Android Police

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Reports Suggest 2013 Nexus 7 Units Are Failing At An Alarming Rate, Not Likely A Result Of Firmware Updates

When we buy gadgets, it's usually with the expectation that their useful lifetime will carry us at least until we're ready to replace them, and hopefully well beyond. Most people assume their smartphones should last at least two years, in part because contract customers in the US are accustomed to unreasonably high upgrade prices for mid-term upgrades, and also because most manufacturers have adopted yearly release cycles that fit well with this pace.

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[Weekend Poll] Are You Using A Custom ROM On Your Phone?

Surprisingly, we haven't asked this one more than once! Actually, I don't think we've ever asked it exactly like this, and it'll be an interesting one to watch. We did, however, ask you about six months ago whether your device was rooted. A full 63% were in the "yes" camp - let's see how this poll's results compare.

So, this week's question: are you running a custom ROM on your phone? For those of you with OnePlus Ones (or Yus, or N1s), if you are running an unmodified Cyanogen OS build or Oxygen OS - be it a nightly or a stable release - please answer "no." The reasoning here is as follows: a custom ROM's generally accepted definition is firmware that your device did not ship with or upgrade to on an officially sanctioned path.

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DashClock Is Back With New (Materialized) Beta

Roman Nurik, a Design Advocate at Google, launched the DashClock Widget back in early 2013. It's an extremely versatile, modular widget that - by default - supports things like time, weather, unread Gmail messages, and alarms. But its modular nature is the real selling point. Users can add extensions for apps they're already using, allowing a lot of information from disparate and unrelated apps to be displayed in one handy widget.

After an update in December 2013, though, it seemed that DashClock had gone on a break. Happily, version 1.7 is currently in beta mode and its refreshed (materialized) interface is ready to try out now.

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[Deal Alert] Yubi USB Charging Towers On Sale At Amazon: 32 Ports For $39, 24 Ports For $32

Does your home have a lot of mobile devices? I mean a lot of them? Maybe you're a modern-day Brady Bunch, and every adult and kid has a phone, tablet, smartwatch, and external battery? Or alternately, do you run a bar or work for a gadget blog? Then you'll probably be able to find a use for the Yubi Universal USB Family Charging Tower Station With Surge And Overload Protection For... you know what, I'm running out of words here. They're big hunks of plastic with a ton of USB charging ports, and today they're cheap at Amazon.

powah

You can grab the 24-port version of the tower for $31.99, a discount of about $8 off the regular price (don't believe the $99 "retail price," it's the typical Amazon vendor baloney).

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Sunshine 3.1 Adds S-OFF Support For HTC One M9 And Automatic SIM Unlock For Most Of HTC's GSM Phones

New smartphones are rolling off the line pretty regularly, and that means the tools we use to work with them have to update, too. Last month, Sunshine v3.0 emerged with support for an extensive collection of HTC and Motorola handsets, and now an update to v3.1 is about to build on that list. With the latest release, Justin Case and Beaups have added support for almost every variant of the HTC One M9, except Verizon's. Expanded compatibility isn't the only new treat for users, Sunshine has also added the capability to automatically SIM unlock most of the GSM-based phones manufactured by HTC.

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Yahoo Finance: Google Wallet Balances Will Be FDIC-Insured

According to a Yahoo Finance exclusive, Google Wallet is now a little bit safer. Yahoo Finance reports that Google Wallet balances are now FDIC-insured, and that Google is accomplishing this by storing Wallet balances in FDIC-insured banking institutions. For reference, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation insures a depositor's funds for banking institutions up to $250,000.

As Yahoo Finance points out, services like Wallet, Paypal, or Venmo are considered "non-banking institutions," meaning that they aren't legally required to be federally insured, and indeed Paypal and Venmo currently aren't (though Paypal does offer its own account protection measures).

The report also notes that Google Wallet's current user agreement says balances are not FDIC-insured, but that "a Google spokesperson confirmed in a statement to Yahoo Finance that its current policy has changed."

Ultimately it seems as though Wallet's FDIC insurance will be of little consequence to users, except that it provides peace of mind in case the worst should happen.

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T-Mobile Starts Rolling Out The HTC One M9 Camera Improvement OTA Update, AT&T Version Coming Soon

You can also get the full RUU for this OTA from HTC right here.

Sprint got it last week, now T-Mobile is the next in line. The flagship HTC One M9 leaves a lot to be desired in the camera department, at least on the stock version of the phone's software. HTC has issued a small update that should dramatically improve camera quality, though it has to be said that the comparison shots we've seen thus far are still noticeably behind other recent high-end Android phones.

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[APK Teardown] Drive, Docs, Sheets, And Slides Will Soon Offer Templates, Presentations Via Hangouts, Contact Chips For Collaborators, And A Secret Next-Gen UI (Maybe...)

Update Wednesday hit like a ton of bricks, this week. It didn't help that it also happened to land on tax day in the United States. Not only were there new versions for about a dozen apps from Google, but a couple of new ones joined the mix. Yet again, Drive and its associated document editing apps are gracing the Teardown stage with even more new improvements on the horizon. This time, we see that Drive is getting a chip-based interface for adding collaborators, Slides will allow for presentations over Hangouts, all of the editors are going to have stylized templates, and there might even be a Secret Next-Gen UI on the way (but probably not).

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WhatsApp 2.12.45 Adds The Option To Back Up And Restore From Google Drive

I know it seems that we have a new WhatsApp post every couple of days on Android Police lately, but it ain't our fault. The app's developers, specifically the Android team, appear to be drinking the good kind of kool-aid and kicking one new version after the other with not only bug fixes, but also lots of new goodies. So first there was the Web "client", then the saga of the voice calling feature rollout, followed by the Material design update, and now Google Drive is being implemented as a backup option inside the app.

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[Bonus Round] Must Deliver, Brutus & Futée, The 7th Guest, And Masters Of The Masks

Welcome to the latest entry in our Bonus Round series, wherein we tell you all about the new Android games of the day that we couldn't get to during our regular news rounds. Consider this a quick update for the dedicated gamers who can't wait for our bi-weekly roundups, and don't want to wade through a whole day's worth of news just to get their pixelated fix. Today we've got an endless runner with shooter elements, a unique adventure game, another unique adventure game (but an old one this time), and Square's latest IAP-filled role-player. Without further ado:

bonusround

Must Deliver

Must Deliver is a mix of old-school, top-down shooters and modern endless runners.

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