19
Dec
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Ever since Google integrated Voice with Hangouts, listening to voicemail has been a highly-focused affair. Unlike traditional voicemail, which we're conditioned to hold up to our ear like a phone call, voicemail in Hangouts comes with a play button that encourages us to treat it more like the audio file that it is. This is the same way Google Voice has treated it on the web for forever.

The downside is that turning off the screen or backing out of Hangouts has, until recently, caused the message to immediately stop playing.

19
Dec
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Most of the things happening on Android Wear smartwatches are entirely dependent on the connected phone, but there is support for the watches to be a little more independent. The Sony SmartWatch 3, for example, has its own GPS chip that was enabled by the Android 4.4W.2 update. Now the popular fitness app RunKeeper has been updated to take advantage of it.

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19
Dec
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If you're a user of the popular media hub / DLNA / UPnP service BubbleUPnP, the Android app has just received a significant functionality enhancement you may be interested in.

Previously, if you wanted to cast a video or audio file not natively supported by Chromecast, you had to have a BubbleUPnP Server install on a computer on your local network so that the media could be transcoded before casting. The reason for this limitation was twofold: battery consumption on the Android device and the limited processing power of older phones.

19
Dec
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Samsung's finally giving up on its flub of a chat platform, ChatON, early next year. Speaking to Engadget, Samsung confirmed that the app which no one asked be installed on their phone would be going offline on February 1st in all markets except the US, where it will shortly convalesce until some point before the end of Q1 2015. At which time, ChatON will die, and let's be real, probably go on to be reborn as some other not-very-good Samsung software product in a year or two, like a sort of crappy phoenix.

19
Dec
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Intuit has released a new version of TurboTax into the Play Store that shouldn't look jarring on your Lollipop-powered device. Despite focusing on something as dense and complicated as taxes, the app is rich with color and comes with plenty of whitespace. This is about as friendly as taxes can look.

19
Dec
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DualBoot Games, the makers of the Live Wallpapers that our team had taken a shine to back in 2012-2013, have been in a deep slumber for many moons. But they have just risen up (the forced metaphors will make sense in a bit, trust me) and released, of all things, an Android Wear watch face: Celestial 3D.

Celestial builds on DualBoot Games' animations and design capabilities to create one of most impressive and intricate watch faces I have seen on Wear so far.

18
Dec
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You don't need to live in the UK to turn to the BBC for your daily news—there's already a decent chance you're either using the company's mobile app or consuming its content through some other means—but you do need to live on that side of the pond if you want early access to the upcoming version of the Android app. BBC has made the beta version available to British folks through an official Play Store testing trial.

18
Dec
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The Kwikset Kevo Bluetooth-enabled door lock is the kind of tech that reminds us that we're living in the future. With one of these installed in your home, you can get inside just by tapping a finger against the lock. Before you panic, this only works if your phone is in range and on the right side of door (i.e. the outside).

The product first hit the market over a year ago, but it only supported iOS.

18
Dec
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Brits have been able to stream BBC audio content to the iPlayer Radio app for a couple of years now, as long as they're using a phone. Now the company has decided to spit out an alternative made just for tablets, and it's included a few new features to boot.

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A tablet comes with a few inherent advantages over a phone, and this app taps into that for full effect. That large screen leaves users with controls for easily managing both live and on-demand content.

18
Dec
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DIRECTV has added the ability for its customers to stream thirteen additional channels to their Android devices. The Play Store page doesn't contain an extensive list of which ones are new, but it does mention MSNBC, Ovation, QVC, and Showtime Showcase. All of these are available inside the home, with only QVC accessible outside of the home as well.

These additions bring DIRECTV's full list of channels with live streaming support up to 110.

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