Android Police

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Verizon adds "always-on data" (throttling) and tethering to prepaid plans

After the new post-paid plans announced by Verizon earlier in the month, it seemed like only a matter of time before changes would reach their prepaid plans as well. Well, that time has come. Verizon has updated its prepaid plans, and taking inspiration from the ‘Safe Mode’ throttling available in its post-paid plans, included "Always-On" throttled data at no extra cost.

Perhaps unlike the revisions made to the post-paid offerings, the changes made to Verizon’s prepaid plans are actually a solid upgrade. The main feature to be added to Verizon’s prepaid offerings, last revised in May, is the inclusion of ‘Always-On’ data throttling when prepaid data limits have been reached. Like ‘Safe Mode,’ ‘Always-On’ throttles data down to 128Kb/second when the data limit on the plan has been reached. Unlike ‘Safe Mode,’ ‘Always-On’ comes at no additional charge to prepaid customers. Verizon claims that ‘Always-On’ is enough for using social media and sending email, which it may well be, but doing so is going to be near dial-up levels of slow.

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Facebook Messenger has reached 1 Billion monthly active users

In the elite club of internet services with enough penetration to reach about 1/7th of the earth's population, members are few and far between. But now Facebook Messenger can say that it has earned the badge that gives it access to this exclusive circle. After getting to 1 Billion installs on the Play Store a year ago, Messenger is now boasting, for real, 1 Billion monthly active users.

Whatsapp, the other Facebook-owned chat service, got to 1 Billion monthly active users several months ago, in February, so Messenger is still playing catch-up with its in-house rival, but I'm sure Facebook is not crying over the friendly competition going on between these two.

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Verified boot in Android 7.0 won't let your phone boot if the software is corrupt

Starting in Android 4.4, Google implemented verified boot (known as dm-verity) in the Android kernel to prevent malware from hiding in your device. This was all behind the scenes until Android 6.0 Marshmallow—that's when Google started alerting users to system integrity. In Android 7.0, it's going a step further. In Nougat, verified boot will be "strictly enforcing" and won't allow your device to boot if the software has been compromised. Android will also be able to correct errors, but this will cause some headaches for modders.

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Kairosoft releases Legends of Heropolis, a free-to-play pixel art RPG

Kairosoft, makers of Game Dev Story (who'd have thought a game about making games would be so addicting?!) have released their newest title in the long running simulation series: Legends of Heropolis, in which the player takes on the character of a hero to rebuild a desecrated town.

Like some of the recent Kairosoft games (although unlike Game Dev Story), Legends is ad-supported, meaning it is a free download from the Play Store. However, the gameplay is mostly similar to other titles from the company, feeling a bit like Pokémon games of old with a splash of modern RPG added in.

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Android Auto is coming to three niche car manufacturers: Lada, Koenigsegg, and Borgward

Odds are pretty good that today's Android Auto news will only matter to extreme car buffs. Google's in-car phone extension has been officially announced for upcoming models from Lada, Koenigsegg, and Borgward. If you've never heard of any of those manufactures, you're in good company: you're unlikely to see them driving down the street unless you live in Russia, Beverly Hills, or 1955, respectively.

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[Update: HSBC and BBVA] Android Pay expands to 19 more local banks and credit unions

Android Pay is cool and all, but if your bank or credit union isn't supported, it really doesn't matter. You can't take part in the fun.

Many of the big banks gained support first, catching headlines and impacting the largest number of users. Now we're seeing Android Pay make its way out to many of the financial institutions that serve as bedrocks of their local communities.

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Moto Mods: Thoughts and first impressions

If you ask Motorola, Mods are the story with Moto Z. If you ask most smartphone enthusiasts? The Mods are decidedly not the story - they're just accessories. Well, which is it? Are Motorola's modular pieces central to the authoritative and complete Z experience, or are they forgettable add-ons? I've had a few days to play with them, and while I am not "reviewing" any of them here, I am going to share some thoughts on them.

First, we have the not-really-Mods: the style shells.

DSC03739

Moto sent out two woodgrain shells and one that I would describe as a black nylon fabric weave.

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Google Photos v1.24 added an improved cropping tool and sorting for albums [APK Download]

An update to Google Photos hit late yesterday, taking the version up to 1.24. This update doesn't make any major changes, but there are a couple of notable improvements. The cropping tool has been redesigned and upgraded in a few good ways and albums can now be sorted. As usual, there's a download link at the bottom of the post if you'd like to pick up the apk before Google rolls it out to everybody.

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You can now use Bitmoji on Snapchat

You can use a photo of yourself across the web, but if you want to have some fun and maintain a semblance of anonymity on the web, you can use a cartoony avatar instead. You could dig up your old Yahoo one, but chances are you've moved on. You're using a Bitmoji and creating comic strips about your friends.

Then you move your hilarity over into Snapchat. You're sending texts, dropping images, recording clips, and maybe even making the occasional reference to your comics. Now you can go a step further. Don't drop a link. Add your Bitmoji directly.

You can do that now.

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