Android Police

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[Fun Skit] Alexa and Siri battle it off in Ellen Sketch, leave Google Home victorious

If your Friday morning is groggy and you're impatient to get to the weekend, I have one fun little video for you to watch. Ellen DeGeneres recently took on personal assistants in her show with a brief sketch that mostly joshes on their names. These assistants are still quite dumb right now, but look at what happens when they grow personalities of their own, get possessive, and start fighting for your attention:

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Essential PH-1 shows up at Best Buy in unlocked and Sprint guises for $699.99 and $749.99, respectively

Andy Rubin's Essential hasn't had the greatest start, what with executives jumping ship and shipments being delayed so early on, but things may finally be looking up. The startup's flagship product, the PH-1 smartphone, has just hit Best Buy's website with listings for both the Sprint and unlocked models.

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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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