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Amazon Is Back With Another Bunch Of Appstore Freebies For New Year's Eve: 33 Apps And Games, $110 Value

It seems like every holiday Amazon comes back with another handful of paid apps to give away for free. It's New Year's Eve in most of the world, so here's the latest batch: a series of 33 games and apps that you can get for free, gratis, and nothing. None of these are exactly a must-have, but hey, why not add them to your Amazon account - you can use them on just about any Android device with the external Appstore package. If you bought all of the apps and games on offer today, they'd add up to over $100 USD.

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Coolpad's Android Devices Have Factory-Installed Backdoor That Impersonates Google Play Services Framework, Says Security Firm

In a report released today, security researchers claim to have identified a vulnerability in as many as 24 Coolpad devices. The backdoor, which the researchers at Palo Alto Networks call "CoolReaper," reportedly installs adware without user consent or notification. More problematic is the fact that Coolpad built the backdoor into the operating systems themselves. The cherry on top is that Coolpad even had the nefarious app impersonate the Google Play Services framework file to avoid alerting users.

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[Update: Winners] Win One Of Five Nexus 5s From Avast And Android Police

We've often talked about the benefits of having Avast Mobile Security installed, which includes its top-notch anti-theft solution. It looks like a lot of folks listened, because the app just hit 100 million downloads. As a celebration of this milestone, we've teamed up with Avast to give away not one, not two, but five Nexus 5s to five lucky winners. A premium Avast license will also be included with each device, so you can keep your new gadget safe.

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This contest is now over.

The final results are listed below. If you've won, you will be contacted in the near future.

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Trend Micro Opens Mouth, Inserts Foot After Falsely Claiming That The Play Store Is Full Of Malware

Just like any open marketplace, there's a lot of crap in the Play Store. In a strange and roundabout way, I'm actually OK with that - separating the silver from the dross of Android apps is one of our core functions at Android Police. But a recent promotion from antivirus vendor Trend Micro painted an extremely dim picture of the Play Store. The company claimed, among other things, that the Play Store was full of "potentially evil doppelgangers... with many carrying malware."

Trend's report of the situation (PDF link) was chilling, reporting that 100% of the Top 10 apps in the Finance, Media & Video, and Widgets categories had fake apps associated with them, along with 90% in the Business, Music, and Weather categories.

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Lookout Introduces Theft Alerts, A Feature Set Similar To What Other Security Apps Have Had For Years

An update is rolling out to the Lookout security app with a new feature tucked away exclusively for premium account holders. This feature is theft alerts. After the alerts have been enabled, Lookout will send phone owners an email automatically when the phone starts engaging in behavior that indicates it could have been stolen. This way you get notified as soon as shenanigans begin, rather than having to manually check for the device's location yourself. Lookout defines said shenanigans as follows.

Lookout will now send out Theft Alerts when:

  • Your passcode is entered incorrectly
  • Your SIM card is removed
  • Airplane Mode has been enabled
  • Your device has been turned off
  • Someone removed Lookout as the device administrator

Some of these actions aren't really all that suspicious, especially for travelers who may regularly power down their phones entirely rather than switch to airplane mode.

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[Update: Winner!] Win A 16GB Galaxy S5 And Gear Fit From Bitdefender And Android Police

Smartphones are probably some of the most personal devices on the planet. They hold our contacts. Our family photos. Our, um, personal photos. Text messages. Private conversations. Many of a person's secrets could probably be uncovered with a little exploration of their smartphone. So, what's the best way to keep things safe on your smartphone? With a little security, of course.

Android offers a few of its own solutions to keeping your private data private, like a customizable unlock pattern, password, or PIN code on the lockscreen. If someone were to get past that, however, it's open season – all your data is just there for the taking.

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LG G3 Gets Official: 5.5" 2560x1440 Screen, Snapdragon 801, 2-3GB Of RAM, MicroSD And Removable Battery, And A 13MP Camera With Laser Auto-Focus

LG didn't do much of a job keeping the flagship G3 under wraps - pretty much every detail has been leaked in some capacity before today. But the press event in London made it official and laid the phone bare for all to see. LG's headliner for 2014 bests headliners from both Samsung and HTC with a 5.5", 2560x1440 screen boasting a DPI of 538. Unfortunately the oh-so-shiny case is only "metallic" (read: plastic), and not true metal like the HTC One family.

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The phone's camera is also given a boost, not in megapixels, but in focusing power. The G3's camera has the same 13 megapixel resolution and optical image stabilization as previous models, but a tiny infrared laser module next to the rear camera will allow for more accurate autofocus in "a fraction of the time" required by conventional smartphone lenses.

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Sprint Adds New Total Equipment Protection Plus With More Things You Don't Need For An Extra $2 Per Month

It's hard to be Sprint these days. Its LTE rollout is lagging way behind the competition, it's losing subscribers and cash fast, and everyone is making fun of its "Framily" plans. That's too bad, but Sprint isn't going to get back in our good graces by charging money for things we already have or don't need in the first place. That's just what it's doing with the new Total Equipment Protection (TEP) Plus plan.

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Google Issues Refunds And An Extra $5 Play Store Credit To Android Users Who Bought The Phony 'Virus Shield' App

One of the more far-reaching Android Police stories this year was our exclusive write-up of Virus Shield, an impressively popular anti-virus app that managed to make it to the top of the Play Store's sales charts in less than a week, despite the fact that it did absolutely nothing. After digging into the app's code, Artem Russakovskii and various Android Police readers found that it was nothing more than a few images and a toggle. Virus Shield racked up more than 10,000 downloads at $3.99 a pop, and the app was removed from the Play Store hours after our story was published.

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The #1 New Paid App In The Play Store Costs $4, Has Over 10,000 Downloads, A 4.7-Star Rating... And It's A Total Scam [Updated]

Computer security is important, even if the computer in question fits in your hand. There should be no doubt about that fact. However, you should be just as wary of security software as any other app. Case in point: there's a slick new app in the Play Store called Virus Shield. It's got a cool look and it's easy to operate. Just press a single button and your virus shield is activated.

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For a new app, and especially one that costs $3.99, it's doing phenomenally well. Appbrain says it's been available for just over a week, and it's currently the #1 new paid app...

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