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Chrome 54 adds background media playback, colored tabs in tab switcher, and more [APK Download]

It's time for a new Chrome release, and as always, there is both new features for users and new abilities developers can use. Let's take a look at what's new.

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Facebook introduces Recommendations, a formal way to get suggestions from your friends

As I have moved on from sharing my every move via Facebook, one of the most useful things I do on the platform nowadays is take advantage of the expertise of my friends. Finding a place to get lunch, identifying a dentist covered by my employer's insurance, and all manner of similar problems can be solved in part by soliciting suggestions from my social network. Facebook is now rolling out a feature called Recommendations that helps you make sense of your friends' input.

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The Elder Scrolls: Legends card battle game comes to Android in pre-release form

Finally, Bethesda's storied Elder Scrolls series is available on Android! Sort of. If you were hoping to romp through Skyrim or one of the older open world RPGs that PC and console players love, well, keep hoping. The Elder Scrolls: Legends is a card battle game, like Magic: The Gathering, Hearthstone, or any of the hundreds of similar titles in the Play Store. At the moment it's in pre-release (beta), but it's listed as compatible with both phones and tablets running Android 4.0 and higher.

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LG announces the isai Beat, a smaller V20 with water resistance, for Japan

The V20's a nice phone, but its 5.7-inch screen, combined with the secondary display up top, can make it a bit unwieldy to hold for those of you with smaller hands. Well, LG's got a solution for you - the oddly-named isai Beat (LGV34), a phone with most of the V20's features, a 5.2-inch display, and water resistance. However, if you don't live in Japan, you might have a hard time getting your hands on one of these.

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Plants vs. Zombies Heroes brings multiplayer card battles to the casual franchise

Plants vs. Zombies started as a fairly simple lane-based tower defense game, much loved thanks to its tight gameplay and whimsical style. But like any casual game that gets a big following, it's now branching into other genres as well. The Garden Warfare spinoffs on consoles have done well as Team Fortress-style multiplayer shooters, and now PopCap is going after another multiplayer giant: Hearthstone. PvZ Heroes, now out of geo-limited beta, brings semi-random card decks into the eternal undead-rhododendron fight.

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Google Pixel review: A very good phone by Google

Google's new smartphones, the Pixel and Pixel XL, are a watershed moment for the company. They're Google's attempt to define itself as a hardware manufacturer worthy of comparison not just to Apple's iPhone, but the very products its Android operating system has allowed to flourish over the past eight years. Or, as the refrain goes: Google is finally going to compete with other smartphone manufacturers.

This narrative can get in the way of discussing the Pixel for what it is (a smartphone), so I'll try to avoid confusing what this phone means to Google as a company and what it means to you as a consumer.

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Sony's intelligent personal assistant and bluetooth bud Xperia Ear is now up for pre-order in Europe

We've known about the Sony Xperia Ear since February when it was announced at MWC along with 3 other prototype projects. At the time, Sony said it was coming late in the summer, but the date was later postponed to November, and here we are. The Xperia Ear is now available for pre-order exclusively on the Xperia Store online in Europe. It'll cost GBP 179 in the UK and EUR 199 in France, Spain, Germany, and other European countries.

So what's the Xperia Ear? It's a Bluetooth headset, but it's not made for music as much as it's a personal assistant living inside your ear.

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23 new and notable Android apps and live wallpapers from the last 2 weeks (10/3/16 - 10/17/16)

Welcome to the roundup of the best new Android applications and live wallpapers that went live in the Play Store or were spotted by us in the previous 2 weeks or so.

Please wait for this page to load in full in order to see the widgets, which include ratings and pricing info.

Looking for the previous roundup editions? Find them here.

Featured App

AccuBattery

Today's roundup is presented by AccuBattery from Digibites. Barring any accidents, the battery is the part of your phone that generally wears out the fastest, so it pays to keep an eye on its health.

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[Update: Winners] Humble Mobile Bundle 21 adds The Last Door and Prismatica—plus, we've got 10 free codes to give away

We're at the midway point of the latest Humble Mobile Bundle, and that means it's time for new games to be added. Humble Mobile Bundle 21 now comes with nine games total. The new arrivals are The Last Door and Prismatica. If you want a chance at winning the whole bundle free, read on.

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Anki's Cozmo robot starts shipping today for $179.99

Anki's first foray into consumer AI toys was Anki Drive (later Overdrive), and earlier this year the company announced a new AI product. It's a robot called Cozmo, and it's available today. Unlike some of the other consumer robots, Cozmo doesn't pretend to be a personal assistant or household helper. It's a toy, but a smart toy with personality.

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