Android Police

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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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Terra Battle 2 is coming soon, and you can pre-register for it today

That's right, the sequel to Mistwalker Corporation's hit tile-based tactical role-playing game Terra Battle is available for pre-registration on the Google Play Store as of today. Apparently, it is aiming to offer a different gameplay experience but still wants to retain the core battle mechanics of the original. So your guess is as good as mine as to what to expect from the gameplay when the sequel is released.

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Google now considers quality when ranking app searches in the Play Store

In a blog post today, Google has revealed that it has made some changes in how the company's search and discovery algorithms work. Now things like performance problems, crashes, and overall jank are considered when ranking apps. This is great for consumers, as it encourages developers to pay closer attention to the quality of experience their products present. 

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