03
Dec
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That fingerprint reader that came with your Samsung Galaxy gadget can secure your lockscreen, but unlocking your device isn't the only task it can help speed up. For heavy PayPal users, it can be an ideal way to make online purchases more quickly. Instead of keying in your PayPal credentials, you can apply your print. Now this ability has come to the Play Store version of the app.

Screenshot 2014-12-03 at 11.29.32 AM

To take advantage of the functionality, you need a Galaxy phone or tablet with a fingerprint reader such as S5, Note 4, Alpha, or Tab S.

03
Dec
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Smartphones are great—except when they don't work right. Google aims to make sure that doesn't happen as often with the new Device Assist app for Nexus, GPE, and Android One devices running Lollipop. Just open the app and it can (maybe) tell you what's wrong.

2 3 1

03
Dec
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Are you willing to exercise to get in shape? I see some of you nodding your heads, but others look like they need more motivation. What if missiles were flying towards you? What if the fate of the world depended on you throwing just five more punches or hanging in there long enough for three more of your best push-ups? If that's the kind of incentive you need to start burning those calories, then developer Six to Start has the app for you.

03
Dec
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Are you tired of reading about some of the more nefarious developments at the Big Four US wireless carriers? Are you stuck in a two-year contract that you signed to get a steep discount on your phone? Are you ready to make a change to a carrier that at least pretends that it needs your business? Then Ting would like a word. The Sprint MVNO is doubling down on its offer to help pay off your early termination fee, up to $150.

02
Dec
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Update: It looks like a few English-speaking news outlets have been given early review units as well. Engadget has one, and so does Cnet, among a few less-reliable sites. Cnet was kind enough to post a video, embedded below.

Are you curious to see how the versatile YotaPhone 2 performs in the real world? So are we. But with a launch in Russia and Europe scheduled for later this week and no US launch in sight, we'll have to admire it from afar.

02
Dec
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Are you curious to see how the versatile YotaPhone 2 performs in the real world? So are we. But with a launch in Russia and Europe scheduled for later this week and no US launch in sight, we'll have to admire it from afar. One Russian technology site is a little more lucky, however: Hi-Tech.mail.ru has managed to snag a review unit. If you're fluent in Russian you can head over there now - if not, you can check out this Google translation.

02
Dec
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There have been whispers about an impending update to Android 5.0.1 for a little while now, and it looks like Google has begun pushing the new release to AOSP now.

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 9.01.16 PM

The build being pushed right now is LRX22C. We've heard that Android 5.0.1 will also be coming to Android Wear, a possibility corroborated by Derek Ross, who points out dramatically improved battery life for Google's wearables. The update is also supposed to fix a variety of issues with the initial 5.0 builds, but in the absence of factory images or OTAs (for now), all we can do is wait for the push to complete and look around for any goodies.

02
Dec
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Google's office suite in the cloud can handle a number of Microsoft's Office formats, a necessity born from the sheer entrenchment of the competition. The search giant isn't bitter though. Rather than shun the task of working with the various file types out there, it has added support for converting 15 more. The list includes less common formats spread across Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

Newly supported Microsoft Office formats:

  • Google Docs
    • dot, dotx, dotm, docm
  • Google Sheets
    • xlt, xltx, xltm, xlsm
  • Google Slides
    • pot, potx, potm, pptm, pps, ppsx, ppsm

After converting the documents, you're free to edit them as you would any other.

02
Dec
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With Android Lollipop finally getting into full swing, November was the month for developers (or at least those devs that are paying attention) to release Material Design UI updates. Those updates took up a lot of AP coverage last month, but there are still a few standout apps for you to check out below. Just don't get too attached to Clippit - it's entirely too cool and useful to survive the wrath of the US copyright system.

02
Dec
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Google has just updated the language of the support page where software update policies for Nexus and GPE devices are summarized, and the new text is not exactly encouraging on first read. The following clause, regarding carriers, was added:

Based on your carrier, it may take longer than two weeks after release to get an update.

We do not know if this is merely a safety net to avoid the ire of customers in the case of things like the Nexus 7 2013 LTE and the whole Verizon debacle, or if this is actually a forward-looking change in policy that could affect new devices like the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 LTE.

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