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WhatsApp is testing colorful text status updates similar to Facebook's

You know how all of a sudden your Facebook feed started filling up with status updates that had colorful backgrounds? That might soon start happening on WhatsApp. The feature, which started rolling out to Facebook's Android users late last year then spread to other platforms a couple of months ago, is now being tested in WhatsApp's new status screen. Perhaps WhatsApp hopes it will convince people to start using those new statuses more - 99% of my friends don't bother with them and I've heard the same from lots of people.

To try these new colorful text statuses, you have to head into the Status tab and look for the floating pencil button on the bottom right.

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New OnePlus 3/3T Open Beta adds parallel app support to run multiple instances of the same app

The OxygenOS Open Beta updates keep on rolling for the OnePlus 3 and 3T and this latest one brings a very interesting feature: parallel apps. If you're not familiar with the concept, this lets you run the same app in multiple profiles or instances. That might seem superfluous, but think of apps that only let you log in with one account like Facebook or WhatsApp when you might need multiple profiles, or maybe you want to have different settings for each instance of an app to test them out or for different purposes... who knows.

We've already covered App Cloner who does this, but the most famous in the category is Parallel Space.

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Tablet sales decline 3.4% year-over-year in spite of increases from Amazon, Apple, and Huawei

It's no secret that the tablet market has been shrinking for several years now. The IDC has been tracking data like this for quite some time now, and is reporting that this trend hasn't changed for quarter 2 of 2017. That being said, sales increases from companies such as Amazon, Apple, and Huawei have slowed this decline to 3.4%, or 37.9 million worldwide shipments. That's noticeably better than the 8.5% decline we saw for 1Q17.

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Android Messages v2.3 update that adds 'Mark as Read' button in notifications is now available for all [APK Download]

Android Messages v2.3 was introduced with Android O Developer Preview 3 back in June, and it brought a small yet powerful thing: a 'Mark as read' button in notifications. This was something that many people were glad to see, but it was only available in DP3. Now, Android Messages v2.3 has rolled out to all devices, meaning that all of you can now experience what a wonderful feature this is.

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Starbucks for Android now has fingerprint support

Those that frequent the land of French roasts and baristas to get their caffeine fix can now save a few extra seconds each day. The Starbucks app for Android was just updated, and among the recent changes is fingerprint support. So the next time you log in or reload your balance, it could be as easy as a single tap.

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[Deal Alert] 8 and 16 zone Rachio 2nd generation smart sprinkler controllers on Woot for $145 and $175 ($55/$85 off)

If you missed this deal the last time we saw it (as many of you did), not only is it back, but it's now slightly better. Over at the popular daily deals site Woot you can pick up the Rachio smart sprinkler controller in both the 8 and 16 zone varieties for just $144.99 and $174.99, respectively. It turns out that, in addition to flying electric cars, the future also includes well-manicured lawns. 

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Play Store v8.1 adds notification channels on Android O [APK Download]

A new version of the Google Play Store began rolling out earlier today with few, if any noticeable changes. However, if you're running the Android O previews on any devices, there will be one change to look forward to: Notification Channels. The latest version brings five distinct channels for customization, including: Security and Maintenance, Updated Apps, App Updates Available, Account Alerts, and High Priority. Now we can make a few more decisions about which notifications we want to see and if they matter more or less than the developers thought they should.

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[Update: Fixed in a recent beta] Latest Google Play Services seems to have broken casting using Android hotspot for WiFi

Around the world, a lot of people rely on their mobile devices as their only point of access to the internet and don't have a WiFi connection or router at home. For many of those people, using a Chromecast would have been impossible if it weren't for one small logical workaround: creating a hotspot with their phone that the Chromecast can connect to. Unfortunately, that workaround is no longer, uhm, working right now and it sounds like the latest Google Play Services is to blame.

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The unlocked Asus ZenFone AR is now available on Amazon starting at $599

There has only been one Tango phone up to this point, the hilariously oversized Lenovo Phab2 Pro. Now, Asus is arriving on the scene with a phone that actually looks like a phone rather than a re-badged tablet. The ZenFone AR went on sale through Verizon last night, and now it's live on Amazon as an unlocked device. For a mere $599, you can begin exploring augmented reality, which I hear is way cooler than regular reality.

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Blue Satellite review: Blue's $400 attempt at wireless headphones sound fantastic, but are compromised

Sitting on my desk is currently the third pair of Satellite headphones Blue Microphone has shipped me since the company first sent them. In May. It's been a long time coming, and I'll let you know why, but our review is finally here, months later. Unfortunately, even with this third and final refined pair, I just can't recommend Blue's attempt at a premium wireless headphone. It's too compromised, too dated, and too expensive to justify.

To be clear, I've loved Blue's headphones to dates - the MoFis, Ellas, and Lolas all impressed me. In particular, Blue's efforts to integrate high-quality analog amplifiers directly into its headphones (aside from the fully-passive Lolas) have been of great interest to me, and I've generally been very satisfied with the results.

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