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LG's V20 is one of very few phones that properly support 'OK Google' commands while the screen is off

What do a BlackBerry Priv, Galaxy S7 edge, Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, Alcatel Idol 4S, a Huawei P9, Honor 8, and an HTC 10 have in common? Well, they're all Android phones, of course, but they all lack a common feature: 'OK Google' hotword recognition while the screen is off (off the charger). In fact, this feature is so rarely found on Android devices that you can almost call it a Nexus (or soon, Pixel) exclusive these days. And even then, not all Nexus devices seem to be able to do it. The proper name for this feature is "always on."

The reasons for 'always on' being disabled on so many other devices are seemingly myriad - some OEMs claim security issues, others have conflicting products (cough S Voice cough) with similar functionality, and some may be limited by the capabilities of their chipsets or a perceived potential for power drain.

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Google app v6.2 beta reveals more about Google assistant and teases 'Ok Google' hotword setting for Auto and Maps navigation mode [APK Teardown]

Google has been on a roll this week with app updates and there have been some pretty cool new features, not the least of which makes comic books more awesome. One of the latest arrivals to the list is a beta update to the titular app. Known originally as "Search," the Google app now encompasses a custom launcher, the Now stream, Now on Tap, voice commands, and more. The recently announced Google assistant is on course to join the party, promising to bring many of these technologies together to deliver something not unlike the computer from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

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[APK Teardown] Google Search v4.1 Hints At Notifications Read Aloud, Project Hera, Social Networking, And A Whole Lot More

Google's developers took a couple of weeks off for the holidays – or from my perspective, they gave me a couple of weeks to rest – but now they're back and it's time for the app updates to resume. Naturally, it's time to breathe life back into the teardowns, and we're back with a big one. Google Search v4.1 began rolling out to users yesterday, and we've already seen quite a few little adjustments and improvements. After plenty of digging, a stack of additional changes have surfaced, including one that is already live, and several more just waiting for some finishing touches.

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[APK Download] Google Search v3.5.14 Brings 'OK Google' Hotword Detection To Any Screen, Even The Lockscreen And Display Turned Off

Not only is Google announcing all sorts of stuff today, but it's also updating a slew of its apps (it is Update Wednesday, after all). Today's Google Search update brings a huge improvement: "OK Google" hotword detection to any screen... even the lockscreen. If you're plugged into a charger, the feature will even work with the display off. This lines up with the earlier rumor that it was coming eventually.

dimmedOkGooglewojitter Screenshot_2014-06-27-04-07-57

Once enabled (Google Now > Settings > Voice > "Ok Google Detection"), you'll have to enable Audio History and say the words three time in order for Now to register your voice – much like setting up the hotword detection on the Moto X and recent Droid devices.

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