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update

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A Closer Look At The Design Of Hangouts 4.0

Nearly two months after we first saw the in-progress Hangouts 4.0 update, we were starting to worry it would never make its official appearance on the Play Store. But recently our collective wish was granted and Hangouts got a big update. Google says this is Hangouts' update to material design, but what exactly does that mean for the app? There's more here than just a new FAB, so let's take a closer look at some of the notable design changes in Hangouts 4.0.

The journey to material

Despite what the change log may suggest, Hangouts didn't suddenly arrive at "material" with the 4.0 update.

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Snapchat 9.14 Offers A Travel Mode That Uses Less Data, New Emoji Button, And More

Snapchat's developers have pushed out another update to the Android app, version 9.14. Like before, users get to satisfy their thirst with a trickle of new features.

One tucked away change is the ability to see who has viewed your Story by tapping on the eyeball in the corner. We also see an addition aimed specifically at users with limited or slower data connections. There's now the option to dive into Settings and enable Travel Mode, which reduces mobile data usage.

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AOSP Developer Changelog Posted For v5.1.1_r6 (LMY48G) To v5.1.1_r9 (LMY48I)

Earlier today, Google released updated factory images for all of its supported Nexus devices to patch up some reasonably serious vulnerabilities in a core Android library called Stagefright. While we await the stream of OTAs that are sure to follow, there's a fresh code drop to the Android Open Source Project containing security-related patches. Don't expect to see any new features or user-facing changes, this one is all about closing loopholes. Nevertheless, there are some interesting things to peek at.

A quick look at the changelog shows the highest concentration of fixes were made to frameworks/av (audio/visual), which is used extensively in the Stagefright library.

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AirDroid Introduces Desktop Widget And Right-Click File Sharing For Windows, New Menu Bar Tabs For Mac, And SMS Search For Both

AirDroid offers one of the more Android-themed ways to get files from your computer to your smartphone or tablet. It's green, there's a bugdroid in the logo, and, well—this isn't the point. Besides, file sharing is just scratching the surface. AirDroid lets you control your device remotely, accessing texts and turning on the camera. Now the developers have rolled out a number of intriguing features in the latest updates to its Windows and Mac desktop clients.

On the Windows side of things, there's a new desktop widget. It lets you access much of the functionality the main client offers without having to load up the full window.

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InBrief
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NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet Software Upgrade 3.1 Brings Android 5.1.1, Required For Voluntary Recall

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Real-Time Strategy Classic Z: Steel Soldiers Loses Tegra Exclusivity, Now Available For Most Android 2.3+ Devices

It's been a good week for real-time strategy fans on Android. Yesterday a new game from the Anomaly developers was released, SPACECOM, and today gamers without access to NVIDIA-branded hardware can play Z: Steel Soldiers. If you don't recall, this Android port came out back in August of last year - about thirteen years after the original was released on the PC. It's a conventional real-time strategy game about robots killin' robots.

Z: Steel Soldiers can now be installed on any Android device running 2.3.3 or higher (or at least any of them that I've owned), so long as you've got $7 to put in the developers' jar.

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InBrief
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Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 LTE On AT&T Gets Lollipop In Android 5.1 OTA Update

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The Xbox Music Android App Has Found Its Groove, Rebranding Takes Effect In Latest Update

Xbox Music is now Groove. This is news that Microsoft detailed weeks ago, but it's only now—coinciding with the release of Windows 10—that we're seeing the name change on Android.

In the latest version, the rebranding has taken place. Microsoft highlights the ability to upload your music to OneDrive, stream music with a Music Pass subscription ($9.99 a month or $99 a year), and save files for offline use.

Groove1 Groove2 Groove3

Not wasting any time, Sonos has already announced that it supports Groove. The integration is still in beta, but you're free to try it out right away. Look for it under Add Music Services.

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3DMark Update Brings Android TV Support, New Sling Shot Test For OpenGL ES 3.0+, And More

When you're looking to see just how capable your Android hardware is, Futuremark's 3DMark is one benchmarking app that will let you know real quick. Fire it up, see how smoothly you device can handle a beautifully rendered scene, and walk away with a better idea of where your phone or tablet sits in the global hierarchy of things.

Well, after the latest update, I should probably say set-top box as well. You can now run 3DMark on Android TV.

3DMark

3DMark offers a new graphics benchmark video test intended for devices running Android 5.0 or later, and it supports OpenGL ES 3.0 and above.

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Yahoo News Digest App Now Scales To Android Tablets Using A New Horizontal Interface

Android tablet users know what it's like to get stuck with a phone app stretched out to a large display. It's less of an issue today than it used to be, now that smartphones come with 1080p displays and apps sport visual elements that would look crisp on a television screen. But sometimes you're still left with an excess of white space or an interface that you can't spin horizontally, even though that's how you want to hold your tablet.

Well, Yahoo has updated its News Digest app to play along more nicely with Android tablets. The interface still looks similar to the highly stylized experience users have grown accustomed to on their phones, but now it's wider, and you get to swipe left and right.

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