Google No Longer Certifying New Devices Running Android Nougat

Google Pixel XL

Some seven months after it was released, Android Oreo is now the required Android version for manufactures who want their new phones certified by Google.  The change means that if a manufacture wants to introduce a new phone to the market and wants that phone certified by Google to run Google Mobile Services and access the Play Store, it will have to be on Oreo 8.0 or later.  Phones running Android Nougat will no longer be certified.

While we can debate why it took the Mountain View company seven months to require this, it is good news on the whole.  Oreo is far more stable and secure than any previous version of Android and it arguably provides one of the best user experiences at the same time.

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Blackberry KEYone Black Edition Now Available on Amazon

Blackberry KEYone Black Edition

The Blackberry KEYone Black Edition has made its way to the United States via Amazon.  The slightly bumped-up-in-specs version of the KEYone is $549.99 at the online retailer and readily available.

Powered by the octa-core Snapdragon 625, the Blackberry KEYone Black Edition sports 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage built-in, which can be expanded up to an additional 256GB thanks to the MicroSD slot.  It has a 4.5-inch display has a resolution of 1620 x 1080 and is powered by a 3505mAh battery that supports Quick Charge 3.0.  Of course, the unique feature of this phone is the built-in physical QWERTY keyboard.

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Android Oreo Finally Breaks 1% Install Base in The Latest Android Distribution Report

February 2018 Android Distribution Report

The slow and somewhat painful adoption of Android Oreo continues but there are some highlights to point out in this month’s Android Distribution Report.  Google released the report today and it shows that the latest version of the Android platform, Oreo, was installed on 1.1% of the devices that hit the Google Play Store for the 7-day period ending February 5, 2018.  That’s up .4% from the January report but there isn’t much to applaud frankly.

Android Oreo has been out now six months and despite Google and manufactures releasing updates, the needle has hardly moved on adoption.  This is likely due to a couple of reasons.  First, manufactures are being painfully slow in getting the updates out themselves.  Two, lots of people are using devices that are over 2 years old and will not be updated.

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Android Wear Update Brings Visual Improvements and Accessibility Improvements

Android Wear 2.8 Update

A new update to the Android Wear app is rolling out in the Play Store today, bringing some visual improvements as well as improvements for accessibility users.  The update to the app is version 2.7.0.180439970 which will then have build 2.8.0.181612071 to send to your Wear watch.  Once you get the new app update, you’ll need to also perform an update on your watch itself.  You should have a notification that there is a new update to the Android Wear app on the watch itself.

As for what is new, there are improved typefaces and fonts in this build.  The aim of these is to improve glanceability (i.e. readability) when you glance at your watch.  Also, the base theme for your watch’s menu will appear noticeably darker.  This is likely a part of the effort to improve glanceability.

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January Android Distribution Report Shows Continued Anemic Adoption of Android Oreo

January 2018 Android Distribution Report

Google has released the December 2017 Android Distribution Report this week.  The report reflects the version of Android on devices that visited the Google Play Store for the 7 day period ending January 8, 2018 and it shows that while Android Oreo was only one of two versions that saw growth for the reporting period, that growth is anemic.  And that is putting it nicely.

Oreo gained just .2% in this month’s report, with both 8.0 and 8.1 accounting for a total of just .7% of device share.  The only other gainer in the report, Android Nougat, gained 3% and now sits at 26.3% for device share.  That moves Nougat into second behind Android Marshmallow as the most widely used version of the platform.

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Sony Announces the Refreshed Sony Xperia XA2 and XA2 Ultra

Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra

Sony’s mid-range of Android phones are getting a refresh.  At CES 2018, the company announced that the Sony Xperia XA2 and XA2 Ultra and they are expected to be available in February.  These two phones are fundamentally the same when it comes to their internals with the XA2 Ultra sporting a 6″ display over the XA2’s 5.2″ display.  Both will render at 1920 x 1080 FHD and both are powered by the Snapdragon 630 SoC and 4GB of RAM.  Storage wise, you will have the option of 32GB or 64GB and there is a MicroSD expansion slot.

Camera wise, both have the same 23MP rear camera and both have 8MP, 120° wide angle selfie camera.  The XA2 Ultra adds a second front facing camera that has OIS despite the fact that the rear camera on either phone doesn’t have image stabilization.  Powering the Utra is a 3580mAh battery while the standard XA2 will have a 3300mAh battery.

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Today’s Deal – Lenovo Yoga Book for $275 in Champagne Gold on Amazon

Lenovo Yoga Book Halo Keyboard

Today’s Deal is on the powerful and ultra thin Lenovo Yoga Book Android tablet.  The 10″ 2-in-1 tablet is my current Android tablet of choice and you can pick up a great deal on it right now.  The Champagne Gold model is down to $275, a savings of $224 off the original price.

The Yoga Book has a 10.1″ display that gives Full HD resolution of 1200 x 1920.  It is powered by the Intel Atom x5-Z8550 processor, a quad-core processor that is clocked at 2.4GHz.  That is coupled with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage.  That internal storage can be expanded up to an additional 256GB thanks to the MicroSD slot.  Also, the Lenovo Yoga Book can take advantage of Adaptive Storage in Android Nougat so once you have a MicroSD card installed, it can act as part of the main storage on the device.

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OxygenOS Update Brings Camera Improvements to the OnePlus 5T

OnePlus 5T

OnePlus has begun the process of rolling out an update to their OxygenOS Android variant to their 2017 flagship phone, the OnePlus 5T.  The updates build of OxygenOS is 4.7.6 and in normal OnePlus fashion, is slowing going out to a select number of users today with a broader deployment happening over the course of the next few days.

The update is still based on Android Nougat 7.1.1 so for those hoping this would bring Oreo to the flagship, you have to still wait a bit.  OxygenOS 5.0 is in beta with an early 2018 release expected.  This 4.7.6 update brings a lot of fixes to the camera, other system improvements as well as the December Android Security Update patch for the device.

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