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Applications

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Racelink from the makers of Zombies, Run! is a virtual racing platform for brands and charities

Finding the motivation to put on your running shoes and get out to the street and, worse, start running can be tough. Zombies, Run! makes it fun by providing a back story and a "reason" for your run: Zombies are chasing you and your survival depends on running. It's thrilling and different enough that it could be the thing you need to start running and keep doing it every day. You might even get so passionate about it that you'd participate in the app's virtual races where you compete with real runners around the world.

Now the team behind Zombies, Run! is releasing a standalone app for these virtual races, but it's aimed at brands and charities.

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Hangouts redesigns the unread message indicators [APK Download]

Hangouts users, gather 'round. There's an important update that will likely make this the most popular messaging platform in the world. Ha, I kid! That ship has sailed long ago. But there is actually a small nifty update to Hangouts that will make it easier to catch up on active chats.

Now, when you open a conversation with lots of unread messages, you'll see a new floating button at the top to "Jump to last read" (first screenshot above). Tap it and Hangouts will automatically scroll up to the last message you read for context and you'll be able to see all the new unread messages below it (middle screenshot).

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17 new and notable Android apps from the last 2 weeks (2/14/17 - 2/27/17)

Welcome to the roundup of the best new Android applications 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.

Apps

BatON

Android Police coverage: BatON is an app that tries to show the battery level of connected Bluetooth devices, despite Android's limitation in this area

Bluetooth, as a wireless standard, is working on its fifth major revision.

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Inbox v1.41 prepares to intelligently choose snippets from emails and allow sorting [APK Teardown]

The Gmail team put artificial intelligence to task with Inbox. Its usefulness as an email client is punctuated by how effective it is at organizing and determining the importance of incoming mail. Of course, there's always room to add more clever features, whether they are designed to cut down cognitive load or just save a couple taps. A teardown of the latest Inbox update reveals two more features are coming soon to do exactly that. The first is a simple button to sort your messages, and the second is an option that uses a little computer intelligence to pick the best text from each message to show in previews.

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CloudPets user data, possibly including children's voice messages, hacked and held for ransom

Everything can be hacked, as a certain Overwatch character is fond of saying. That seems to be increasingly true of consumer electronics... including stuffed teddy bears and unicorns. According to security researcher Troy Hunt, a series of web-connected, app-enabled toys called CloudPets have been hacked. The manufacturer's central database was reportedly compromised over several months after stunningly poor security, despite the attempts of many researchers and journalists to inform the manufacturer of the potential danger. Several ransom notes were left, demanding Bitcoin payments for the implied deletion of stolen data.

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Google makes Play Store sales (including free offers) for paid apps and games official

You may have seen earlier this month that Google started testing a few new sale features on the Play Store. Select developers were able to set sale prices that showed up on the purchase button, and (finally) paid listings could be temporarily free. Now, that functionality is official. There's a support page with all the relevant details developers can check out.

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Mozilla announces acquisition of Pocket

If you've never used it, Pocket is a popular app that allows you to save links from several browsers and other applications in an easily-accessible list. Mozilla and Pocket have been working together for a while now, most notably to bring native Pocket integration to Firefox. Now Read it Later, Inc., owners of Pocket, will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Mozilla.

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Samsung Family Hub app now available on the Play Store, if you have the fridge to match

We interrupt our MWC reporting now to bring you some Very Important Breaking News That Couldn't Wait Any Second Longer™. (Read: Rita got bored of spec sheets and wanted to have some light fun.)

Remember Samsung's Family Hub fridge? Yeah, that one, the ridiculous fridge that looks like it has a Droid slapped on the front, the same fridge that's probably more expensive than your entire current kitchen and appliance fleet combined, yup that fridge. Well, it has a Family Hub app and now that app is available on the Play Store. So Samsung can easily issue updates and you can easily apply them.

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Google makes a witty and endearing Google Photos ad for the Oscars

The world is all eyes and ears today for one of the most important events that take place each year. Oh, you think I'm talking about MWC in Barcelona? Ha, neeeeerd! No, I'm talking about the 89th Academy Awards ceremony which celebrates the best in film for the past year. But for Google, the real award belongs to you and your shots and creations.

El Goog has started its Oscars campaign with a couple of tweets (1 and 2) saying that regardless of who's the big winner in the ceremony, the award for Best Picture belongs to you. That was followed up with a 1-minute video ad for Google Photos already posted on YouTube and likely to be aired during the ceremony tonight, but maybe only in its shorter version.

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VLC beta version 2.1 adds Android Auto compatibility and PIP support for Android TV, plus big interface and engine tweaks

VLC, the desktop favorite of local video enthusiasts for more than a decade, doesn’t have quite the same kind of universal acclaim on Android. But the developers are still hard at work making improvements. According to a blog post from Geoffrey Metais, the 2.1.0 update to the beta release adds a ton of new features, notably including compatibility with Android Auto (for audio, not video).

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