Android Police

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Chrome 54 Beta adds an updated New Tab Page, background video playback, and more [APK Download]

Chrome 54 Beta is now available on the Google Play Store, for you adventurous beta testers out there. This beta brings some very useful new features to Chrome, so let's dive right in!

New Tab page

Chrome 54 brings a redesigned New Tab page, and honestly, I'm not sure I'm a fan. The changed New Tab page still maintains the Google logo and the search bar, but does away with the Bookmarks or Recent Tabs buttons.

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Samsung's Galaxy Note7 IMEI tool is now live to tell you if a Note7 is explosive

Samsung is currently working to recall all the Galaxy Note7 devices it sold in the last month because of the well-known risk of battery failure. Knowing if your Note7 is affected right now is easy—if you have a Note 7, it's recalled. In the future, you might not know for certain when you see a Note7. Samsung's online IMEI check tool is now available to verify if a device is recalled or not.

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Samsung and the CPSC officially recall the Galaxy Note7 in the US after 92 reports of battery issues

Samsung and the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) have just announced an official recall of the Galaxy Note7 in the US. This news comes after statements last week that Samsung and the CPSC are working together to issue a formal recall and reports that Samsung is limiting the batteries of Note7s in Korea to 60% via an OTA update. According to the CPSC, 92 reports of batteries overheating in the US have been received. This is out of an estimated one million units sold.

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Cyanogen OS 13 is rolling out to the Wileyfox Spark and Spark+

There aren't a ton of devices running the commercial Cyanogen OS ROM these days, but the Wileyfox Spark and Spark+ are two of the most prominent (which really tells you something). These UK phones launched with Cyanogen OS 12 (Lollipop) earlier this year, but now Cyanogen OS 13 is finally rolling out.

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Nova Launcher 5.0 beta integrates new Pixel-style UI options

Nova Launcher remains the go-to alternative launcher for power users, customization fanatics, and plain old everyday Android fans. The developer continues to iterate the app with a ton of new features and options, and the full version bump to 5.0 is all about emulating the look of Google's official (and so far unannounced) Pixel launcher. It's available in beta form now from the Play Store program, but the developer also makes the updated APK available as a direct download.

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Pandora announces Pandora Plus, a $4.99 a month streaming service with unlimited skips, repeats, and offline listening

I've never quite understood the appeal of Pandora - I want to be able to control what I'm listening to, not be tied to a radio where I can't choose what song to play. While Pandora is massively popular, the company must have realized this too - it's just announced Pandora Plus, which lets you skip or repeat songs playing on the radio station you've selected an unlimited amount of times.

This isn't full control like Spotify or Play Music, but that's not what Pandora is aiming for. It wants to be a radio station; not a radio station like your grandparents listened to on the wireless, but a modern service with lots of stations for different music genres, moods, and artists.

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Android apps can now easily access Google's harmful website database

Google's Safe Browsing feature has been around since 2007, and has protected millions of people from harmful threats on the internet. It's a blacklist of harmful websites, such as those distributing malware and phishing scams, that Google actively updates every day. The database is used by Chrome, Firefox, and even Safari to ensure users can be as safe as possible online.

Back at Google I/O, Google announced they would make an official API for applications to check a given website in the Safe Browsing database. Starting with Google Play Services 9.4, developers can finally use the API in their apps.

The Safe Browsing API uses the latest version of the Safe Browsing Network Protocol, meaning it's designed to be as quick (and use up as little cellular data) as possible.

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Control4 smart home tech now works with Amazon Alexa voice control

The smart home revolution doesn't seem to be coming as quickly as some had hoped, but whenever it does break out, Amazon intends to be on the ground floor. To that end, the latest addition to Alexa's growing list of voice control connections is Control4, a semi-proprietary collection of home automation tools. The company announced a new Alexa skill that works with the Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Tap, and any other device that can connect to the voice service.

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Samsung releases Samsung Focus, an all-in-one productivity app [APK Download]

When the BlackBerry Priv arrived last year, one of the built-in applications was the BlackBerry Hub. It merged your emails, notifications from supported social networks, and calendars all in one place. It was a pretty good idea, and Samsung has just released a similar application, Samsung Focus.

Focus is much more oriented towards business users than the average Joe the BlackBerry Hub aims to please. Samsung Focus can sync your emails, contacts and calendars, memos, tasks, and more. Most of these features are only compatible with Exchange servers, but the email feature does support IMAP and POP3 email as well. This means that essentially every email service is compatible.

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SwiftKey adds neural network predictions to the stable version of its keyboard

SwiftKey released an early experimental version of its neural network-powered keyboard as a standalone alpha app late last year. At the time, we were pretty impressed with the quality of the predictions. Now, the company (which has since been acquired by Microsoft) has updated the main app with new neural network features.

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