Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

23
Jul
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Let's get this out of the way first: SecondScreen is not an external extended monitor app for Android. (Though that would be extremely cool.) I think the developer does a bit of a disservice with that name. What it does is force your phone or tablet to use a different resolution in order to make it display correctly - or at least more correctly - when casting the screen to a television via Chromecast or simply using an HDMI cable.

23
Jul
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Amazon's Prime Music service, a free add-on for anyone who's already a Prime subscriber, launched to a resounding "meh." The app and service functions well enough, but with plenty of alternatives both free and paid, Amazon's boast of "over one million songs" rang somewhat hollow. As a Prime subscriber myself, I saw it as a nice perk, but it's no reason to stop paying for Google Play Music All Access as well.

23
Jul
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Last Updated: July 25th, 2014

Update, 7-25-14: A Carnegie Mellon representative informed us that in fact the Duolingo Test Center results will not factor into determining an applicant's English skills, it will merely be used in research to test the exam's effectiveness, at least at the moment.

Carnegie Mellon, a global research university that attracts student applicants from around the world, is the first academic partner of Duolingo for the English language certification exam.    

In this role, the university in the coming year will encourage applicants and newly admitted students to take the online exam as part of a research study.

23
Jul
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It seems like the only thing we hear about the upcoming YouTube music service as of late is how many problems it's having. Case in point: the Wall Street Journal reports that YouTube's product manager in charge of music, Christopher LaRosa, is leaving the company in favor of an as-yet unnamed startup. LaRosa's LinkedIn profile says he's worked at YouTube for over four years, and at Google for two years before that.

23
Jul
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Auto-correcting keyboard Fleksy made headlines last month with its interesting support for Samsung's Gear 2 smartwatches, but don't let it be said that they're neglecting the standard Android app. Today the company is updating its unconventional keyboard to version 3.0, notably adding the "Fleksy Store" to the premium version. This store will offer themes for users to buy via in-app purchase. At launch (sometime this morning, US time) there will be six themes available, and anyone who's purchased the keyboard gets a free bonus theme.

22
Jul
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Apparently, segmenting your customized software into easily-updatable Play Store apps is a popular trend. HTC is the latest to get on board, presumably because the person who makes the keyboard work is tired of waiting on the whole Sense team to put an over-the-air firmware update together. HTC published extra language packs back in April, and now Sense users can get timely updates for the keyboard as well.

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You know the drill: this will only work on compatible HTC hardware, so don't even try it on other phones or tablets.

22
Jul
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Xiaomi has been making waves in the expanding Chinese smartphone market thanks to solid hardware and customized Android software. The company's 4th-generation flagship, the Mi 4, looks like a definite step up. While the 5-inch 1080p screen matches the Mi3, the design is... well, let's call a spade a spade, shall we? It's a big iPhone. Between the segmented metal band, the specifically rounded corners, and the edge-mounted speakers, it's pretty clear that Xiaomi was going for a particular look.

22
Jul
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Last Updated: July 28th, 2014

NVIDIA just announced its second SHIELD device, the SHIELD Tablet. You can read all about it in the main post, but every gamer knows that a new device is nothing without games to play on it. NVIDIA has focused its efforts on bringing full-sized PC and console games like Mount & Blade, Portal, and Half-Life 2 to the SHIELD Portable, but with the Tablet, they've set their sights on current-generation titles.

22
Jul
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NVIDIA's SHIELD gadget is undeniably unique in the Android world, which might be why the company has decided to go with a more mainstream form factor for its second hardware foray. The SHIELD Tablet, as it's officially titled, was leaked hard last week, but NVIDIA made it official this morning. The 8-inch device features the latest Tegra K1 processor, a 1080p LCD screen, NVIDIA's GameStream software and other specialized apps, and an optional controller that's similar to the control pad on the original SHIELD.

21
Jul
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Users of newer versions of Windows or just about any Microsoft web service might be familiar with the company's rudimentary two-factor authentication system. If it's been a while since you've logged in or you're setting up a new Windows device, it might ask you for a verification code, accessible from a backup email account. Of course that can be a pain if you don't remember the password for that account, or simply don't want to dig it out.

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