Headlines

1 week ago

Google Docs, Sheets and Slides gain collaborative commenting feature on Android devices

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The Google Docs, Sheets and Slides Android apps gained collaborative commenting, which allows multiple users to add comments to keep everyone on the same page. The new feature, which will work on both Android and iOS devices, will allow co-workers to easily manage documents, make revisions, and ensure everyone is pleased with the outcome. New teammates can be added to the conversation by typing their name in a comment.

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1 week ago

Exploring and socializing with AltspaceVR on the Samsung Gear VR

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There's a deeply social aspect to VR, you just have to know where to look.

Samsung Gear VR users know that almost everything you do in that environment happens in the Oculus Store unless you sideload something, and currently the list of things worth sideloading are either seriously underdeveloped or deep in Adult Content territory. The one noticeable exception to this right now is the Altspace VR beta, an alternative VR experience that focuses on a deeply social experience.

Here's a quick look at AltspaceVR Beta on the Samsung Gear VR.

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1 week ago

You can now 'thumbs up' individual app reviews in the Google Play app

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If you've wanted a way to show someone that their review of a particular app helped you, you'll be happy to see that you can now 'thumbs up' a review from the Google Play app. That's right, if you come across a review that you find worthy of being thanked, or liked, or acknowledged positively in some fashion, you can now do so right from your phone. To find helpful reviews, you can sort them by most helpful first, newest first or have the highest rated show up first. Previously, you were only able to use the button on the web, so it's great to see that make its way to the mobile app.

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2 weeks ago

Hangouts update brings notification quick replies, design tweaks and more

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Hangouts has received a pretty nifty update that introduces some interface tweaks along with a long-requested feature: quick replies from notifications.

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2 weeks ago

Snapchat update brings video rewind filter to Android

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Ephemeral messaging favorite Snapchat has received an update that brings the addition of the long-awaited Rewind filter to Android users.

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2 weeks ago

Inbox by Gmail now lets you find the information you need even faster

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The latest Inbox by Gmail update brings some big improvements to the way search within the app works, allowing you to find the information you need even faster. Often times, the information we need is buried within a chain of emails, and finding it can be difficult, but Google is looking to change that. Now, when searching for a membership number or tracking information for a package, you'll be presented quick answer cards that show you the applicable information, not just the chain of emails.

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2 weeks ago

Opera Mini update brings improved language support, download manager and more

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Opera Mini, one of the popular browser replacements for Android, has been updated with support for many new languages, improvements to the download manager and more. Following this update, the browser now supports 90 languages for you to choose from, with the most common language in your country being shown at the top of the list.

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2 weeks ago

Goosebumps VR takes you on a wild ride while trying to escape the giant praying mantis

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If you've ever wanted to try and escape a giant praying mantis in virtual reality, you'll want to check out Goosebumps VR immediately. Whether you have a virtual reality viewer, like Google Cardboard or not, you'll be able to use the app without issue. Once installed, you'll select 360 video to participate without a viewer, or virtual reality to participate with one. You'll then need to be sitting down, and prepared to follow the instructions on the display.

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2 weeks ago

Spotify will add video content to its Android app this week

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Spotify Android users in some markets will be able to watch videos, in addition to streaming music, later this week. The app will be updated to support video content for users in the U.S., the UK, Germany and Sweden.

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2 weeks ago

What we need from YouTube Music, two months on

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I had high hopes for YouTube Music. They have not been met.

I'm a big music fan. I was happy when I could finally listen to that music with the screen of my phone off in the YouTube app. I was even happier once we got a dedicated YouTube Music app launched for users like me who could honestly listen to YouTube for hours.

And while YouTube Music is usable, it is not nearly ready for heavy listeners like me, especially users who like to have some control over their music.

Here's what needs to be done.

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2 weeks ago

AC editors' apps of the week: Crashlands, Touchnote, Folio and more

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Our weekly app picks

It's Appday Sunday and that means we're back with more of our favorites to share. Every week we bring a handful of great apps to the table and share them with everyone. Sometimes they are new apps, sometimes old standards, but every time they are apps we love to use.

Give these a look and then take a minute to tell us all about the apps you are using and love so we can give them a try. We all find some of our favorites right in the comments on these posts!

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2 weeks ago

Google Play Games to lose Google+ requirement, gain auto sign-in

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Google Play games

Some changes are coming to Google Play Games this year, and they'll affect both users and developers. As announced on the Android Developer Blog, the changes are intended "to reduce sign-in friction and unnecessary permission requests for players by moving the Games APIs to a new model."

Here's the deal:

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2 weeks ago

You can save up to 50 percent on various in-app purchases on Google Play

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Google Play is currently hosting a sale which saves you up to 50 percent on in-app purchases of select apps. There are around 60 apps currently participating in the deal, from titles like Mobile Strike, Agar.io, Sim City Buildit and many others. The games here are all free to play, but they have in-app purchases to allow you to unlock additional content or help you move through the levels faster.

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2 weeks ago

Use your phone to unlock a better rental experience with Silvercar

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Silvercar Audi A4

Your Android or iPhone plays a cursory role in renting one of Silvercar's Audi A4s, but the experience is great nonetheless.

"Uber for xxxxx" is still a pretty popular marketing crutch these days. Think of it as shorthand for "on-demand something or other." And you can (roughly) call Silvercar "Uber for rental cars." I recently gave it a shot on a personal trip with my family. (Read: Silvercar didn't give us anything for this review. It came out of my pocket, personally.)

The gist is simple. You book a car through the Silvercar app (Android or iOS). When you arrive at your destination airport, you text Silvercar (the app helps with this) to let them know you've arrived. They arrive with a Audi A4. In silver. (You guessed that part, right?)

"Another startup-type company trying to disrupt things?" you ask? Sure. But my initial experience in Fort Lauderdale left me pretty excited.

Here's why.

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2 weeks ago

What is Marvel: Contest of Champions, and why is it so popular?

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Your one stop shop for all things Marvel: Contest of Champions

How many time have you gotten into the argument between which Marvel characters were superior over others, or gotten into hour long conversations over your dream team of Marvel characters? If either of these things sound familiar in the least, or you're a long time fan of fighting games, then you've definitely gotta take a look at Marvel: Contest of Champions.

This game implements some very diverse elements to bring a really fun fighting game to your smartphone. Level up and unlock heroes to build an elite fighting team that can move forward and save the universe. Join an Alliance to access special quests, or build your own with friends. Collect crystals to unlock better heroes, and in game items by completing quests and challenges.

This is a mobile fighting game that puts you in charge of building a team of Heroes — and Villains, to protect the galaxy. At it's core it's a straight up fighting game. Characters fight one on one using a collection of light, medium, heavy, and special attacks to knock each other out. The game is far more nuanced than just tapping, and swiping though. You'll need to cultivate heroes with different strengths in order to open up side paths, make decisions on who should be leveled up using crystals you find, and completing Versus or Special quests to grab crystals of a different kind.

To help you get started, we've put together a top down guide to saving the galaxy.

Modes of Play

When it comes to saving the galaxy, there are four ways to play. You can go on Story and Event Quests, challenge other players in the Versus arena, and help put teammates by completing Alliance Quests. Each mode has different perks to it and works a little bit differently. Not all of them will be open when you first start playing, but as you level up they'll become available.

Story Quests are where you'll find the main mode of play. It's broken out into four Acts, and each Act has multiple chapters, each of which has 6 maps. Before starting a map, you'll select your team of Champions before the level opens up. Each Map has multiple steps, with icons for the enemies you'll face along your way. You'll also see items like potions, and chests that can be picked up during your run through each map. To move forward you'll expend energy, one energy for each movement forward. When you come across an enemy, you'll choose which of your Champions will fight against them gauging Class bonus', health, and attack to get yourself as many advantages as possible.

Event Quests work the same as Story Quests, but are only available for a specific period of time. Some of them will help you pick up certain in-game items like crystal shards, or better catalysts for use in ranking up your Champions. There are also quests which revolve around certain Champions — for example there is Arachnid Action with Spider Man, Miles Morales, and Spider Gwen. Alliance mode lets you get points for your Alliance while doing things like using items from your inventory, leveling up Champions, or fighting in the PvP Arena.

Versus is the PvP arena, where you can play in 1v1 or special 3v3 matches. Neither of these require energy, although after a match the Champion you choose will have to cool down before you can use them again. In this mode you'll pick up special battle crystals which will unlock specific in game items that you can't get elsewhere. Many of the 3v3 arenas require specific Champions to access, and are only available for a limited time before they are no longer accessible, so checking in every day is a good idea.

Questing can become difficult if you run low on health potions, or don't have adequately leveled Champions in your roster. You can purchase more items, or crystals using units — these are acquired by completing quests in game. If you don't have enough credits, you can purchase more using real money. The in-app purchases using real money only pop up if you don't have enough credits, and will let you purchase items, energy, crystals, and other in-game items.

Champions, Crystals, ISO-8 and Catalysts

As soon as you start rolling through Quests you'll notice that you acquire crystals and ISO-8 which can be used to level up your Champions. Trust us, keeping your stable of Champions filled with high level heroes of multiple classes is always a good choice. Each Champion has a specific class that gives them a bonus against a specific class, as well as a detriment with another. To begin with you'll only be able to bring two Champions into each battle, but this number increases as you level up.

There are several different types of crystals that you'll find as you play through the game. Some can only be acquired in specific arenas, like the battle crystals which are available through Versus mode. Each crystal can unlock specific in game items. Sometimes it will be energy, or a new Champion, other times it might be crystal shard that let you save up to buy better crystals. These are an integral part of gameplay, since you need crystals to continue leveling up your stable. One of the handiest things that crystals will unlock, are ISO-8.

ISO-8 is what you use to level up your Champions. There are different strengths to this element, and it's the only way you'll be able to strengthen your Champions. Each time they go up in level, you'll see a difference in their hit points as well as their attack power. When you have fully leveled your heroes you can then rank them up. This requires a catalyst, and opens up a new tier of levels. The only trick with this is that each Champion has a max rank. A one star Champion can only rank up twice, but Champions with a higher base star rating can be ranked up multiple times. If you run low on ISO-8

You'll need to grind through Quests to grather up more crystals and ISO-8 to get your Champions to a point where they can knock out any enemy they come across during a Quest. While this might sound a bit discouraging, there is a silver lining here. Many Quests, both Story Quests and Event Quests have multiple paths you can take. This means that going back to replay a particular map for in-game items can also get you prizes for fully exploring a map by following a path you ignored initially.

Social Aspects

Like many games on mobile there is a huge social piece of this game, and it shows up with Alliances. You can certainly choose not to join an Alliance, but even if you pick one out at random it gets you some great boosts. Helping out your Alliance is the only way to pick up Alliance crystals, and you can ask them for help once every 24 hours if you're having issues in the Versus arena or on a Quest Map. It's also very easy to start your own Alliance and it fill it with nothing but friends who are also playing the game.

Even if you opt out of an Alliance — and miss out on specific missions and crystals in doing so, there is still a chat scroll that goes along at the bottom of your screen nonstop. Generally it's just random chatter; folks looking for people to join their alliances, trying to find people to play with, or looking for folks who have specific Champions they can fight against in the Versus arena. While you can definitely get by with playing by yourself, with minimal interaction, this is a game that is definitely a lot more fun with people to fight with.

Where to play

Marvel: Contest of Champions is available for free on Google Play and runs well on either tablet or your smartphone. Where you play isn't really decided by which devices this game is available on, since you're only limited by what kind of tech you have at your disposable. Instead it's decided by how you conserve battery strength, and how well you want to see this very pretty game.

Marvel:Contest of Champions is a game that is going to eat your battery alive. If you're playing on a smartphone with a decent battery — we could easily get several hours of gameplay in using the Nexus 5X before needing to plug in and charge again. It was slightly less noticeable using a tablet, but the drain was still there. It's not surprising either, there is a lot going on with this game, and as we mentioned it's quite pretty.

While you can easily get by using your phone, the difference the larger screen makes is striking.

If you want the best experience playing Marvel: Contest of Champions, you should definitely play for a while using a tablet. The bigger screen lets you clearly see everything that is going on. While you can easily get by using your phone, the difference the larger screen makes is striking. It also translates when you are in the middle of a fight. Blocking, and attacking both are a fair bit easier on the tablet since you have more room to work with. Happily you can sync your account across devices, so you can switch between using your phone and a tablet at your leisure.

Marvel: Contest of Champions is a fun mobile twist on fighting games, that brings you plenty of different options to make the game as much fun as possible. With multiple modes of play you're sure to be coming back for more each time there is a lull and you need to amuse yourself. The game is still actively evolving, and there is sure to be more excellent content coming soon for those of us that have been playing a bit obsessively. If you've been wondering whether Marvel Contest of Champions is worth a look, it definitely is and now is a great time to start.

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