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Monday, November 21, 2016

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Latest Spotify beta brings back the bottom nav bar, but redesigned

Posted: 21 Nov 2016 03:27 PM PST


I am certainly not the first to say it, but I do not like the bottom navigation bar thing. Perhaps because I have been trained to like the slide-out navigation in my years of using Android. Who knows. Regardless, it is a trend and we are seeing more apps toying with the idea. A few months ago, the Spotify beta app introduced this change. You had five tabs with which to navigate and that was that. 

A little bit after that update, the bottom bar disappeared.

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Latest Spotify beta brings back the bottom nav bar, but redesigned was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Phiaton BT 110 Bluetooth earphone review

Posted: 21 Nov 2016 03:24 PM PST

The 3.5mm jack is endangered. Two major devices have already gotten rid of it, hoping for a future where wireless audio is king. We may not be there quite yet, but the future looks bright. Phiaton's BT 110 Bluetooth earphones aim to take on the likes of the Apple AirPods.


Bluetooth version: 4.0
Battery life: 4.5 hours
Water resistance: IPX4
Where to buy: Phiaton


Since these earphones are so light, they do not fatigue the ears at all. And with the wings, they fit snugly and never want to fall out. I think the wings should be standard on all earphones.

They come with four sizes of ear tips and three sizes of wings, which means you can find a proper fit for yourself. I find it hard to find a proper fit with most earphones, but these fit ideally and retain a seal even with movement.

Their bulky looks really aren't indicative of their weight or comfort; they're very comfortable and well designed. The only complaint is the flat cable between the two earphones, which only flexes in one direction and doesn't always wrap around your neck neatly.

Audio quality

This is where the higher price point should shine, and the earphones don't disappoint. They deliver clear audio even at very high volumes. Turning it up won't cause distortion even when they're playing really loud.

The highs are clear and the bass is surprisingly strong. It's not very rich, but it has a satisfying thump that's not at all muddied until you're blasting music really loud.

However, these earphones suffer from a problem that afflicts many earphones. The tone isn't quite natural. These emphases highs and lows, creating a "powerful" sound that sounds good but doesn't sound perfect. A warm, natural tone is definitely a rarity these days. This doesn't mean that the Phiaton earphones sound bad, but they're not quite ideal. This is unlikely to be noticed by most people, and at the price point, it's hard to expect that. In fact, most people may prefer it this way.

Build quality

These earphones are built extremely well. They're lightweight but feel premium. The plastics are of a good quality, the finish is nice, and the ear tips are held on very well.

They're also IPX4 water resistant, so sweat and some light rain won't damage them.

Battery life

Phiaton BT 100 2

These earphones feature a battery life of 4.5 hours, which is pretty low compared to the far cheaper competition. Many budget Bluetooth earphones are able to last longer, so 4.5 hours seems a little low (especially at this price point).

They do last longer in real use though. I had trouble killing them listening at moderate volumes, but they definitely don't outperform other Bluetooth earphones I've reviewed.

Phiaton BT 1109 / 10

Phiaton BT 100 4

At a hundred dollars, these earphones aren't cheap. They deliver clear sound and great comfort, so I'd say they're worth the price tag.  They're a big step above sub-$50 Bluetooth earphones in almost every way.

If you're looking for really comfortable Bluetooth earphones and don't mind the slightly goofy looks, they're a great buy.

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Chase Pay is now live, but it only works at Starbucks and Best Buy currently

Posted: 21 Nov 2016 03:10 PM PST


We've been hearing about Chase Pay for about a year, which is also when Chase announced it wouldn't support Android pay until "sometime in 2016." Well, we just got Android Pay a few months ago, and here comes Chase Pay too. It was previously in beta testing, but now it's open to all Chase customers in the US. Do you need another mobile payment platform? Probably not, but Chase is giving it a shot anyway.

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Chase Pay is now live, but it only works at Starbucks and Best Buy currently was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Bioware's classic action RPG Jade Empire comes to Android for $10

Posted: 21 Nov 2016 02:52 PM PST


Jade Empire started its life on the original Xbox back in 2005, then it came to PC two years later. Both times it got very positive reviews. Now, almost a decade later it's coming to Android. This is a "special edition" remastering with updated controls for mobile and new content—it's the same game you can get on Steam, but it's $5 cheaper on Android.

Jade Empire is set in a world inspired by ancient Chinese myths.

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Bioware's classic action RPG Jade Empire comes to Android for $10 was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Uber wants you to shower your drivers with praise through its new feature, Compliments

Posted: 21 Nov 2016 02:27 PM PST


Tipping with real money has been something of a sore topic with Uber, so why not just tip your driver with a digital sticker and some kind words? If giving a 5-star rating is never enough, Uber Compliments is just the thing for you. Compliments are essentially glorified, digital thank-you notes.

rider_compliments_1-490x1000 rider_compliments_2-490x1000

Yes, we know they're iPhones.

Here's how Uber intends Compliments to work: your driver has gone above and beyond by playing your favorite music or having an entertaining conversation with you.

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Uber wants you to shower your drivers with praise through its new feature, Compliments was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Motorola and HTC offering big savings on Black Friday

Posted: 21 Nov 2016 02:14 PM PST

Black Friday is quickly approaching, and both Motorola and HTC have offered up some significant sales.

Motorola is taking $250 off bundles of devices and high-end Moto Mods. The company is offering either a Hasselblad True Zoom or Moto Insta-Share Projector with a Moto Z Droid, Moto Z Force Droid, Moto Z Play Droid, unlocked Moto Z, or unlocked Moto Z Play. Each of these bundles is $250 off, with prices ranging from $499.98 to $769.99.

HTC is offering $200 off the HTC 10 (down to $499), an HTC One M9 for $300, HTC One A9 for $275, a UA band for $79, and an HTC Re camera for $75. Accessories are also 40% off.

If you want to take advantage of these deals, hit the source links!

Source: Motorola, HTC

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Best Buy Black Friday deals offering Google Home for $99

Posted: 21 Nov 2016 02:14 PM PST

Best Buy has put up its Black Friday sale brochure and there are some fantastic deals. Frankly, some of the deals are too tempting. One of them is $30 off of Google Home, bringing it down to $99. The Home is a brand new product, so it's great to be able to get it on sale already.

There are also some great deals on smartphones, like a $300 Best Buy gift card with an LG G5, $9.99 per month payments on a Moto Z Droid, and a $250 Best Buy gift card, a free Samsung Gear VR, and $50 worth of Oculus content with a Samsung Galaxy S7 or S7 edge.

There are plenty of other great deals to be had. Hit the source link and start figuring out what you're going to buy, because the sale is going on from November 24th to the 26th. Let us know what you're picking up!

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Google Play services and Firebase for Android will support API level 14 at minimum

Posted: 21 Nov 2016 12:49 PM PST

Posted by Doug Stevenson, Developer Advocate

Version 10.0.0 of the Google Play services client libraries, as well as the Firebase client libraries for Android, will be the last version of these libraries that support Android API level 9 (Android 2.3, Gingerbread). The next scheduled release of these libraries, version 10.2.0, will increase the minimum supported API level from 9 to 14 (Android 4.0.1, Ice Cream Sandwich). This change will happen in early 2017.

Why are we discontinuing support for Gingerbread and Honeycomb in Google Play services?

The Gingerbread platform is almost six years old. Many Android developers have already discontinued support for Gingerbread in their apps. This helps them build better apps that make use of the newer capabilities of the Android platform. For us, the situation is the same. By making this change, we will be able to provide a more robust collection of tools for Android developers with greater speed.

What this means for your Android app that uses Google Play services or Firebase:

You may use version 10.0.0 of Google Play services and Firebase as you are currently. It will continue to work with Gingerbread devices as it has in the past.

When you choose to upgrade to the future version 10.2.0, and if your app minimally supports API level 14 or greater (typically specified as "minSdkVersion" in your build.gradle), you will not encounter any versioning problems. However, if your app supports lower than API level 14, you will encounter a problem at build time with an error that looks like this:

Error:Execution failed for task ':app:processDebugManifest'.
> Manifest merger failed : uses-sdk:minSdkVersion 9 cannot be smaller than version 14 declared in library [com.google.android.gms:play-services:10.2.0]
Suggestion: use tools:overrideLibrary="com.google.android.gms:play_services" to force usage

Unfortunately, the stated suggestion will not help you successfully run your app on older devices. In order to use Google Play services 10.2.0 and later, you can choose one of the following options:

1. Target API level 14 as the minimum supported API level.

This is the recommended course of action. To discontinue support for API levels that will no longer receive Google Play services updates, simply increase the minSdkVersion value in your app's build.gradle to at least 14. If you update your app in this way and publish it to the Play Store, users of devices with less than that level of support will not be able to see or download the update. However, they will still be able to download and use the most recently published version of the app that does target their device.

A very small percentage of all Android devices are using API levels less than 14. You can read more about the current distribution of Android devices. We believe that many of these old devices are not actively being used.

If your app still has a significant number of users on older devices, you can use multiple APK support in Google Play to deliver an APK that uses Google Play services 10.0.0. This is described below.

2. Build multiple APKs to support devices with an API level less than 14.

Along with some configuration and code management, you can build multiple APKs that support different minimum API levels, with different versions of Google Play services. You can accomplish this with build variants in Gradle. First, define build flavors for legacy and newer versions of your app. For example, in your build.gradle, define two different product flavors, with two different compile dependencies for the components of Play Services you're using:

productFlavors {
legacy {
minSdkVersion 9
versionCode 901 // Min API level 9, v01
current {
minSdkVersion 14
versionCode 1401 // Min API level 14, v01

dependencies {
legacyCompile 'com.google.android.gms:play-services:10.0.0'
currentCompile 'com.google.android.gms:play-services:10.2.0'

In the above situation, there are two product flavors being built against two different versions of the Google Play services client libraries. This will work fine if only APIs are called that are available in the 10.0.0 library. If you need to call newer APIs made available with 10.2.0, you will have to create a compatibility library for the newer API calls so that they are only built into the version of the application that can use them:

  • Declare a Java interface that exposes the higher-level functionality you want to perform that is only available in current versions of Play services.
  • Build two Android libraries that implement that interface. The "current" implementation should call the newer APIs as desired. The "legacy" implementation should no-op or otherwise act as desired with older versions of Play services. The interface should be added to both libraries.
  • Conditionally compile each library into the app using "legacyCompile" and "currentCompile" dependencies.
  • In the app's code, call through to the compatibility library whenever newer Play APIs are required.

After building a release APK for each flavor, you then publish them both to the Play Store, and the device will update with the most appropriate version for that device. Read more about multiple APK support in the Play Store.

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The new Humble Mobile Bundle includes 15 games from HandyGames with more on the way

Posted: 21 Nov 2016 12:37 PM PST


Humble Bundle offers some excellent deals on maybe eight or nine games at a time. The new bundle being offered in cooperation with HandyGames is even more impressive. If you unlock all the tiers, this bundle includes 15 games with more to be added soon.

This is a three-tier bundle, which has been common lately. However, none of the levels are based on the average price. The bottom one is name your own price, but the second and third are $3 and $5, respectively.

Read More

The new Humble Mobile Bundle includes 15 games from HandyGames with more on the way was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Lenovo ZUK Edge Coming with Snapdragon 821, 6GB of RAM

Posted: 21 Nov 2016 12:35 PM PST


Lenovo might be done making self-branded phones and is now betting it all on Moto, but some of you might have forgotten about the company sub-brand ZUK which is also making handsets.

Apparently ZUK will soon be taking on the Galaxy S7 edge, with a new product called the ZUK Edge. The phone should take advantage of a dual-edged displays like Samsung's iconic flagship, but it remains to be seen if that will be the case.

Now the folks of Android Pure claim to have gotten ahold of a screenshot Lenovo's Vice president posted on Weibo. It shows the "About Phone" section on the ZUK Edge thus revealing some of the phone's specs.

According to previous rumours, the Galaxy S7 edge competitor will come equipped with a 5.5-inch display with 1080 x 1920 pixel resolution. Now we ca add a powerful Snapdragon 821 with a quad-core 2.15GHz CPU will be breathing life from under the hood and into the phone. ZUK is expected to throw in 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage.

There aren't many smartphones featuring 6GB of RAM in the wild like the OnePlus 3/OnePlus 3T, Vivo xPlay 6 and the ZUK Edge will soon be joining the bandwagon.

Other specs include a 13MP/8MP camera combo an Android 7.0 Nougat with the company's own ZUI 2.5.081 interface running on top. It seems the ZUK Edge is shaping up to be an interesting phone. There's no word on the price yet.

It's worth mentioning that previous leak have the ZUK Edge launching with a Snapdragon 821 clocked at 2.3GHz, 4GB of RAM, 32GB/64GB of internal storage and Android 6.0 Marshmallow. But given that the current screenshot comes from a ZUK executive, we are inclined to believe in its authenticity.

[Android Pure]

The post Lenovo ZUK Edge Coming with Snapdragon 821, 6GB of RAM appeared first on Android in Canada Blog.

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Huawei Mate 9 Lite Offers Watered Down Specs, Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow

Posted: 21 Nov 2016 12:35 PM PST


Huawei unveiled the powerful Mate 9 flagship not so long ago, but if you don't require all that power, the company is now offering an alternative.

Enter the lower specced, Mate 9 Lite comes with a 5.5-inch display with full HD resolution (1080 x 1920 pixels). On the inside lies a Kirin 655 chipset clocked at 2.1GHz working hand in hand with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage.


If you feel like you need more in terms of storage and computing power, Huawei also offers the 4GB of RAM plus 64GB of internal storage variant.


Interestingly enough, the Mate 9 retains the dual-camera setup (no Leica sensor however) which features a 12MP+2MP camera combination. As for selfies there's an 8MP snapper living up in front.

The handset takes advantage of a decent 3,400 mAh battery and has a fingerprint sensor nestled on the back below the cameras.


Sadly, unlike the fully fledged Mate 9, the Mate 9 Lite does not come with Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box, but with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, which is pretty sad.


The phone will be sold in three color versions including Gold, Gray and Silver. Pricing and availability haven't been revealed yet, but it's pretty sensible to assume the phones will go live in China first.


The post Huawei Mate 9 Lite Offers Watered Down Specs, Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow appeared first on Android in Canada Blog.

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Android 7.0 Nougat rolling out for Moto Z and Moto Z Force

Posted: 21 Nov 2016 12:29 PM PST

Lenovo has announced that its two flagship devices, the Moto Z and Moto Z Force, are now receiving an update to Android 7.0 Nougat. This makes Motorola one of the first carriers to begin releasing updates to the latest version of Google's Android operating system. The company previously announced that it had plans to release the Nougat update for these devices before the end of the year, and this news makes good on that promise.

Additionally, both the Moto Z and Moto Z Force have become the first non-Google phones to become Daydream certified. This ensures that the devices will provide a great experience through VR due to their high-resolution displays, smooth frame rates, and precise motion sensors. With the release of the Daydream VR headset, it's becoming even easier to experience virtual reality.

The update is now rolling out globally, though rollout times may vary by country and carrier. More specific details will be made available through Motorola's software upgrades page.

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Google upgrades Popular Times to show real-time results

Posted: 21 Nov 2016 12:29 PM PST

When looking up a business, knowing when it's busy can help determine when you want to swing by. Google wanted to help with that when it rolled out its Popular Times feature last year, and now it's getting a worthwhile upgrade.

Google has confirmed that it is updating Popular Times to provide real-time information. The new feature is baked right into the current Popular Times card when searching for a business, so it will show how busy the place is right then and there, but you'll still be able to see when it might not be so busy later in the day. The updated feature also shows how long customers usually stick around.

On top of that, Google will now show dedicated hours for different departments or sections within a particular store. So if your local big box retailer has different sections within it, like a pharmacy, Google will now show the independent hours that section might run on, different from the overall store's hours.

The rollout for the new Popular Times is probably not a coincidence with Black Friday right around the corner, and the overall uptick in shopping with the holidays about to really kick off.

Do you use the Popular Times feature at all?

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Google Maps gets one step closer to omniscience, adds live place busyness, average stay times, more detailed business hours

Posted: 21 Nov 2016 10:57 AM PST


Google has announced this morning that the live place data feature one of our APK teardowns hinted at last month is now official. The feature will allow you to see an estimate of how busy a business or point of interest is right now, which, let's just stop and think about how completely insane the future is for a minute. Your phone can tell you how many people, relatively, are at a place.

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Google Maps gets one step closer to omniscience, adds live place busyness, average stay times, more detailed business hours was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Contextual App Folder will show you apps based on context triggers

Posted: 21 Nov 2016 10:17 AM PST


We've all heard of contextual launchers - launchers which change what they do or show based on time of day, weather, your calendar, your location, or any other context. However, ts-apps, the maker of AppSales, has a new app in an unreleased, beta state, named Contextual App Folder (CAF), which is a folder which uses context to determine what to show. But what makes it special is the fact that it is a widget, for any launcher or situation.

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Contextual App Folder will show you apps based on context triggers was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Instagram announces Live Video on stories, disappearing photos and video in direct messages

Posted: 21 Nov 2016 09:12 AM PST


Instagram, once a social network dedicated purely to posting pictures of food, has become prone to feature creep (not unlike Facebook's other properties). Back in August Instagram added Snapchat-like stories, and earlier this month added Boomerang support. Today the company announced two new features for the app - Live video on Instagram stories, and disappearing photos/videos in direct messages.

The live video feature is almost a direct clone of Periscope, complete with sending hearts to the broadcaster by tapping the screen.

Read More

Instagram announces Live Video on stories, disappearing photos and video in direct messages was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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ZTE’s enhanced Axon 7 adds more features to the powerful smartphone

Posted: 21 Nov 2016 08:19 AM PST

Chinese manufacturer ZTE has announced an enhanced version of its powerful Axon 7 smartphone. This new version packs in three major improvements that add increased benefits to the powerhouse device. Notably, the enhanced Axon 7 features 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. These are increases from 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage in the standard model.

Additionally, ZTE has added Force Touch technology, which allows the display to sense pressure levels and react in different ways. This is the first time that ZTE has used Force Touch in a US device, though customers are aware of the functionality due to Apple's recent iPhones implementing the same technology.

Other specs of the Axon 7 remain the same, such as a 5.5-inch QHD display, Snapdragon 820 processor, Hi-Fi audio and dual stereo speakers, and a 20-megapixel camera with f/1.8 aperture. This enhanced version of the Axon 7 is available in limited quantities through ZTE's website and can be purchased for $499.98.

Show Press Release
Richardson, Texas – November 21, 2016 –– ZTE USA, the fourth largest smartphone supplier in the U.S. and second largest in the no-contract market,* today announced the availability of a new variant of its award winning Axon 7 that includes 6GB of RAM, 128GB of ROM and Force Touch capabilities creating the ultimate premium handset. This Axon 7 version is available in limited qualities and can be purchased at a price of $499.98 only at www.zteusa.com.

"As ZTE continuously receives and listens to consumer feedback, we're providing an option for those that love the Axon 7 to experience it on an optimized and enhanced level," said Lixin Cheng, chairman and CEO of ZTE USA. "As the first ZTE device to arrive in the U.S. with Force Touch technology, the Axon 7 lineup continues to showcase ZTE's innovation in the handset market."

Consumers can now enjoy all of the same features that they appreciate in the Axon 7 with the added capabilities of Force Touch, and additional memory and storage to enhance performance. This new Axon 7 variant joins the lineup of both the original Axon 7 and the Axon 7 Mini offering consumers more choices in which flagship device meets their needs.

The staple features you love, supplemented and enhanced

• Force Touch technology for a more intuitive user experience
• Optimal performance with 6 GB RAM and 128 GB ROM
• The same premium Hi-Fi audio consumers know and love from the Axon 7

For full list of phone specifications and features visit www.zteusa.com/Axon7.

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Android Wear may soon support Android Pay

Posted: 21 Nov 2016 08:19 AM PST

For the folks out there who want to use their Android Wear smartwatch to pay for things instead of having to pull out their phone, that feature may be arriving soon.

According to information discovered by Android Police, Google is testing the feature in late stages right now. Strings pertaining to user interface tweaks which would support using Android Pay on an Android Wear-based wearable have been discovered in the Google Play Services v10.0 APK. It shows that Google is prepping Android Pay support for Android Wear, so that owners can simply hold their smartwatch over a payment terminal.

The arrival of the feature has been a long time coming, to be sure, especially considering Samsung and Apple already have support for mobile payments on a smartwatch. It's likely that mobile payments will be a standout feature for Android Wear 2.0 when it launches early next year.

However, you may need a new smartwatch to take advantage of the feature since that not many current Android Wear smartwatches support NFC. The ASUS ZenWatch devices include NFC, but popular models like ones from Motorola and Huawei and others will need to be updated with NFC if potential buyers want to use the device for mobile payments.

Are you looking forward to Android Pay support on Android Wear?

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Top 5 most popular Android apps from last week: YouTube VR, PhotoScan

Posted: 21 Nov 2016 08:19 AM PST

Every week we cover new Android apps with Fresh Meat on Wednesday, followed by Android Gaming on Thursday and Top 10 App Updates on Friday. When Monday rolls around, we look back to see which apps were the most appealing to our audience. Read on for the five most popular Android apps from last week. These apps are ones that are most likely new and haven't appeared in the top five list more than three times.

1. PhotoScan by Google Photos


App info: PhotoScan is a new scanner app from Google Photos that lets you scan and save your favorite printed photos using your phone's camera.


2. Microsoft Selfie

Microsoft Selfie

App info: Fast, easy and natural! Microsoft Selfie is a selfie and photo-enhancement application available on Android, iOS and web.


3. Fingerprint Gestures

Fingerprint Gestures

App info: Enable the fingerprint actions of Google Pixel on your device. Use gestures like single tap, double tap, or fast tap (swipe) to control your phone and/or tablet.


4. Galaga Wars

Galaga Wars

App info: The survival of the universe is once more at stake. They have an alien motherfeet of immense proportions, endless waves of ships bristling with high-tech weaponry and of course the sheer power of the boss Galaga…


5. YouTube VR

YouTube VR

App info: The YouTube VR app turns every video on the platform into your own virtual reality experience and reimagines YouTube as a 3D world you can explore from the inside. Available first on Daydream View.


Note:  To ensure that all apps receive a fair chance to make the list, we will retire any app that has made the list for three consecutive weeks.

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Android Pay v1.10 includes clues about a promotional "game" with real prizes [APK Teardown]

Posted: 21 Nov 2016 04:32 AM PST


Most teardowns show a list of fairly predictable features or changes, but every once in a while something will turn up that isn't so expected. A look inside the recently released Android Pay v1.10 update is a good example. The typical things can be found, like a line about a second tier for loyalty programs and some stuff to encourage users to visit nearby vendors, but the really interesting bit is some text about a "game" that may have real prizes.

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Android Pay v1.10 includes clues about a promotional "game" with real prizes [APK Teardown] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Google Play services v10.0 prepares for Tap 'n Pay with Android Wear and makes progress on Instant Apps [APK Teardown]

Posted: 20 Nov 2016 03:57 PM PST


As we close in on the end of the year, Google's developers are lining things up for possible late-2016 launches or preparing to test features they plan to launch next year. With the rollout of Google Play services v10.0, a couple of those things stand out as current projects. There is final testing has begun for Instant Apps, Google's way to give users a way to use apps without actually installing them.

Read More

Google Play services v10.0 prepares for Tap 'n Pay with Android Wear and makes progress on Instant Apps [APK Teardown] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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