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[Hands-On] Bento Is A Context-Aware Launcher That Is Part Homescreen, Part Google Now

At this point, there is no real shortage of "smart" launchers in the Android ecosystem. Of course, we have to put "smart" in quotation marks, because there still is a void in terms of truly good products trying to do that. So when I tell you that Bento is a new entrant in this bustling market of context-aware launchers, you shouldn't ask, "do we need another one?" You should ask, "is this the one that will really do a great job?"

Bento is a venture capital-backed project that is in a semi-private beta at the moment.

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InBrief
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PSA: WhatsApp Now Lets You Report Users As Spam

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24 New And Notable Android Apps And Live Wallpapers From The Last 2 Weeks (4/8/15 - 4/20/15)

Welcome to the roundup of the best new Android applications, games, and live wallpapers that went live in the Play Store or were spotted by us in the previous 2 weeks or so.

Please wait for this page to load in full in order to see the widgets, which include ratings and pricing info.

Looking for the previous roundup editions? Find them here.

Featured App

Expense IQ - Expense Manager

This week's roundup is brought to you by Expense IQ - Expense Manager from Handy Apps.

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Twitter Rolling Out New Direct Messaging Features Including In-App Option To Receive DMs From Anyone, New DM Button, And More

Twitter is a public service by default, but when you need to take things private, there's always direct messages. They have traditionally been very limited, though. Twitter is rolling a change out to all devices starting today that makes them a little more useful. It's not clear if you'll need an app update or if this is all server side.

dm

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DashClock Is Back With New (Materialized) Beta

Roman Nurik, a Design Advocate at Google, launched the DashClock Widget back in early 2013. It's an extremely versatile, modular widget that - by default - supports things like time, weather, unread Gmail messages, and alarms. But its modular nature is the real selling point. Users can add extensions for apps they're already using, allowing a lot of information from disparate and unrelated apps to be displayed in one handy widget.

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Sunshine 3.1 Adds S-OFF Support For HTC One M9 And Automatic SIM Unlock For Most Of HTC's GSM Phones

New smartphones are rolling off the line pretty regularly, and that means the tools we use to work with them have to update, too. Last month, Sunshine v3.0 emerged with support for an extensive collection of HTC and Motorola handsets, and now an update to v3.1 is about to build on that list. With the latest release, Justin Case and Beaups have added support for almost every variant of the HTC One M9, except Verizon's.

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[APK Teardown] Drive, Docs, Sheets, And Slides Will Soon Offer Templates, Presentations Via Hangouts, Contact Chips For Collaborators, And A Secret Next-Gen UI (Maybe...)

Update Wednesday hit like a ton of bricks, this week. It didn't help that it also happened to land on tax day in the United States. Not only were there new versions for about a dozen apps from Google, but a couple of new ones joined the mix. Yet again, Drive and its associated document editing apps are gracing the Teardown stage with even more new improvements on the horizon.

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WhatsApp 2.12.45 Adds The Option To Back Up And Restore From Google Drive

I know it seems that we have a new WhatsApp post every couple of days on Android Police lately, but it ain't our fault. The app's developers, specifically the Android team, appear to be drinking the good kind of kool-aid and kicking one new version after the other with not only bug fixes, but also lots of new goodies. So first there was the Web "client", then the saga of the voice calling feature rollout, followed by the Material design update, and now Google Drive is being implemented as a backup option inside the app.

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[Update: New Material Refresh Animation With Play Services 7.3.27] Google+ v5.3 Makes Communities Look Much Nicer [APK Download]

The latest update for Google+ brings changes you probably won't notice unless you head to a community, in which case you will really notice. The main focus of the v5.3 version is a revamped UI for communities, which certainly makes things really pop.

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Google Play Services 7.3 Adds A New UI For Trusted Places And Finally Makes The Persistent Android Wear Notification Dismissible [APK Download]

Google Play services made a rather lofty jump from 7.0 to 7.3 a few days ago. While there don't appear to be any big API changes for developers, a couple of pretty obnoxious issues were cleared up for regular users. It looks like the Home address in Trusted Places is not only working again, but there may be an improved UI that makes it even easier to set up safe zones (if you didn't already have it).

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