Android Police

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Cortana app now available in the UK after a user interface refresh in version 2.0

We haven't heard much from Microsoft's Cortana, the voice assistant that's built into Windows 10 and available in app form on Android and iOS, in a while. Amazon and Google, with their respective Alexa and Assistant/Home brands, have been far more vocal in the last few months. Today the Cortana app gets its first major update in the better part of a year. And in a move that probably should have come a lot sooner, the mobile version of Cortana is now available in the UK.

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Actions on Google opens to the public, developers now free to create custom voice actions for Google assistant

The Google assistant makes for a pretty awesome companion on the Pixel phones and Google Home, but it's still young and feels constrained by the very limited number of things it can do outside of Google's sandbox of supported services. During the October 4th announcement, Google declared plans to open up the platform in early December for developers to build their own services. Staying true to that schedule, the Actions on Google platform opened the door today, allowing developers to integrate their services. Google is also launching an early access program to begin testing new features and upcoming expansions.

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Android Police Readers' Choice Award 2016: Cast your vote for the best smartphone of the year

What's your pick for best smartphone of 2016? For the first time (well, that I can remember), we're asking you to cast your vote for the phone you think stole the show this year. I've assembled a list of 15 devices that I think stood out in one way or another in 2016, so please note that the list does not purport to be exhaustive - this is, gently, curated.

With that in mind, consider your vote carefully. The tallying will continue through December 16th at 11:59PM PST, at which point the poll will close. We will announce the winner in a separate post the following week, declaring that phone the recipient of the Android Police Readers' Choice Award for Best Smartphone of 2016.

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The Huawei Watch departs from the Google Store

With all the uncertainty, I don't imagine Android Wear smartwatches will be a hot item this holiday season. Some people are probably still willing to take a risk, but pickings are getting slim either way. Even though it launched more than a year ago, the Huawei Watch is still considered by many to be the best Android Wear device. It's no longer on sale in the Google Store, though.

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Raumfeld adds Chromecast support to all of its WiFi-enabled speakers

German audio firm Raumfeld is known for making some nice (and expensive) speakers with support for streaming services like Spotify and Tidal. Starting today, those speakers also support Chromecast. The update is rolling out to all of Raumfeld's WiFi speakers this very day.

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Starbucks Pokémon GO promotion begins, with 7800 new stops and gyms in the US

Developer Niantic has begun to unlock the full partner potential of the Pokémon GO augmented reality game. Just yesterday a partnership between the game and Sprint retail stores was announced, teasing new in-game locations corresponding to Sprint, Boost Mobile, and Radio Shack stores. That rollout doesn't technically begin until December 12th, but the previously-leaked Starbucks promotion should be live right now, turning 7800 coffee shops in the US into new Pokestops and Pokémon Gyms. 

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LeEco halts trading of company's stock amid major losses that triggered margin call on CEO's shares

LeEco can't seem to catch a break. Last month, its CEO Jia Yueting sent out a memo days after the company's US launch claiming it was over-extended and suffering from "big company disease," which seemed a clear euphemism for incoming job cuts. A month later, and things aren't any better.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the publicly-traded arm of LeEco, known as Leshi, had seen its stock tank earlier this week. Reports from Chinese media claim that an 8% drop on Tuesday triggered margin calls by Jia's lenders, meaning he will either be forced to sell some of his Leshi company stock or provide his margin accounts fresh funds.

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Rockstar's Bully: Anniversary Edition now available for Android, costs $6.99 on the Play Store

Rockstar's 'Bully' was originally released in 2006 for the PlayStation 2, centered around 15 year-old Jimmy Hopkins as he tries to rise through the ranks of the corrupt Bullworth Academy prep school. It generally received good reviews, and two years later, the Scholarship Edition was released for the Wii, Xbox 360, and PC.

Ten years after the game's original release, Rockstar has partnered with War Drum Studios to release Bully: Anniversary Edition for Android and iOS. War Drum Studios has been responsible for every Rockstar mobile port, including the Grand Theft Auto titles, so you know this isn't a shoddy re-release.

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Google launches 6 new Daydream VR games, plus HBO Now and Go VR

Google has a new round of games for Daydream VR out today, and some of them are pretty good. And some of them... are not that great. Hey, there's also HBO Now VR out today, which is only as good as the stuff you choose to watch. I've had the chance to play around with all of the new titles. Here's how they stack up.

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Weather Underground's new IFTTT channel brings applets for all kinds of weather-related automations

A lot of the things we do depend on the weather and outdoor conditions. We crank up the thermostat when it's too cold, wear coats and carry an umbrella when it's raining, turn on the AC when the summer heat is too much, plug in the lights when the sun sets, and more.

Now you can automate many of these things with Weather Underground's new IFTTT channel. There are plenty of existing applets already, including ones from WU that contain many thats as consequences to one this, like the one that transitions the house into night mode by adjusting Hue lights, WeMo switches, and Nest thermostats or the weather preparedness one that notifies you, emails you, and creates a calendar event for rainy times.

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