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Alexa voice controls are now available in the Amazon Music app

 

You can already ask Alexa to play you the latest Ed Sheeran hit on various music platforms, either through the Alexa app on your phone or via an Amazon Echo device. Starting today, you'll also be able to call on Alexa to control your music playback from directly within the Amazon Music app.

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Sphero Mini is coming soon, according to briefly live Play Store app listing

Even if you're not that familiar with the original Sphero remote control ball, you've probably seen the more recently released Star Wars tie-ins, such as R2-D2 and BB-8, or Lightning McQueen of Cars fame. The impressive toys have garnered much praise from reviewers, the robotic balls especially. A few days ago, a Play Store entry for a new app briefly went live before being taken down again, which leads us to believe a Sphero Mini is about to be released.

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Firefox 56 will drop support for Adobe Flash on Android

Remember when being able to run Adobe Flash was a selling point for Android devices? The plugin was never officially supported past Android 4.1, but various hacks kept it alive for a while longer. Some browsers continued to support the plugin for devices that could run it, including Firefox. But the next major Firefox update, v56, will finally drop the plugin on Android.

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WhatsApp is now blocked in China

China has a long history of blocking or limiting access to websites, especially social networks and Western-owned sites. Wikipedia, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and many Google services are currently blocked in mainland China. WhatsApp has been partially-blocked in the past (for a while, video chats and some other functionality wasn't working), but now the entire service seems to be non-functional.

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Start off the week with 34 temporarily free and 25 on-sale apps

It's the end of September, if you can believe that, which means that I have a lot of assignments and work to get done before Saturday. Still, I have taken the time to compile the first app sales post of this final week of the month. There are a few goodies to be had, which are bolded.

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16 new and notable (and 2 WTF) Android apps from the last week (9/19/17 - 9/25/17)

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

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Genesis, the luxury arm of Hyundai, now does personal test drives via an app

Hyundai has been pushing the tech envelope when it comes to its new luxury brand Genesis. The company recently rolled out support for Google Assistant, but now you can even arrange for a test drive from the convenience of the Genesis Valet app. There's no need to visit a dealership in person, and you can even arrange it for a time and place that's convenient to you, like your own home. It's a whole new level of luxury. 

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Google Maps v9.62 relocates layer modes to FAB and adds dedicated tab for videos, prepares enhanced commuting features and more [APK Teardown]

Google Maps is one of the most feature-packed apps in existence, and fitting everything into easily reachable places is a challenge that requires regular changes. The latest update to v9.62 makes a big move by pulling the layer modes out of the navigation drawer to place them in a new persistent FAB (floating action button) right on top of the map. Amonth many other things, this update also adds a dedicated tab for videos uploaded by the community. On the teardown side, there are signs of some more significant improvements coming for commuters, and much more.

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Motorola releases camera tuning app for the upcoming Moto X4

It's common for device makers to tweak the performance of a phone's camera after release, but it usually requires a full software update. However, last year Motorola used an app in the Play Store to make changes to the Moto G4's camera. It looks like the company is taking a similar approach to managing the camera on its upcoming Moto X4. A tuning app for that phone is live right now ahead of the phone's official launch.

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[Neat] "OK Google send voice message" records and sends WhatsApp audio clips

You know what has puzzled me for months? You can say, "OK Google, send a message," and it will listen and transcribe everything you say, but in apps that already have a voice/audio messaging feature, why go through all the trouble? Or at least why not offer the option to just send the audio clip of what you said, as it is, without trying to transcribe it? That would work wonderfully in WhatsApp (and Telegram, Viber, Allo, and other apps) in situations where you either think the speech-to-text won't pick up on some of your words or where you want to say something in a language that isn't supported.

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