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Nokia opens up Android 8.1 beta for the Nokia 8

Treble and bootloader aside, HMD is doing a great job at providing as close to a "Googley" Android experience to Nokia users as possible. The Nokia 8 started beta testing Android 8.0 Oreo a few months ago then received the official update, now the Nokia 5 and 6 are in the beta stage, but the company isn't stopping here. Android 8.1 has been out for a while for Nexuses and Pixels and so that needs to start making its way to Nokia phones as well, starting with the Nokia 8 as announced by HMD's Chief Product Officer, Juho Sarvikas.

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Updated January Android 8.1 OTA files and factory images for Verizon Pixel 2, Softbank and Telstra Nexus 5X and 6P are live

A few days ago, some users started receiving update notifications on their Pixel 2 and were wondering what was happening since, according to the official documentation, they were seemingly on the latest build number. Now Google's official pages have been updated to include these new factory images and OTA files for specific devices on certain carrier versions.

First, the Pixel 2 on Verizon is getting a bump to build number OPM2.171019.016. Then the Nexus 5X on Telstra and Softbank is getting an update to build OPM5.171019.014. And finally, the Nexus 6P on Softbank only (no Telstra) is getting the same build number as its smaller sibling: OPM5.171019.014.

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Google to fix Android Auto's intermittent failure to start with February security patch

For a system that is meant to be used while you're in a car, Android Auto has a few too many bugs. One of the most recent ones that has arisen is Android Auto's intermittent failure to even start when you get in the car and plug your phone in. Google has addressed this issue and says that the fix will be rolling out with the next security patch.

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[Update: Rolling out now] Android 8.1 feature spotlight: Speed labels for open Wi-Fi networks are now displayed in settings

While open Wi-Fi networks are nice to find, they can sometimes be so slow that you'd prefer to just use your precious mobile data. Google seems to agree with this, having implemented these Wi-Fi speed labels for open networks in Android 8.1 Oreo to let users decide whether they should connect to a certain unknown network.

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Android TV streaming boxes: An uneasy start and apparent death

Android TV is very much alive, as was made abundantly clear by the plethora of new Android TV powered televisions with Google Assistant capability shown off at CES 2018. Streaming boxes powered by Android TV, however, are conspicuously missing—the last Android TV set-top box to be released in the United States was the Xiaomi Mi Box in October 2016.

Apple TV and Amazon's Fire TV products both received hardware refreshes last September, while Roku products received hardware refreshes in October. In comparison, the three year old Nexus Player—arguably the flagship of Android TV—last received a software update in November, and will not be upgraded to Android 8.1 Oreo.

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Sprint HTC U11 Oreo update 2.33.651.10 rolling out [Update]

HTC U11 owners on Sprint have something to look forward to on Monday. According to Mo Versi, HTC's VP of Product Management, the Oreo update will start rolling out to users at the start of the work week, though it might take a few days to complete.

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CCC Air Stick brings 4K HDR10 and aptX HD to Android TV in Chromecast-size package

While CES brought a stack of announcements for Android TV-powered televisions, streaming boxes have been in conspicuously short supply. The CCC Air Stick 4K is breaking up that monotony, cramming in support for 4K HDR10 as well as aptX and aptX HD—apparently a first for Android TV-powered boxes. It has a relatively minimal 2GB RAM and 16GB storage, though this is double what the Nexus Player provides. Unfortunately, it is Japan only, though you could import it if you feel the urge.

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Android may have native Wi-Fi Direct printing in the future

Android has a few different methods for printing, one of the easiest and most recognizable is probably Google's Cloud Print. But setting up and using a random printer from your Android-powered phone or tablet isn't quite as easy as it is from a more traditional laptop or desktop computer. According to the folks at XDA, though, that might change with the recent addition of Wi-Fi Direct printing to AOSP.  

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Android Wear v2.8 app update adds darker background and 'improved notification glanceability'

Gone are the days when OTA updates were necessary to add new features to your Android Wear watch. Now, Google can add new features via the Android Wear app. A new version of the Wear app is rolling out today with a few notable changes. The theme is darker, and notifications are getting some potentially interesting changes.

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Google could block access to hidden and undocumented APIs in Android P

We're probably just a few months away from the first developer preview release of Android P, but there are some hints of what Google's cooking in AOSP. According to a report at XDA, Google might be planning a move that'll upset some developers. New commits suggest Google will remove access to unofficial APIs in the next big Android release.

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