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[APK Teardown] Google App v4.8 Prepares For 'Ok, Google' Offline, Voice Commands To Control Volume And Brightness, And Much More

Most of the app updates this week were relatively quiet, with the notable exception of Play Music with its new ad-supported radio feature. That doesn't have to mean some of the updates don't have something new to offer. The Google app (formerly "Search") was bumped up to v4.8 yesterday, but it doesn't seem to have any noticeable changes right now. However, a look under the hood reveals some pretty interesting features on the horizon.

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Inbox v1.9 Adds New Compose And Reminder Home Screen Shortcuts [APK Download]

The updates came rolling in quickly this morning. Among them was a fresh bump to Google's Inbox app – the email app for people without time for email. This release was a little light on truly new features as far as the main interface is concerned, but it finally brought a feature to light we've been expecting for a few months: home screen shortcuts to jump straight into writing a new email or scheduling reminders.

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[Android Wear 5.0.1 Feature Spotlight] Double Or Triple Click The Watch's Button To Activate Theatre Or Sunlight Mode

There's a lot to love about Android Wear 5.0.1. The new custom watch face support was just the tip of the iceberg, as we have recently discovered that you can disable Tilt to wake, image searches are more functional, and screenshot support is available but finicky. Another new feature that made it onto Wear 5.0.1 is the new mode switcher for Theatre and Sunlight, both of which are accessible by swiping down on the watch face and scrolling beyond the Mute screen.

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PSA: Keyboard Shortcuts For Screenshots Are Back In The Web Version Of The Google Play Store

The new Play Store is certainly snazzy, but a lot of the functionality of the older site has been missing ever since it got a fresh coat of digital paint. One of the most bemoaned omissions was contextual keyboard shortcuts, especially handy for touch typists whose fingers never leave the keys. (ThinkPad users, I'm looking at you.) Good news, everyone: as of late yesterday, they're back.

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On any single app listing, press the left or right arrow keys to navigate between the posted screenshots.

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Popup Widget Lets You Use Widgets On Your Homescreen Without Having To Look At Them

Widgets are an indispensible part of Android for many users, including yours truly. It's just too bad that they're so ugly - who wants to use a 1080p screen for looking at Twitter feeds or checking emails when you could stare at some fantastic wallpaper instead? All joking aside, Popup Widget is a pretty fantastic solution for those who prefer their homescreens without clutter.

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It's a simple idea: instead of having a big, space-consuming widget sit there all the time, hide it in a shortcut.

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Tip: The Google Keyboard For Android Supports Text Expansion, Here's How To Use It

I'm a huge fan of text expanders. Seriously, they are necessary to me. As a regular user of both Mac and Windows, I have sought out solutions on both platforms and rely on them daily. That's why I've always felt horrified that there weren't any great options on Android. After all, mobile devices are already input-impaired, it only makes sense that we need quality shortcuts. As it turns out, such a shortcut has been under our noses for quite some time, tucked away where few would look and only available with the stock Android 4.1 (or higher) keyboard.

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[Meta] New At AndroidPolice.com - Post Navigation With Keyboard Shortcuts [Updated: New Functionality]

Being a huge fan of keyboard shortcuts (I have most of Gmail's keys memorized and use them exclusively for maximum productivity every day), I jumped at the opportunity to add similar functionality to AndroidPolice.com itself.

On various pages of the site that contain multiple posts, like the homepage, category, author, and tag pages, you can now:

  • press "j" to jump to the next article in the list
  • press "k" to jump to the previous article in the list
  • press "o" or "Enter" to go to the article that's closest to the top of the visible browser area
  • (new) press "O" to do the same as above, except in a new browser tab/window
  • (new) press "c" or "C" on a post page to zoom to the comments box

Furthermore, if you're at the end of a list, pressing "j" will advance to the next page.

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From The Creator Of Tweet Lanes: Chris Lacy's Action Launcher Now In The Play Store

Chris Lacy, developer of the gorgeous, widely lauded Tweet Lanes, has finally brought his latest creation to the Play Store – Action Launcher.

As the name would suggest, Action Launcher is a custom launcher with an emphasis on its ever-present action bar. The action bar allows users to quickly open a side-panel app drawer which, in Lacy's words, "aims to allow you to load any app in one second from your home screen." The bar also features Search and Play Store shortcuts, along with an action overflow.

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[New App] Conjure Is Probably The Smartest Launcher Companion We've Seen For Android

Looking to give users the "fastest, smartest launcher for Android," Jesse Andersen brought Conjure to the Play Store recently. The app, which is actually more of a launcher companion, can perform an incredible range of actions, from finding and launching apps to calling contacts, adjusting device settings (like volume, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc.), and searching the web.

What's great about this app is not that it can do a lot, but that it actually adapts to your usage, storing a history of actions and listing content results by frequency of use.

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Facebook App Updated To Version 1.9.2 – Say Goodbye To Messenger And Camera Shortcuts

You may remember the recent Facebook update that added two rather controversial app shortcuts on users' devices, with icons that had to be revised because they looked a little too similar to a couple of Android's stock icons.

If you found the added shortcuts to be redundant, confusing, or just plain useless, you're in luck - with the app's latest update, the shortcuts have been totally removed.

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It's not exactly clear why Facebook so quickly yanked the shortcuts from the app, but rumblings from the user community about the – in many cases – unwanted installation of extra apps may have something to do with the decision.

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