Android Police

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Action Launcher preemptively adds launcher shortcuts expected to debut with the Pixel Launcher

As you may have noticed in a recent teardown, Google's launcher shortcuts are most likely returning in Android 7.1 with the Pixel Launcher. This feature was part of the Nougat developer preview some months ago, but wasn't implemented in the final release. Now, an improved version is on the way, and Action Launcher continues its tradition of adding all the Pixel Launcher things before the Pixel Launcher even exists.

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Google Maps now integrates upcoming events from Google Calendar [APK Download]

Google is making use of its new company blog to announce a feature for Maps. The app now has improved integration with your upcoming calendar appointments, a feature that we spotted in a teardown the other day. When you include a location with your Google Calendar events, they'll now show up on the Map and in a special upcoming places tab.

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Droid Turbo 2 update adds WiFi calling and latest security updates

The Verizon-exclusive Droid Turbo 2 was released almost a year ago, and promptly made headlines with claims of a shatterproof screen. Verizon and Motrola have at least made an effort to keep the device updated, compared to other devices on Big Red, and it even received Android 6.0 Marshmallow earlier this year. Now owners of the Turbo 2 can finally use WiFi calling, courtesy of a software update.

An update, titled '24.31.22.kinzie_verizon.verizon.en.US,' is being pushed to all Droid Turbo 2 devices with the "Latest Android™ security updates and bug fixes," as well as full WiFi calling support. Once the update is installed, users can enable the feature from their settings.

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Variety: Google wants OEMs to turn Cast devices into Google Home devices, with major exclusivity caveat

A week ago, a Chromecast Preview Firmware changed all references of the companion Google Cast app to Google Home. The reasoning for that change seemed simple at the time: presumably you would control Google Home and your Chromecasts from the same app. But a recent report from Variety sheds light on Google Cast's role in Google's smart home ecosystem.

It's no secret that adoption of Google Cast in WiFi speakers has grown exponentially. Cast is a huge step up from Bluetooth speakers in terms of usability (no finicky pairing), and unlike Apple's AirPlay technology, is platform-agnostic. Thanks to the rapid adoption of Google Cast, Google has relationships with numerous companies in the audio industry - relationships it hopes to use for Google Home.

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Multiple Android Wear smartwatches not pairing with the iPhone 7, Google is aware of the issue

Generally speaking, smartwatches are pretty cool. While they might be just be wrist-worn extensions of a phone, that can be pretty useful sometimes. However, I think most of us agree that smartwatches should be multi-platform, like most other electronic accessories such as battery bank chargers and Bluetooth speakers. This is why Android Wear is awesome - because it works with both Android and iOS. With the release of the iPhone 7, though, a few Android-based smartwatches have not been working or pairing correctly with the new flagship Apple device.

It's not really known why these watches are not working with the iPhone 7.

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Gmail updated with minor tweaks, plus new empty inbox and spam folder graphics [APK Download]

There's a new version of Gmail rolling out today with a number of small changes. You may or may not notice these tweaks to functionality, but you'll probably notice the new graphics Google has added for an empty inbox or spam folder. It's kind of like Inbox.

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Google Home will work with SmartThings out of the box

Google's new smart home hub, Google Home, will work with the Samsung-owned SmartThings platform out of the box, according to a source familiar with the companies' plans. We trust the quality of this information implicitly, so consider this rumor a '10' on the confidence scale, barring some sort of delay that leads to Google postponing the announcement.

Google Home would probably be near-dead on arrival without compatibility for some common smart home technology, and aside from Nest (for which we assume Home compatibility is a given), SmartThings is one of the most obvious choices. SmartThings hub devices work with a wide variety of smart home products, and making Google Home compatible with this platform will ensure that SmartThings users have another, non-Echo option for a smart home assistant and speaker device.

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Sphero's Star Wars Force Band lets you control BB-8 using motion gestures

The Force Awakens is approaching a year old, but by Star Wars standards, the merchandising is only just beginning. A particularly new offering is the Star Wars Force Band, which lets you control Sphero's tiny BB-8 droid that has been rolling around since the film hit theaters. But instead of doing so using an on-screen interface, you use the Force.

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Text-to-speech v3.10 adds options to change voice intonation and boost its volume above other apps [APK Download]

The Text-to-speech app doesn't see many major updates throughout the year, but when it does, there's often something interesting to see when it happens. Version 3.10 began rolling out yesterday and it comes bearing a pair of new settings to intelligently alter volume based on existing audio playback and to control the intonation of synthesized voices. As always, we've got a link below to grab the latest apk if you aren't among the first to get it straight from Google.

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Flipboard reaches 500 Million installs on the Play Store

I don't "read" news anymore. If you saw what my Gmail inbox looks like every morning, you'd understand why reading something, anything really, other than the 300 or so emails we get at Android Police every day is a bit of an optimistic dream that I stopped entertaining a long time ago. I do listen to news though, in the form of podcasts that I've cherry-picked to my preferences and that I enjoy while driving or walking.

Back when I did read the news though, Flipboard was something I liked. It had a beautiful magazine-style approach, interesting articles and curated collections, and a large user base, which is crucial when your whole news network relies on user interactions and content too.

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