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Spotify launches today in Japan on an invite-only basis, debuts song lyrics on mobile

Spotify today announced the official arrival of its music service in the Land of the Rising Sun. Both Spotify's ad-supported free streaming plan and ad-free subscription will be available in Japan, making it the only music service in the country to offer the choice between these two approaches — or so does Spotify claim.

But the service isn't yet available to all. Users will have to go to Spotify.com in Japan and request an invite to be able to join. Public availability for all is said to be coming later. If they opt for the paid plan, it will cost 980 yen (approx $9.67).

Regardless of whether they choose the freemium or paid subscription, they'll get the benefit of Spotify's wide catalog of international and Japanese artists, its smart curation algorithms with Discover Weekly and Release Radar along with Japanese-centric playlists, its portability from desktops to mobile, PlayStation, WiFi speakers, and more, and its Gaming and Running modes.

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Google Allo hits 5 million downloads in the Play Store, is #8 in Top Charts

Google Allo, the second of Google's two new messaging apps, has just hit five million downloads in the Google Play Store. All the anticipation for Allo (let's forget about the subsequent letdown for now) has made its download numbers soar. However, the aforementioned letdown is quite apparent in its current ranking in the Play Store; while Allo sat at #1 in Top Charts just five days ago, it's since fallen to #8.

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Spaces v1.7 adds capability to save posted images [APK Download]

As some readers might recall, there were a couple of fairly unusual, and very time-consuming teardown posts last week. In the final dash to finish them up, a few app updates were sidelined until they could be checked more thoroughly. Most of them have turned out to be bug fixes or have only small changes that don't really call for attention. The update to Google's micro-community app Spaces isn't very significant either, but it does resolve one of the most common complaints in the app since its release: it's now possible to save images posted to a space.

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Firefox Aurora arrives on the Play Store in "unreleased" state

For a couple of years, Firefox Aurora, the developer edition of the popular browser, has only been available directly from Mozilla. As of today, Aurora has landed on the Play Store, in early access (i.e. unreleased) form. This is presumably because it's unstable and not meant to be used by the general public, and only by those interested in what's coming soon or building the web. Regardless, it is always good to see things in development that will later be deployed to the public version of Firefox, which is currently on v49.

I've been trying to find out when Mozilla first released Aurora for Android, but the best I've found is v29.0a2, made available on February 7 2014.

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Fitbit starts vibrating to remind you to move and allowing third-party notifications on its trackers

When I reviewed the Fitbit Blaze a couple of months ago, some of my gripes with the tracker were more related to the software than the hardware side. I didn't like the limited choice of watch faces and I was annoyed that I couldn't set notifications for emails and third-party apps natively (I know about Fit Notifications), which made the Blaze quasi-useless as a smartwatch replacement on my wrist. But most importantly, even though the app could track my hourly activity and longest sitting times and send me reminders to move, the tracker itself never vibrated which made the reminder approach very inefficient.

Unfortunately, those problems not only affected the Blaze but all of Fitbit's trackers.

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[Finally] Google Play Music now appears to be available in India

Five years - that's how long Indians have had to wait for Google Play Music to come to their country. However, it appears that the massive delay may finally be over. Several India-based AP readers have tipped us that Play Music is now showing up on their devices with songs available for purchase. This news comes just a day after Google's big announcement regarding the Indian market.

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Shazam adds "Auto Shazam" custom tile for Android 7.0 Nougat's Quick Settings

We first saw custom tiles in an Android N Developer Preview a few months back, but unfortunately, not many apps have added this feature. It's a shame, really; custom tiles are easy to use and can add a lot of speed and functionality to frequently-used apps. Now, Shazam has added one called "Auto Shazam," and it might come in handy if you're a big music listener. I don't personally use Shazam anymore (Google does the same thing if you start a voice search, FYI), but I can certainly see the merits of this for people who are invested in it.

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Google Maps v9.38 adds a dedicated album for food photos and an upcoming events tab for your places [APK Download]

Google set loose a new beta release of Maps, taking it up to v9.38. This release doesn't seem to have quite as many huge features as some of the last few, but there are still a couple of cool additions. There's a new tab with a list of upcoming events, bookings, and reservations. The dedicated album for food photos from a recent teardown is now also live. There are almost always a few other hidden gems in each release, so keep an eye out for more changes and let us know if you see anything else.

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Spotify launches Daily Mix for a fresh custom playlist updated every day

Spotify is big on music discovery with features like suggested artists and Smart Playlists that are based on your activity. Now, Spotify users are getting yet another music discovery feature. It's called Daily Mix, which offers a pretty good hint of what it does.

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Google News & Weather 2.8 adds Lite mode, optimizes pages for slow connections

Google News & Weather has an interesting history. After years of being included on Android devices with almost no changes, it moved to the Play Store and received a Material Design facelift in 2014. Now Google has added a 'Lite mode' to the application, designed to save bandwidth for users in India and other regions where data is at a premium.

As indicated in the screenshot, you can set Lite mode to activate automatically, or force it on or off. When Lite mode is on, the application won't load as many images on the main screen. More importantly, opening a link in Lite mode causes an optimized version of the page to load instead of the full content.

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