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Device Updates

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Nokia opens up Android 8.0 Oreo beta test for the Nokia 8

Nokia and HMD are keeping up their promise of releasing fast updates to the collection of Android devices they announced this year. After the rather timely monthly security fixes, now's the time to get a more substantial update in the form of Android 8.0 Oreo but you'll need to have a Nokia 8 to get your first taste.

Juho Sarvikas, Chief Product Officer at HMD, just announced that the Oreo beta test is available through Nokia phones beta labs for owners of the flagship Nokia 8. If you head over to that page, you'll be asked to sign in (fortunately, a Google login is accepted) then to validate your phone's IMEI number and operator.

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Google posts October system images and OTA files for the Pixel 2 and 2 XL, but they only have September patches

Google makes updated Android builds available for its devices every month, and the time has come for October's downloads to go live for Google's new phones. You can grab the system images or OTA files for Nexus and Pixel devices, but not all of them are actually October patches. Google's latest and greatest phones are still only on the September security patch.

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NVIDIA won't update the SHIELD Tablet and Tablet K1 to Oreo

It's been a few years since NVIDIA released a SHIELD Tablet, but it's been keeping them up to date with regular OTAs. However, this appears to be the end of the line. NVIDIA won't push an update to Oreo for the SHIELD Tablet and Tablet K1.

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Essential announces new OTA update to improve camera performance [APK Download]

The Essential Phone has a pair of cameras on the back, but more does not always mean better. As demonstrated in our review, the Essential Phone took really mediocre pictures at launch. The company has been working on improving the camera through software with a series of updates, and today the latest one has been announced. Build NMI81C is rolling out now with a number of camera tweaks.

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Android Wear beta program opens up for 8.0 Oreo, only available for LG Watch Sport

Now that Android 8.0 Oreo is out of beta and making its way onto devices in earnest, the Wear team is taking a turn with its own preliminary firmware update. Starting today, Google's Beta Program page is now distributing an early version of the next release of Android Wear. However, if you were looking forward to a lot of new features, you might be disappointed to hear that this is being referred to as a "technical upgrade to API 26" – mostly an update to the underlying infrastructure. On top of that, only one watch qualifies for betas at this time: The LG Watch Sport.

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Google's October OTAs should fix some Pixel spontaneous reboots

The Oreo update has gone smoothly for most Pixel owners, but it hasn't gone perfectly for everyone. Some Pixel owners have been plagued by reboot issues since that update, and the cause has been difficult to pin down. According to Google, the OTAs rolling out today on Pixel devices will stop the reboots, which have a few distinct causes.

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[Update: Includes BlueBorne fixes] Verizon updates its Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge with bugfixes and the August security patch

Verizon has updated its support pages for both the S7 and S7 edge with a new software version for each. Included in the changes are improved voice recognition, general bug fixing, extra features for corporate owners, and August's security patch. The two versions go by NRD90M.G930VVRU4BQH4 and NRD90M.G935VVRU4BQH4. 

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[Update: Downloads] Oxygen OS v4.5.0 rolling out for the OnePlus 3/3T, with some OnePlus 5 features in tow

The OnePlus 5 may have come out, but that doesn't mean the company has forgotten about the 3 and 3T. Earlier today, the two phones were updated to Oxygen OS 4.5.0, introducing a pile of new features like "lift up display," Gaming Do Not Disturb, low priority notifications, and OnePlus' Slate font. Most of the changes in this release were already available on the OnePlus 5, but it's great to see them trickle down onto older hardware. 

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NVIDIA posts SHIELD Experience 6.0 release notes—SmartThings, Assistant, YouTube 360, and more

A new update is rolling out to NVIDIA SHIELD devices today, and it brings some major improvements. It's not an Oreo update, but that's not exactly vital for Android TV. What you do get is Google Assistant, YouTube 360, and a lot more.

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Amazon Fire TV's OS 5.2.6 lets you use voice dictation when the keyboard is open

Back in 2010, Android 2.1 Eclair added voice dictation when the keyboard is open to let you use speech instead of hunting and pecking on your 3" display to type a few letters and characters. That function apparently never made it into Amazon's Fire OS Android fork on TVs (it's available on Fire tablets as far as I can tell). But that's changing now that Amazon is all about voice.

Fire OS 5.2.6 has been rolling to TV devices since September 13, but the official changelog was just posted and Amazon and says you can hold the voice button on the Alexa Voice Remote or the Fire TV Remote App (on your phone) when the keyboard is open to dictate text instead of typing one letter at a time.

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