Gingerbread and Honeycomb to lose Google Play Services support in next update

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It may be hard to believe, but there are actually still some devices out there in the world running older versions of Android like Gingerbread and Honeycomb. The numbers are small at less that 1.5% and things may get a little bit more challenging for those users in early 2017. Google has announced they will be discontinuing support for those platforms with the next release of Google Play Services. The minimum version, or API level, will jump from 9 to 14, which corresponds to the Ice Cream Sandwich release.

Nougat debuts with 0.3% on November’s Android Platform Ditribution chart

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Over the course of Android’s history, nay-sayers have screamed that this most versatile of mobile operating systems would implode because of fragmentation. Yet, somehow, Android is still here and has evolved into the most popular mobile OS. About that fragmentation, though, just how many of us are running Android 7.0 Nougat on our devices? And is Froyo still a thing? Join us after the break to find out.

System images for Pixel and Pixel XL now available

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Twitter tipster and developer LlabTooFeR managed to get the device images for Google’s new Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones and has made them available for download. This is not going to be useful for the general public or even folks who want to try to flash them onto their device as they will only work on the Pixel devices. However, this does mean developers can start to dig into the software included on the new phones, so we should have some interesting findings to surface while buyers wait for their new devices to arrive.

Google hires David Foster, Amazon’s former head of hardware, to run smartphone development

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When you decide to manufacture your own line of smartphones, it’s probably best to place someone with the relevant experience in charge of producing hardware. This is what Google would appear to have done by hiring David Foster, formerly of Amazon, as VP of product engineering ahead of the company’s launch event later today, according to The Information. Join us after the break to find out more about David Foster, and where he has come from.

Huawei ‘Nexus’ tablet may be a second Andromeda device

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With a little over a week to go until Google’s October 4th event, where several new pieces of hardware including the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones, are expected to be revealed, software is getting a bit of a bump as well. The frenzy started when word surfaced that a new project called Andromeda may be announced, representing the effective merger of Android and ChromeOS into a new operating system. Now sources are trying to connect dots and think the new Andromeda could land on a rumored “Nexus” tablet believed to be incoming from Huawei.

Google home button to be animated?

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As fall draws closer we start to look for the official launch of both Android 7.0 Nougat and new Nexus smartphones from Google. One of the peculiarities that has surfaced in recent leaks and rumors is a new onscreen home button for the Nexus devices. Thus far that home button has appeared as a static image as shown above. Now, an animation has surfaced showing how the button will be animated assuming this feature makes it to launch.

Android N 4th Developer Preview released with final SDK, APIs

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Google’s Dave Burke, VP of Engineering, posted on the Android Developers Blog that the 4th Developer Preview of Android N has been released. Users who already enrolled their devices in the Beta program should be receiving a notice to update to this latest version. This sounds like the final preview that will be released as Google has finalized a couple key components of Android N in preparation for the official release.

Marshmallow breaks through 10% mark in latest distribution numbers

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Google’s Android Developers released their latest survey of Android versions running on mobile devices. Marshmallow has been growing at a nice clip in recent months as smartphone manufacturers finally start getting the update out to their devices and new devices hit the market with Marshmallow out of the box. Marshmallow managed to hit a milestone with the survey that just concluded on June 6, 2016, by breaking through the 10% mark, but just barely at 10.1%.

Update-shaming may be latest tool from Google to keep Android up to date

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The Android operating system dominates the global smartphone market, but in spite of that lead position, there are some frustrations that users put up with in using the platform. One concern is a lack of updates to the operating system being released by manufacturers and carriers for devices that are in the hands of consumers. This has been an issue Google has battled for years and it looks like they may be getting ready to deploy a new tool to aid end users by releasing public rankings and hoping this has a shaming effect on those parties who are lax in keeping up.

Addition of pressure sensitive touch to Android to be delayed

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When Google released developer previews for the Android N update to their operating system, one of the items spotted in there was apparent support for pressure-sensitive touch. This would be similar to what Apple implemented with 3D Touch on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. With only days left before Google I/O 2016 and the expected official announcement of Android N, sources indicate Google has pulled this pressure-sensitive capability from the release.

The second generation Philips Hue app comes with a modern UI and and added functionality

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If you have the Philips Hue lighting system installed in your house, you’ve probably been left a little dissatisfied with its clunkiness, possibly to the point of having to rely on one of the many serviceable third-party apps. It seems that Philips may have taken notice because it’s just published a new app to the Play Store called Philips Hue Gen 2. The second generation Hue app includes a new, dare we say, even modern UI and some added functionality.