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Thursday, December 15, 2016

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Upgrading SMS for Rogers customers on Android

Posted: 15 Dec 2016 04:08 PM PST

Android Pay says “hajimemashite”

Posted: 15 Dec 2016 04:08 PM PST

Most Wanted: Android Police's top five apps of 2016

Posted: 15 Dec 2016 02:31 PM PST

apps headerAndroid has been around for eight years now. It's the most-used operating system on the planet, and it's helped spearhead a revolution in mobile access and capability. That being the case, it shouldn't surprise anyone if the truly mind-blowing new apps aren't exactly thick on the ground anymore. This year's crop of apps aren't especially amazing, but each one exhibits new functionality for users that wasn't accessible (or at least practical) before.

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Most Wanted: Android Police's top five apps of 2016 was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Verizon will disable the Galaxy Note 7 after all, update coming January 5

Posted: 15 Dec 2016 02:08 PM PST

This month, Samsung revealed that it would send out an update that would disable the Galaxy Note 7 units left in the US, and the carriers confirmed that they'd be releasing this update to their customers. Except Verizon Wireless, which said that it would not be sending out the update to disable Galaxy Note 7 units because it didn't want to leave customers without a working phone, especially with the holidays looming.

Now Verizon has changed its mind. Verizon says that it will send out the update disabling the Galaxy Note 7 on January 5, 2017, per Verizon's GN7 FAQ page.

Here's the full statement from the carrier:

"Samsung will be releasing a Note7 software update on December 19. This update prevents the device from charging and eliminates the ability for it to work as a mobile device.

Verizon will not be pushing this software update to your device until January 5, 2017. We want to make sure you can contact family, first responders, and emergency medical professionals during the holiday travel season.

However, we urge you to stop using your Note7, upgrade it to another device, and return the Note7 to us."

Samsung's recall is still underway, and while this is probably not the best news for anyone who decided to keep their Galaxy Note 7, the possibility of exchanging it for something else is still available.

If you exchanged your Galaxy Note 7, which device did you go with instead?

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Get a glimpse of Wear 2.0’s upcoming standalone apps

Posted: 15 Dec 2016 01:38 PM PST

Kacey Fahey, Marketing Programs Manager, Google Play

The upcoming Android Wear 2.0 experience will introduce standalone apps, expanding your potential reach to both Android and iOS audiences with Wear devices. Users will be able to search, install, and use apps without ever leaving their device. See how other developers are enhancing their user experience with standalone apps for messaging, travel & local, and health & fitness.


Having a watch app further simplifies video messaging with Glide. Using the Wear Complications API, Glide is now able to live broadcast directly from the watch face. By tapping contact shortcuts from the watch face, you can now launch directly into a conversation. This experience brings speed and intimacy to the world of messaging, making wrist-based communication more accessible and effortless.

Travelers around the world use Foursquare's Android Wear app to discover hidden gems and be in the know about the best places to eat, drink and explore. With their upcoming 2.0 app, the team has a clean new canvas for rich notifications giving users an immersive experience with Foursquare content.

"The standalone nature of the Android Wear 2.0 app will offer a big boost in search performance and app responsiveness so you spend less time staring at the screen and more time exploring the world around you," said Kyle Fowler, Software Engineer at Foursquare.

Lifesum helps users make better food choices, improve their exercise, and reach health goals. The upcoming 2.0 experience complements the existing Lifesum mobile app and as a standalone app, it will allow users to more easily track water and meals throughout the day.

"It's all about increasing access and being there for the user in a quick and simple way. We believe a simplified way of tracking meals and water will make it easier for our users on their journey of becoming healthier and happier," said Joakim Hammer, Android Developer at Lifesum

Check out g.co/wearpreview for the latest builds and documentation about the recently released Android Wear Developer Preview 4.
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TCL will officially manufacture and sell BlackBerry devices

Posted: 15 Dec 2016 12:57 PM PST

A partnership with TCL has already been in place with BlackBerry, seeing as the DTEK50 and DTEK60 devices use TCL's designs, but now everything is official.

Today BlackBerry announced that it has entered into a long-term licensing agreement with TCL Communication. With the agreement in place, BlackBerry will dole out its brand assets, security software, and service suits to TCL. With those things, TCL will manufacture, sell, and provide customer support for BlackBerry devices.

For what it's worth, BlackBerry confirms that it will continue to work on the software side of things, including security endeavors. TCL will simply be handling the hardware side of things.

This would effectively mark the end of BlackBerry's efforts in the smartphone manufacturing market, as it focuses primarily on software from here on out.

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Amazon Prime Video Lands in Canada, Free with Prime Subscriptions

Posted: 15 Dec 2016 12:09 PM PST


Not a fan of Netflix for some reason? Then you should be happy to know that Amazon Prime Video has launched in Canada.

The on-demand streaming video service offers TV shows and movie lovers access to original titles like The Grand Tour, Transparent, Mozart in the Jungle, The Man in the High Castle. Beyond that users can also watch popular shows like Fear The Walking Dead, Community, Justified and Brides Maids.

Note that in order to be able to enjoy all the video content, you will have to have an Amazon Prime subscriber.

Amazon Prime costs $79 CAD a year and for this amount of money you'll get access to free two-day shipping on lots of products on the company's website and free same-day shipping in Toronto and Vancouver. So order your gifts now without worrying they won't make it under the Christmas tree.

We should note that just like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video also supports offline streaming. However offline viewing is only available for 48-hour viewing period. On top of that, there's a "Data Saver" feature allows users to have control over data usage while downloading and watching video.

What's more Amazon throws in a free of charge 30-day Prime trial, hoping to capture the interest of more users. The library is limited at launch, but this is a start and should be welcomed by 'cord cutters' in Canada.


The post Amazon Prime Video Lands in Canada, Free with Prime Subscriptions appeared first on Android in Canada Blog.

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Samsung Pay to Come Pre-Installed On Most Samsung Phones in 2017

Posted: 15 Dec 2016 12:09 PM PST


Samsung's mobile payment service, Samsung Pay has been well received by users. However, the service is currently available on a limited number of devices and they are mostly premium phones.

But the good news is that Samsung is planning to make the service widely available. According to a new report surfacing from South Korea, come 2017 almost all Samsung phones will come with Samsung Pay pre-installed regardless of whether they are high-end or middle range.

This means that most of upcoming Samsung lower to middle range phones will be fitted with a fingerprint scanner in 2017 thus allowing them to offer the Samsung Pay option.

What's more Samsung is said to be looking at the possibility of expanding the reach of Samsung Pay even more by releasing an Android app in the Google Play Store next year. Samsung Pay has been limited to a handful of Galaxy phones, but in a few months we could see the service running on Android phones too. That's pretty neat, right?

Samsung Pay is already available for Canadian users, although limited to owners of VISA credit cards from CIBC. However, more cards and more banks are expected to be added soon. Samsung Pay recently made its debut in Japan, a smartphone market dominated by Apple and the iPhone–and Apple Pay.

[Business Korea]

The post Samsung Pay to Come Pre-Installed On Most Samsung Phones in 2017 appeared first on Android in Canada Blog.

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Top 10 New Android Games This Week: Solitairica, RingoWord

Posted: 15 Dec 2016 12:02 PM PST

Welcome back to Android Gaming Weekly, our weekly recap of new game releases. We still plan to cover upcoming releases and games we're playing, but this column is dedicated to new games that you can start playing right now. Check out our top picks and let us know in the comments section if you have any suggestions for next week's post.


DescriptionRunGunJumpGun is a tough as nails game that puts a gravity-defying weapon in your hands. One button lets you fly, the other blasts obstacles out of the way. With a cast of crazed characters, challenging gameplay, and a pulsing musical score, it delivers twitchy platforming goodness.



DescriptionRingoWord is addictive and exciting word game where players' task is to quickly figure out where the word starts within the circle. Sounds like an easy job, but trying to spot the right words is a challenge. Search for the word in clock- or counter-wise with simple one-touch controls.


Road Not Taken

DescriptionRoad Not Taken is a puzzle game about surviving life's surprises. You play as a ranger adventuring through a vast, unforgiving forest in the aftermath of a brutal winter storm, rescuing children who have lost their way. Randomly generated levels deliver a limitless supply of possibilities to explore and challenges to overcome.


Retro Winter Sports 1986

DescriptionAn ancient legend, a cursed castle surrounded by brambles, a forest inhabited by funny enchanted creatures and a sweet princess sleeping in it. And, obviously, a fearless prince! This is what Little Briar Rose is made out of. In this particular stained glass-styled graphic adventure the player will help a whole dynasty of princes complete their quest.


Call Of Last Agent (COLA)-FPS

Description Experience the newest innovations in mobile FPS! New shooting method using camera as button. Can simultaneously control shooting, aiming, and movement for delicate control. Console game level weapon details and simulation. Each weapon gives a real feeling of their characteristics. Shooting recoil, shooting motion, running motions, and distinct firing sounds per weapon.


Creature Battle Lab

Description: Enter the world of Creature Battle Lab and experience mad science and crazy fun! Study with Professor Helix and discover the art of genetic creature splicing. Mix up molecules and experiment with DNA to create the ultimate team of fearsome/cute/weird battling creatures.


Shadow Bug

DescriptionYou are the overpowered ninja hero Shadow Bug! Save your home forest from the evil factory by slicing monsters to pieces. TAP ON THE MONSTER! Leap, slash, splash! One finger is all you need. Become the ultimate ninja and adventure through beautiful and twisted landscapes full of action and adventure.


The Cursed Ship®

Description: Search every deck of the gigantic ship for clues, solve challenging puzzles and master entertaining mini-games on your way to the breathtaking truth! Over 100 quests to solve. 66 amazing locations to search. 43 fun puzzles and mini-games.



DescriptionSolitairica takes RPG combat and challenging rogue-like progression to a fresh new place—the world of solitaire! Gather your weapons and prepare to battle the armies of Stuck. In the land of Myriodd, all of the hearts have been stolen by the horrible Emperor Stuck, and you are the latest warrior brave enough to try to return them, saving the world from total heartless destruction!


Lifeline: Halfway to Infinity

DescriptionTaylor's journey continues! Deep in the isolated vacuum of space, trapped in orbit around a strange black hole, our intrepid astronaut must once again reach out for a lifeline – YOU! Inside the spaceship Veridian, Taylor thought it was time for some hard-earned quiet solitude and a little R&R, but a very unexpected guest has other plans…


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Tips to be better found and discovered on Google Play

Posted: 15 Dec 2016 11:23 AM PST

Posted by Andrew Ahn, Product Manager, Google Play

We're constantly working on ways to make Google Play a great place for users to discover apps and games they'll love. We know this is crucial to most developers ongoing success. There are steps you can take to ensure your app is primed for success – that's why we're sharing a reminder of some of our top tips for getting your app discovered on Google Play.

Build for quality

First, build for quality. Android users expect high-quality apps. App quality directly influences the long-term success of your app - in terms of installs, user rating and reviews, engagement, and user retention. These are some of the factors that go into our search and discovery systems that help discern what apps to recommend and surface across our Google Play experiences. When building your app, check against the quality criteria, and use what you need from the material design guidelines to make sure you are delivering a highly usable experience. Also, be sure to test your app for functional quality. Opt-in to the pre-launch report for your alpha and beta apps in the Google Play Developer Console and you'll receive a report for each APK showing how it performs on real devices. This will help you identify crashes and other issues before you release your app.

Example: Designing for high usability through Google Material Design.

Request only the permissions you need

Second, be considerate on which permission settings to enable for your app. We see that there are some apps that ask for very sensitive permissions, even when the app doesn't use them. (For example, a camera app asking for read and write permissions to call logs.) Excessive app permissions may dissuade users from installing your app. In fact, one study, in which users were shown two unbranded apps with similar ratings that had the same functionality but different sets of permission requests, showed that users were, on average, 3 times more likely to install the app with fewer permissions requests. And a similar study showed that users are 1.7 times more likely, on average, to select the application with fewer permission requests. The rule of thumb is to enable permissions that are only essential to your app. Read the best practices for app permissions.

Chart: Distribution of permission groups use across Arcade Games category.

If you're building an arcade game, you many only need a very few permission settings, if any.

Listen and respond to your users

Lastly, be attentive to user feedback. It's ultimately the users who drive our search and discovery systems. When you hear user feedback about bugs or other issues, we recommend engaging with the feedback and, if needed, updating your app in a timely manner. Having an up-to-date app that reflects your user's feedback can help you gain more installs, engagement, and higher ratings. Beta testing is a good way to get feedback from real users before launch. You can also check the ratings and reviews section of the Developer Console to see an analysis of what users are saying about your app and how that is affecting your rating compared to similar apps.

Review benchmarks in the Developer Console uses machine learning to give you insights about what users are saying about your app and how it affects your rating.

Google Play strives to help users find and discover the most safe, high quality, useful, and relevant apps. Building apps that put user's interest first will help you be successful in Google Play. For more tips and best practices for building a successful app business on Google Play, get the Playbook for Developers app.

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[Update: Email/SMS via labels too] Google Contacts 1.6 adds new Suggestions screen, updated icon, pull-to-refresh, and more [APK Download]

Posted: 15 Dec 2016 10:51 AM PST

  • Google Contacts has supported grouping contacts by labels for a while now, but there's a new feature in Contacts 1.6 for them. By pressing the overflow menu while viewing a

The Android application for Google Contacts has mostly been neglected over the years, but back in August, the 1.5 update introduced an updated interface and new abilities. Contacts 1.6 is now available from the Play Store and APKMirror, with a new icon and a few important changes.

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[Update: Email/SMS via labels too] Google Contacts 1.6 adds new Suggestions screen, updated icon, pull-to-refresh, and more [APK Download] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Mint app updated with bill tracking and payment

Posted: 15 Dec 2016 10:46 AM PST

Mint has been on Android for years, long before it was acquired by Intuit. It's always been able to track your money, but bills are a more tricky matter. The service recently added bill tracking and payment to its list of features, and now the Android app has been updated to take advantage of it.

The changelog in the Play Store is just some cheerleading about how cool bill pay is.

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Mint app updated with bill tracking and payment was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Project Fi’s Travel Trolley is a brilliant marketing ploy

Posted: 15 Dec 2016 09:42 AM PST

Google's cell network, Project Fi, is unique in a number of different respects, so it's fitting that Google would use unconventional means to advertise the network. In an opportune time to catch holiday traffic, Google has placed a Project Fi Travel Trolley in the San Jose Airport. This Travel Trolley is a vending machine filled with free travel items for Project Fi customers.

Project Fi Travel Trolley

To utilize the feature, users enter a special code into the dialer and place the call. This generates a unique QR code on the device's screen, which can then be scanned by the Travel Trolley. From there, users choose their item and the machine gives it to them at no cost. The machine can be used once every 24 hours, and the current Travel Trolley is located in Terminal B of the San Jose Airport, across from Gate 25.

Guerilla marketing tactics can prove to be very effective, both with current and potential customers. By offering freebies to customers just for being customers, Google is entering the same realm as T-Mobile, which has found great success in offering bonus value to customers. Though Project Fi remains limited in its device selection, it's going to be intriguing to see how the service expands and grows.

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Verizon offering free flagship smartphones with trade-in

Posted: 15 Dec 2016 09:42 AM PST

Verizon is offering another trade-in offer that can get subscribers a new flagship device for free.

Beginning today, December 15, Verizon is offering a variety of different premium devices for free with qualifying trade-in. The devices up for grabs this time include the LG V20, Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, Samsung Galaxy S7, Moto Z Droid, Moto Z Droid Force, Google Pixel, and the Google Pixel XL. (The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are being offered as well.)

If you want the iPhone 7, Moto Z Droid, Google Pixel, or the Galaxy S7, you'll need to trade in one of these handsets:

  • Samsung Galaxy S7
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
  • Samsung Galaxy S6
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 5
  • LG G5
  • LG V10
  • Motorola DROID Turbo 2
  • HTC 10
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus

Or, if you prefer to pick up the iPhone 7 Plus, Google Pixel XL, Moto Z Droid Force, or Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, you'll need to trade in one of these devices:

  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
  • iPhone 7 Plus

One final note: You'll need to pick up your new flagship with an installment plan, and Verizon will then credit your bill the monthly price for that handset until it's paid off.

Do you plan on taking advantage of this deal?

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T-Mobile offering a free year of DirecTV Now to AT&T switchers

Posted: 15 Dec 2016 08:45 AM PST

T-Mobile's spirit of giving continues through the holiday season, with a special gift for AT&T customers who want to switch to the Un-carrier.

T-Mobile has announced a new promotion that will give customers that switch from AT&T one year's worth of free DirecTV Now. It works like this: Switch from AT&T and sign up with T-Mobile with two lines on the T-Mobile One plan. Once you're signed up, the Un-carrier will dole out $35 monthly credits for 12 months.

That $35 is normally enough to cover the base plan, but AT&T is running a promotion for DirecTV Now that offers new customers the 100 channel package that normally costs $65 per month for only $35 per month.

T-Mobile also says the promotion can't be combined with other promos, so keep that in mind.

One additional part of the announcement is that T-Mobile Simple Choice customers can stream DirecTV Now as part of the wireless carrier's Binge On feature, so it won't impact their data.

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Kickstarter open sources its Android and iOS apps

Posted: 15 Dec 2016 08:39 AM PST

For the longest time, Kickstarter was only accessible as a website without any official mobile apps. Then came the iOS app and it wasn't until January of 2016 that we saw the first release of the Android app. Since then, this app has been updated, improved, and gained a lot of functionality. But today marks a different milestone in its history: the team at Kickstarter is open sourcing it along with the iOS app.

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Kickstarter open sources its Android and iOS apps was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Need for Speed VR for Google Daydream is now live

Posted: 15 Dec 2016 08:39 AM PST

Google trotted out a number of new Daydream titles the other day, one of which was supposed to be Need for Speed VR. However, the actual release of the game lagged behind all the others. Now, it's available, and the price is a little lower than what Google originally quoted. It's not cheap, but for $15 it's probably the most ambitious Daydream game yet.

Unlike other Need for Speed games, this one emphasizes the driver-seat view.

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Need for Speed VR for Google Daydream is now live was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Fresh Meat: 10 new Android apps worth checking out

Posted: 15 Dec 2016 06:02 AM PST

New apps need lovin' too, right? Every day there are thousands of additions to the Google Play store, but many go unnoticed and never receive the attention they deserve. We've shown in the past that this community can discover great apps and propel them to new heights. Our weekly Fresh Meat column highlights new apps with fewer than 100,000 installs. Browse our new Android app picks below and let us know which ones you enjoy.



Description: Transparency shows you details about participating product's origins, including the manufacturing date and location. How do I use it? Every item with a Transparency label includes a unique code that can be used to track product information.


Gfycat Loops: GIF Cam+Recorder

Gfycat Loops

DescriptionWith Gfycat Loops, it's now easier than ever before to create and share high-quality GIFs on the go! If you have awesome videos that you'd like to turn into GIFs or you'd like to GIF your best Pokemon highlight, Gfycat Loops is your go-to app for all this and more.




DescriptionHBO NOW VR is the virtual reality feature that gives you all of HBO on Daydream-supported Android devices to watch your favorite shows and movies in a virtual reality experience. HBO NOW VR is available to HBO NOW subscribers and is available at no additional cost.


Netflix VR

Netflix VR

DescriptionEnjoy TV shows and movies, including award-winning Netflix original series, movies, and documentaries. With Netflix, you can watch all you want anytime, anywhere. The more you watch, the better Netflix gets at recommending TV shows and movies that you'll love—just for you.




DescriptionHBO GO VR is the virtual reality feature that gives you all of HBO on Daydream-supported Android devices to watch your favorite shows and movies in a virtual reality experience.


Yahooo Answers Now

Yahooo Answers Now

DescriptionYahoo Answers Now is a new Q&A app that gets you quick advice and honest answers to questions that a regular web search just can't solve. Get real answers from real people when you really need it!




Description Accu​Battery measures the actual battery usage using information from the battery charge controller. Battery usage per app is determined by combining these measurements with information on which app is in the foreground.


Friendly for Facebook

Friendly for Facebook

DescriptionFriendly is the most complete Facebook and FB Messenger alternative. Built as an extension of the light Facebook mobile website, it will preserve your battery, storage and data, while giving you back control over your news feed.




DescriptionThe DIGITS app for Android lets beta participants: Make and recieve calls with your DIGITS on any Andorid device. Send and recieve text messages with your DIGITS on any Android device. Use up to 5 DIGITS on any Android device. Turn ON and OFF your DIGITS at any time. Access your texts, voicemail, and call histrory from any Andorid device.


EvGenie Preview

EvGenie Preview

DescriptionUsing EvGenie, you can: Create instant events or schedule them Invite your friends and colleagues and give them appropriates roles & permissions. Sync events across your devices (smartphones, tablets, PCs) View your schedule either as a list, as a customized calendar or on a map. Contribute, discuss, like and moderate contributions within an event.


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Google Maps v9.43 beta adds a shortcut to contributions and changes a couple notification settings, prepares to offer recommendations from the menu and more [APK Teardown + Download]

Posted: 15 Dec 2016 04:06 AM PST


There's an update for Google Maps v9.43 rolling out to beta testers. This one isn't loaded with changes, but there are a few things worth checking out in this release. There have been a couple of changes to the notification options in the Settings screen and a new home screen shortcut is now available. A deeper look through a teardown reveals plans to display recommended dishes from the menu. There is also some follow-up to an odd teardown topic from a few weeks ago.

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Google Maps v9.43 beta adds a shortcut to contributions and changes a couple notification settings, prepares to offer recommendations from the menu and more [APK Teardown + Download] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Latest Box update adds the ability to upload folders

Posted: 14 Dec 2016 06:51 PM PST

Cloud storage and file syncing apps seem like a dime a dozen these days. That is not necessarily a bad thing, since choice is one of the best things about technology in general. Each of us here at AP have our own preferences for which services we use — most of us use multiple offerings, actually. One of the biggest names you will hear about is Box, and its Android app got updated to allow for uploading entire folders from your device.

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Latest Box update adds the ability to upload folders was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Snapchat 9.45 adds group chats, new filters on Memories, and Shazam integration for some reason

Posted: 14 Dec 2016 05:01 PM PST

If you're still putting up with the unoptimized mess that is the Android Snapchat application (unless you have a very speedy phone), you might be excited to hear that the 9.45 update is now available. No, it doesn't make using the app any less painful, but there's some new features to enjoy.

Snapchat has included basic chat functionality for some time, but only now has got around to supporting group chats. You can start a group while sending a Snap or a normal message, and you can even name the group. All messages and Snaps in group chats are deleted after 24 hours, and Snaps sent to a group can only be played once (not counting one replay).

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Snapchat 9.45 adds group chats, new filters on Memories, and Shazam integration for some reason was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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