any Android 7.0 (or higher) device with the Google app 220.127.116.11 or newer.
If you have those prerequisites, the actual guide is fairly short. All you need to do is change your build.prop file, reboot, and clear Google app cache. Either root (to manually edit the build.prop) or a custom recovery (if you want to flash the zip) is required. In our own testing on a Nexus 6P, switching to the Google Now Launcher might be required to trigger the Assistant setup. Read More