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DoubleTwist Player update brings a fresh UI and support for Chromecast, Android Wear, and Android Auto

DoubleTwist got its start way back in the early days of Android, when users wanted an easy way to sync music from iTunes to their non-Apple phones. (And also, this was back when human beings still used iTunes.) The scope of the music player has broadened and generalized since then... and truth be told, it's kind of stalled as well, especially since the Cloud Player came out. The last update it had before today was way back in February. But today's bump is significant: in addition to a new user interface, it brings baked-in support for Chromecast, Android Wear, and Android Auto.

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Pocket Casts updated with audio effects, shared playlists, and more

Pocket Casts is one of the most popular podcast apps on Android, and for good reason. It's fast, well-designed, has built-in backups, and has always been fast to support new Android features. In the latest update, Pocket Casts hops on the split-screen hype train, adds audio effects, and launches a new podcast sharing feature.

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Androbench updated to v5.0 with a less ugly UI and fixed Pixel benchmarks

If you need to benchmark the storage in a device, Androbench has long been the go-to way to do it. One major drawback: it was horrendously ugly. It has just been updated to v5.0, and I wouldn't say it's not ugly, but it's certainly less ugly. That's a win in my book.

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InBrief
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Google adds Stranger Things stickers to Allo

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Mozilla announces Project Quantum, an improved rendering engine for Firefox

I'm sure many of you, like myself, use Google Chrome as your main browser. Chrome was built from scratch, with the exception of its engine (which was WebKit at the time), to be for the modern web. The internet is no longer a series of text-only pages with images, and Chrome was built with modern web applications and security in mind.

If you don't know, a rendering engine is the part of a web browser that displays content. Chrome and Opera use Blink, Safari uses WebKit, and so on. Firefox's engine, called Gecko, has been around for ages. In fact, it was originally developed for Netscape Navigator all the way back in 1997 to replace their existing rendering engine.

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Latest Nova Launcher 5.0 beta adds Pixel-style launcher app shortcuts and weather in the search bar

Launcher app shortcuts, those neat little pop-ups for compatible apps that allow quick access to deeper app functions, are currently restricted to Android 7.1 on the Pixel phones and dev previews. As for everyone else, the tireless developer of Nova Launcher has you covered. Version 5.0 still isn't up in the public Play Store, but the beta version has been adding bits and pieces of Pixel Launcher functionality. The latest update includes the much-celebrated launcher app shortcuts.

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Twitter is discontinuing Vine, but existing videos will live on for now

Twitter launched the Vine video sharing app in 2013, and it was a moderate success. Other apps added similar quick video features, but Vine never seemed like a high priority for Twitter. The company announced today that it's discontinuing the Vine app in the coming months, but it's not deleting your Vines... at least not yet.

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Pushbullet now supports replying to Allo messages from a computer

One of the many issues with Google's latest messaging app, Allo, is the total lack of a desktop application. Picking up my phone to respond to a message, when I'm already at my computer with a physical keyboard, seems silly. Allo 2.0, released yesterday, added the ability to quick reply from the notifications. Today's Pushbullet update taps into the quick reply functionality to add Allo support.

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Google Assistant channel launches on IFTTT

The new Google Pixel is the first place you can get true integration with Assistant. Sure, a preview version of Assistant exists in Allo, but the Pixel version is the real deal. The same thing will be part of Google Home too. You can now add the Google Assistant channel to your IFTTT account to really unlock the power of voice commands. If there's anything you want to control via IFTTT, you can do it with Assistant.

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Google Maps v9.40 beta adds a dedicated space for photos from business owners and prepares for phone number verifications [APK Download + Teardown]

There's a new version of Google Maps rolling out to users on the beta channel. This one doesn't seem to be stacked full of big features, but there's at least one new addition to the photo browser. There are also some clues about upcoming features from a teardown. This release is a beta, so you won't get it through the Play Store (right now) if you aren't already signed up to receive early updates. As always, there's a link to download this release from APK Mirror at the bottom.

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