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Sonos 5.0 Beta Finally Fixes The UI, Improves Music Exploration, And Adds Universal Search

So you've got a Sonos system hooked up, but here you are using an app that looks like a Gingerbread flashback. Don't worry – there's a new beta version available with a ton of fixes. Sonos just made the official announcement on its blog, and you can check it out for yourself.

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[New App] Feature-Packed uPod Podcast Manager Rises From The Ashes Of GoodNews Reader

Those of you who've ben lamenting the GoodNews reader, especially its tight integration with podcasts, now have a new alternative to consider. The developer of the aforesaid app has finally published a replacement that doesn't depend on Google Reader, and the wait has not been for naught: uPod crams in just about every feature a podcast fan could want. A free trial version of uPod and a $4.49 license are now available in the Play Store.

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Latest SwiftKey Beta Can Use Evernote And Google+ As Personalization Options

Since what seems like forever, SwiftKey has been able to use SMS, Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, RSS Feeds, and Yahoo to "learn" your typing style and better predict your next words. All of these options work well, and now the SK team has added a couple more choices in the latest beta: Evernote and Google+.

Evernote personalization was added "in response to the great feedback" for SwiftKey Note on iOS, the team's first offering to iOS users; Google+ personalization was added because, well, people like to use G+, basically.

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Facebook Rolls Out Beta Program For Messenger, Promises Monthly Features And Bug Fixes

Ever since Google rolled out public beta applications through the Play Store, some of the biggest names in the game have jumped on board to essentially crowdsource bug discovery in upcoming releases. Among those that are now offering users access to early versions of its software is Facebook, which released a beta version of its primary application earlier this year. The company has now done the same with its Messenger application.

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WhatsApp CEO Issues Strong Statement Promising Facebook Deal Won't Compromise Respect For Privacy

Last month Facebook bought WhatsApp for way too much money, making the app's developers very wealthy individuals. This deal, theoretically, gives Facebook access to the data provided by the app's nearly half a billion users. The companies behind the social network and the instant messenger have both promised that WhatsApp will continue to operate autonomously, but this hasn't completely alleviated privacy concerns. Thus WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum has shared a blog post aimed at "setting the record straight."

In it he states:

Respect for your privacy is coded into our DNA, and we built WhatsApp around the goal of knowing as little about you as possible: You don’t have to give us your name and we don’t ask for your email address.

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Latest Duolingo Android App Update Introduces 'Lingots' Virtual Currency And A Shop To Spend It In

People who have used Duolingo on the web or on iOS may have grown accustomed to a virtual shop where they're encouraged to spend hard-earned points on cool stuff. Now that engaging feature has come to Android. Whenever you complete an achievement going forward, Duolingo will reward you with Lingots that you can spend on all sorts of items ranging from power-ups to bonus language skills.

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Duolingo already turns language-learning into a game by breaking down lessons into achievements and giving players a limited number of hearts.

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AllCast Gets New Now Playing Screen, Cover Art For Music And Videos, Lock Screen Controls, And More

The AllCast updates just keep coming. Each introduces new functionality, but the latest release packs together more new features than most. By combining aesthetic changes with usability improvements, users of this media Chromecasting app are in for quite the treat.

In the left screenshot below, we see a new "now playing" screen. For the initiated, this is the screen that displays while content is streaming to your TV screen. To the right, we see lock screen controls.

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Podcast Manager Pocket Casts Hits v4.5 With Chromecast Support, Better Playlists, And More

There are plenty of podcast apps on Android, but few are as pretty as Pocket Casts, and it's even better with the most recent update to v4.5. In addition to some UI tweaks, this version adds Chromecast support to the app. That's not even all – Pocket Casts has plenty more goodies in store.

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[New App] Cast Store Helps You Find Apps And Games That Support Chromecasting

Google is really dropping the ball with regard to surfacing Chromecast enabled apps in the Play Store. Sure, there's that Chromecast app page, but that's just a tiny fraction of all the apps and games with support for Chromecast now that third-parties have been turned loose. Enter Cast Store, which aggregates a bunch of apps with Chromecast support.

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Kindle App Updated To v4.4 With Faster Cover Loading, Auto-Brightness Control, And More

The Kindle app has gone through a number of redesigns, but its finally settling into a nice Android vibe. The newest update doesn't radically change anything, but it does add some useful features and squash a few bugs that have probably been annoying you.

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