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Play Store v7.8 prepares to add pre-registration rewards, settings for Instant Apps, Play Protect, and more [APK Teardown + Download]

The Play Store has just been updated to version 7.8 as of this morning, at least for some people. This release brings a couple of small changes to the interface and a few bigger changes in preparation for the future. Google has added a little reminder note to get people back on track with automatic updates, meanwhile it has also removed a toggle on some devices that gave users a choice about whether icons should be added to the home screen for newly installed apps. (But don't worry, that's conditional.) On the teardown front, we can see big signs of progress for Instant Apps, a move toward branding the malware scanner, and a clue that pre-registering for apps may finally be worth something besides a reminder notification.

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Play Store v7.7 prepares to roll out new security features and split notification settings to a separate screen [APK Teardown]

Google is pushing out a new version of the Play Store for Android users around the world. Like most updates to this version, there really aren't any notable changes showing up already, but there are a few interesting things hidden beneath the hood. There are some new features focused on improving security for apps that are updated from unexpected sources and making its security scanner more visible to users. There's also a plan to move notification settings to their own dedicated screen.

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PhotoScan 1.1 raises maximum resolution of scans on some phones

After being released a month ago, one of the main criticisms of PhotoScan, the new simple-but-clever photo scanning app by Google, was that the pixel resolution of the final scan was too low: it was capped to 2000 pixels on the long side. The maximum pixel count was 4 megapixels, but most people were seeing lower quality than that because, Instagram and copycats aside, most pictures are not square.

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Adobe's Fill & Sign Makes It Easy To Digitize And Fill Out Tedious Forms

The dream of the 1990s was a paperless office, a digital wonderland where no one would ever have to change a toner cartridge again. That, um, didn't work out - for the love of Pete, some of you still have fax machines. For all those annoying times when the old dead tree world intersects with your online life, Adobe has created Fill & Sign, an app that lets you easily digitize and automatically fill in paperwork. Yes, you can even put your signature in there.

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This sort of thing has been done before: point your phone's camera at a form, snap a photo, and the app will automatically crop, re-orient, and clean up the page for digital formatting.

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Android VP Of Engineering Hiroshi Lockheimer Opens Up About 4.2's New Security System

We knew that Android 4.2 would see the introduction of new security features both on your device and in the Play Store, but Computerworld got a chance to speak with Android's VP of Engineering, Hiroshi Lockheimer, about the platform's beefed up security measures, specifically Android's new real-time app scanning utility.

The scanner builds on the functionality of the Play Store's existing security features by bringing app-scanning security to the frontend, scanning incoming apps from third party sources (including apps like Amazon's App Store).

The service is of course "opt-in" – when you first install a third party app on your device, you'll see a friendly popup asking if you'd like Google to check on all your incoming apps for "harmful behavior." The decision to include this feature, according to Lockheimer, came down to the idea that "security [is] a universal thing.

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[New App] Accusoft USB Scanner Lets You Connect And Interface With A Scanner Directly From Android

While Android devices may not be designed to replace the common desktop/laptop, that doesn't mean they can't be used for productivity. And one of the best uses for a device like a tablet is to stay organized. As such, it's not uncommon for users to want to store important documents within their devices. The problem is: how do you get a document from paper to digital without having to go through the trouble of first using a computer? Enter Accusoft USB Scanner.

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Just likes its name suggests, USB Scanner allows you to interface with a USB scanner directly from your Android device.

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Lowe's Has An App Now, Allows You To Create Supplies Lists, Read Reviews, Or Have Items Delivered To Your Home

These days, you're not anybody if you don't have an app. Now, Lowe's is somebody. The home improvement warehouse has launched a mobile app that allows you to search for store locations, items, read reviews on products, manage your Lowe's card, and even have some products shipped to you.

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The app is packed with all the bells and whistles you'd expect from a retail app, including a barcode scanner and the ability to check inventory at the stores nearest you. It even has photo galleries to help you get ideas for decorating your home, and some how-to videos to help you out once you're home.

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NFC In Gingerbread Is Crippled - It's One-Way-Only, And Not The Way We Want

Update 2/9/11: Writing/transmitting via NFC is now possible thanks to the 2.3.3 update.

One thing that was very much anticipated in the Nexus S and Gingerbread in general was NFC (Near Field Communication) support, which is a feature we've never seen before on an Android device. In fact, the vast majority of us took it to mean that it will allow you to use your phone as a credit card, which would indeed be very exciting and insanely cool. Unfortunately, that's not the case here; rather, the technology will allow the Nexus S (and other NFC-capable Android phones) to act as a glorified barcode scanner of sorts.

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App Roundup: 5 Apps That Turn Your Android Phone Into A Portable Document Scanner

Using a camera to “scan” documents to a digital format is nothing new. There are a number of PC applications available that help users turn photographed pages into PDFs or other document formats. Android enthusiasts can now enjoy the same functionality, as higher resolution cameras on mobile devices have finally allowed this application category to reach maturity. This roundup will cover 5 apps you can use to turn your Android device into a portable document scanner.

Keep in mind with all of these applications, lighting conditions and the surface on which a document or book is placed will have an effect on the quality of each “scan.” You will have the best results if you place the documents as flat as possible on a dark, solid color surface in a well lit area.

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