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[Deal Alert] Grab The Dual-SIM BLU Advance 4.0 For Just $50 On Today's Amazon Goldbox

I've been a long-time fan of Blu phones - they are, generally speaking, solid handsets for the money. Whether you're looking for an affordable daily driver for yourself, a backup, or a cheap alternative for someone else, I feel like Blu is a great place to start the search.

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Today, Amazon is offering a good deal on one of Blu's older handsets, the Advance 4.0, for just $50 as part of its Goldbox deal.

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Getting To Know Android: Lollipop Edition

Android 5.0 Lollipop (known previously as just L) was the biggest change to Android since Ice Cream Sandwich. Frankly, I’d rank it as the biggest change to Android ever, for a variety of reasons.

Google has ostensibly searched every corner of Android for opportunities to tweak, improve, or completely reimagine the platform, and Lollipop is the result.

The most noticeable change was undoubtedly the addition of material design, the very first time Google has openly, publicly taken on a cohesive and thoughtful design philosophy, making it - in theory - accessible to everyone, and defining its rules clearly. Material design, which I've written about before, is a huge design shift, which can trace its roots all the way back to Matias Duarte's work on Palm's WebOS.

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HTC Confirms One M7 Will Not Get Any More Major Android Updates, Including 5.1

Starting with the One M7, HTC promised customers that it would deliver two years of updates. This promise came after the manufacturer abandoned its previous flagship early on, leaving the One X stranded on Android 4.2 long after 4.3 had hit devices and 4.4 became a thing.

But now, the end of the line has come for the One M7. Vice President of Product Management Mo Versi has confirmed on Twitter that the 2013 flagship will not receive Android 5.1, except for the Google Play Edition. That variant is slated to get an update sometime in April.

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[APK Download] Google Maps v9.4 Update Includes New 'Local Guides' Feature, Highlighting Top Reviewers

Coming with the latest Google Maps update is Local Guides, a new program meant to increase the number of reviews original to Google and highlight the best of them. It is both a feature addition to Maps and something that exists independently of it. Guides are people who will be rewarded for their reviews, while you benefit by having them as a more credible source of information.

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This looks similar to Yelp's Elite Reviewers, which is...well, similar. See below for an Elite Yelper in my area. Given that Google has decided to compete with Yelp, it makes sense that they'd want to do this.

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Autodesk 123D Sculpt+ Lets You Play Around With Pro-Style 3D Modeling Tools

Capacitive touchscreens are not ideal tools for 3D modeling. Unless you have an active digitizer and stylus, or superhuman patience, or preferably both, the amazing models on display in the screenshots below will probably be unattainable in the new 123D Sculpt+ app. But that doesn't mean it's not fun to try out a tool that, at least on a technical level, has a lot in common with professional 3D modeling programs. The app comes from Autodesk (a company which should know a thing or two on the matter) and it's a free download.

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Sculpt+ makes a few concessions to the limitations of modeling on phones and tablets.

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SoundCloud Android App Update Brings A Few Material-Inspired Changes And Other Visual Tweaks

The SoundCloud Android app has received a slight visual touch-up in the latest update, version 14.12.18-43. Users will now see a slightly more spacious action bar, rounded menus, and Lollipop notifications. These tweaks sit on top of previous user interface changes that still look bright, colorful, and clean.

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Another change takes effect only when you pause music. The changelog says that the background album art gets blurred, but on my Nexus 7, I only noticed dimming. Regardless, it's a nice visual aid.

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The remaining changes consist of various bugfixes, including one that interrupted streams and another that affected logging in on a Samsung device running Android 4.2.2.

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Meet Exo Level / Exoon, The Shady Company Squatting AndroidTV.com And Using It To Sell A Crappy Android Set Top Box

Ever been to AndroidTV.com? I doubt it! But you probably have been to android.com/tv, which is the official site for Google's new Android TV platform unveiled at Google I/O earlier this year. The former URL, though, isn't owned by Google at all - and that's apparently been cause for friction.

If you're the kind to pay attention to domain name disputes involving major companies (admittedly, boring stuff), you're probably aware that most corporations are very active in fighting what is known as "squatting" - wherein a domain registrant either holds a domain for "ransom" or attempts to use the domain's name to confuse or misdirect customers into believing their product or service is somehow related to another product, company, or service.

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Oppo Releases KitKat-Based ColorOS 2.0 For Find 5, Is Actually Half-Baked OmniROM Port Filled With Bugs

Since it was unveiled in February 2013, Oppo’s Find 5 has been running versions of their ColorOS based on Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. The release of KitKat in October of 2013 has had Find 5 owners waiting anxiously for a 4.4-based version of ColorOS on their devices. The presence of ColorOS 2.0, based on KitKat, running on newer Oppo devices like the N3 and R5 has only increased their anticipation. Still, when users saw Oppo announce a ColorOS 2.0 build based on Android 4.4 for the Find 5, they were quickly disappointed by a bug-filled experience.

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After complaints began rolling in, an Oppo representative elaborated that “external developers” created the new version.

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Xposed GEL Settings Gets A Material Makeover, Automatically Hides Homescreen Apps In The Drawer In Version 2.2

Most Xposed modules add a simple change or tweak one or two settings. The Xposed GEL Settings module, colloquially known as XGELS, is a bit more ambitious. This tool for customizing the default Google Experience Launcher keeps adding new features every few months, and the latest actually adds something that isn't available in erstwhile competitors like Nova or Apex. You can download it on the Play Store now, though you'll need root and the Xposed Framework to run it.

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First of all, XGELS has been given a Material Design makeover, though at the moment this is mostly apparent in the settings itself (your primary interaction with the module).

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[Lollipop Feature Spotlight] Android 5.0 Now Includes Advanced Goat Recognition Technology

Google's developers are notorious for including little jokes and easter eggs throughout all of their products. When your job consists of writing thousands of lines of code and testing obscure bugs, you're going to lose your mind without some kind of outlet. We usually see their sense of humor show up in Google Doodles, easter eggs, and even in the occasional bug report.

This time we're diving straight into the Android SDK to check out a function called isUserAGoat. This is for real, people. And as a few Android developers could tell you, it's actually been there since Android 4.2 (API 17).

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