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2 weeks ago

AC editors' apps of the week: Lifeline, Wolfram Alpha, Joyride and more

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Editors apps of the week

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

Use the Google Settings app to turn photo backup on and off, even after Google Photos is uninstalled

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Google Settings

Backing up all of your photos somewhere online is a good idea. Phones get lost or broken, SD cards can go bad, and sometimes a picture is a priceless memory. We think you should be using any of the various services to keep everything stored in the cloud in case you ever need access to a remote backup.

Google Photos is one way to do just that. You can read all about the pros and cons of using it, but it's also important to know where the settings for the backup service are.

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3 weeks ago

Twitch adds a pop-out player to let you 'multitask like a boss'

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Twitch, the popular game streaming service, has announced a new pop-out player for its Android app, which allows users to watch a broadcast without having to be in the app. This means that you can now play your favorite game, text your friends, or browse the web, all while watching your favorite Twitch broadcast.

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3 weeks ago

Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides score some welcome editing features

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If you're a regular Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides user, there are some nice updates headed your way. Google has announced updates to all three apps that bring some decent quality-of-life improvements for editing your files on mobile devices.

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3 weeks ago

Google adds machine learning smarts to Gmail's spam filter

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Google took to a blog post today to talk about some improvements that it is bringing to its spam-fighting engine in Gmail. The company says that the improvements largely rely on applying the same machine learning from Google Search and Google Now to the Gmail spam filter.

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3 weeks ago

Windows 7 hacked to run on the ASUS ZenFone 2

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Because, ya know, someone thought this was a thing that needed to be done.

A member of the XDA forums has taken the ASUS ZenFone 2, an Intel-powered Android smartphone, and booted Windows 7 on it. Surprisingly, the OS runs quite smoothly, with no major bugs. The video has Windows 7 booted, though it is said that Windows 8 and Windows 10 could be installed in the same fashion, and should both work equally as well.

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3 weeks ago

Microsoft updates Xbox Music with free streaming for tracks stored on OneDrive

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Xbox Music on Android has just picked up an update from Microsoft. The company has implemented a number of improvements, some detailed in a previous teaser. Strangely enough, Microsoft has chosen not to alter the branding of Xbox Music, but has gone ahead with the rebranding to Groove on its own Windows platforms.

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3 weeks ago

Halo Channel for Android offers a ton of content for diehard Halo fans

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Halo fans, get ready to enjoy a breadth of content on your Android device. Microsoft has just released the Halo Channel app for Android, offering up a ton of content from the Halo universe, ranging from fan creations to behind-the-scenes videos and game tips.

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3 weeks ago

Setting up a kid-friendly Android device

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New User

While handing your phone or tablet off to a child can offer a moment of peace while they are distracted by a game or video, there's a lot more to the experiences children can have in Android. Choosing the right device for them to enjoy is only part of the process, though. Android is primarily made for adults, so there's a little bit of setup necessary to make your average smartphone or tablet child-friendly.

Here's a quick tour through those steps, and some tips on keeping your child safe through Android.

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3 weeks ago

Sony's My Xperia Theft Protection reportedly breaking unlocked devices

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Sony's My Xperia Theft Protection (MXTP) feature, currently live on a number of the company's newer products, will apparently break bootloader-unlocked devices. For new devices that haven't been unlocked, enabling MXTP removes the ability to unlock the bootloader. The real problem presents itself when you enable the feature on a device where the bootloader is already unlocked.

From Sony's Unlock Bootloader site:

After unlocking your device, you should not enable My Xperia (found in the settings menu under security on some devices running Android 5.0) as this might cause the device to malfunction.

Currently, MXTP is available on the Xperia Z3+, Z4 Tablet, C4, and M4 Aqua. It's worth noting, however, that Sony doesn't officially allow these devices to have their bootloaders unlocked at the moment.

Source: Sony, via Xperia Blog

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3 weeks ago

FirstLook You is bad and everyone involved should feel bad

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FirstLook You

The previews and pre-roll content for just about any movie theater in America today include at least one app you can install on your phone. Some of these apps place your phone in a silent mode and reward you with discounts on concessions for not being That Guy, while others offer you some kind of ad-related interactive experience. Cinemark's FirstLook programming now includes an ad encouraging users to conduct a "Selfie Movie Review" after the movie with a service called FirstLook You.

It's a service in partnership with Yahoo Movies to get people involved in talking about the movie when it's still fresh in their minds, and would probably be pretty cool if the implementation wasn't the worst software experience I've had so far this year.

The Cinemark ad gets users interested in the service by showing a user giving a review for a movie that is already out, and aside from exactly zero of the Selfie Movie Reviews in the ad being actual selfies — none of the users were holding phones, in fact it all looked recorded on professional cameras — it seemed like a good idea. With services like Periscope gaining popularity daily we're clearly seeing more folks interested in sharing their thoughts with the world in video form, and while I wouldn't say a separate app is needed for reviewing movies I could see how regular theater attendees would be interested. Curiosity piqued, I installed the app right there in the theater. At least, I tried to.

FirstLook You

Somewhere in the ad I remembered a URL was flashed, but since I knew the name of the service I figured I could just check the Google Play Store, only there are no apps named FirstLook You. I fumbled around with what I thought the URL was until I struck gold, and the link on the page directed me to install an app called Vivoom. When I opened the app, FirstLook You was nowhere to be found. Vivoom is an app that lets you record 15 seconds of video, apply an interactive border, and then share it to Facebook or Twitter. Confused, I went back to the URL and tapped the Launch icon again. With Vivoom installed on my phone now, the website launched an intent that added a skin to the app, and all of a sudden it now looked like I was using an app called FirstLook Now with all of the Vivoom buttons.

How is this easier than opening Periscope or just posting to Facebook and YouTube?

Having just left Jurassic World, I recorded my 15 seconds of rambling nonsense and sent the video off to be skinned. The name of the movie, a Yahoo Movies branding, and the number of stars I ranked the film were added in a border to my video, and it was now ready to share. I left the app to share it later, thinking I may try to do a better job recording a video to share, and when I returned all of the FirstLook You branding was gone. The video I had made was still there, but in order to gain access to the FirstLook You features I had to go back to the URL from the theater and re-launch the web intent. Nothing about FirstLook You was native to the Vivoom app, so it all has to be done manually each time. How is this easier than opening Periscope or just posting to Facebook and YouTube?

It couldn't be more clear this is a brand new effort from Cinemark, Yahoo Movies, and even Vivoom, which had less than 500 installs at the time of this writing. I think the core idea behind FirstLook You is interesting, and encouraging users to share thoughts on the movie they just saw is a great way to get people involved and potentially create additional social buzz for a film. To make this work, however, just about everything involved in the execution of this idea needs to go back to the drawing board.

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3 weeks ago

Disney's official Star Wars app keeps you tapped in to the galaxy far, far away

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Disney has given Star Wars fans a little treat with the release of an official Android app for the franchise. The app keeps you up to date on the latest Star Wars news, such as movie announcements and trailer releases, along with other fun features like an augmented reality mode, themed selfies, and more.

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3 weeks ago

Fleksy keyboard is now free, with previous owners bagging $8 worth of in-app gifts

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The Fleksy virtual smartphone keyboard was already a popular product when it was priced at $1.99. Now the app is available for free from now on, with its revenue now coming entirely from in-app purchases.

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3 weeks ago

Sony's live streaming app lets you broadcast to YouTube and Twitch from your Xperia

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Samsung launched Game Recorder+, a utility that allows you to record and share gameplay videos from select high-end Galaxy devices such as the Galaxy S6. Sony is now joining the action by launching a similar utility dubbed Live screen streaming for Xperia handsets.

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3 weeks ago

Alaska Airlines app finally updated with modern design, a few new features

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Alaska Airlines has finally updated its Android app after a long wait, bringing it up to a modern and full-featured design more in line with the new iOS app that has been available for some time. If you've used the Alaska Airlines app previously you'll know it was quite a blast from the past, and the new experience is dramatically better. The new home screen nicely displays upcoming trips, and a slide-in panel gives you quick access to booking trips, checking in or accessing your account.

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