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WhatsApp Gets Updated In The Play Store With Custom Chat Notifications And Mute, Mark As Unread/Read, New Emojis And Skin Tone Colors, More

WhatsApp has been going through multiple iterations in its "beta" channel, which gets distributed on the service's website, while its official Play Store version was stuck for several months on the same number. That changed in the past few days as WhatsApp has finally updated its Play Store listing to 2.12.250 with all of the goodies that we've been anxiously tracking over the past months. This means that all of your friends and relatives who never manually grabbed apks are now on the same page as you when it comes to WhatsApp's features.

First up, there are new emojis. This includes skin tone variations of many pre-existing emojis, which are accessible through a pop-up.

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Vysor Is The Newest (Early Beta) Android Project From Koush, Allows You To Control Your Phone From Chrome

Koush makes a lot of neat Android apps like Helium Backup and AllCast, but what's next? It's a thing called Vysor that will let you easily control your phone from Chrome. An early beta of the app is available in the Chrome web store, and it's already surprisingly solid for something that isn't even done yet.

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Google Settings' Help Page Has A Bizarre Floating Window Interface

Filed in the category of "things we just noticed" is a pretty strange interface element discovered in the "help" interface of Google Settings. When opening an article, users can tap a "full screen exit" icon in the toolbar to trigger the little floating window seen above.

The window is reminiscent of the one found in YouTube, where users can collapse a video and keep browsing, but this window can be moved up to the top of the screen as well. Sliding it to either side will dismiss the mini-window. Here's a quick video demo:

There's no doubt this element seems a little out of place in Google Settings, but my first guess is that, functionally, it would serve a similar purpose to YouTube's mini player - if a user is following step-by-step instructions in a help article, they may want a fast way to switch between the steps and the app that they're dealing with.

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18 New And Notable (And 3 WTF) Android Apps And Live Wallpapers From The Last 2 Weeks (8/11/15 - 8/24/15)

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

Hello Pal: Talk to the World

This week's roundup is brought to you by Hello Pal: Talk to the World. This unique app is a language learning tool that combines an instant message client and universal translator.

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[Hands-On] neutriNote Is A Simple But Powerful Plain-Text Editor With PHP Markdown And LaTeX Math Rendering Support, Now In Beta

There's always more than one way to approach the creation of an app and in the case of note-taking, it's very easy to make things too simple or too complex. From a design standpoint, powerful Android apps can sometimes leave intuitiveness and beauty aside (see Titanium Backup for more details).

neutriNote is a new app, currently in beta, that combines a simple and attractive front-end with a litany of features that can and should appeal to power users, especially of the academic type.

Screenshot_2015-08-22-10-42-09 Screenshot_2015-08-21-17-29-31

The app comes from the developer behind Minutes Text Notes, a very similar set of free and paid apps.

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Cortana Public Beta Program Now Open To All Android Users In The US

Just because you have an Android device, that doesn't mean you have to commit to using Google Now. Maybe you don't trust el Goog with that much information. Maybe, for some reason, you rather give that data to Microsoft instead. In such a case, you're welcome to use Cortana as your digital voice assistant.

An early Android version has been available since last month. We've even seen an update roll out that lets you launch Cortana using the Google Now "swipe up" gesture. Now you can get future updates without having to hunt around for the APK or wait for Microsoft to approve your request.

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tinyCam Monitor Pro v6.2 Brings Built-In Web Server Enabling Remote Playback Of Recordings, And More

tinyCam recently made the big leap to version six dot oh, dragging along a new icon and material design. On the functionality front, we saw the introduction of 24/7 background video recording. This allowed users to keep recording long after they've switched their attention to another app.

With version 6.2, the developer has added in an internal web server that lets users record video on one device and remotely access them from another. For someone who already has multiple Android phones and tablets lying around, this is a cheap way to make an NVR.

This may be the primary new feature, but the lengthy changelogs include a few other noteworthy additions.

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Floatify Version 8.0 Adds A Ton Of New Capabilities, Makes Google's 'Peeking' Heads-Up Notifications Look Like Junk

Floatify has been around for a little over a year now. It's an app that presents an alternate way to display notifications, specifically the Heads Up (AKA Peeking) notifications that were hidden in Android 4.4 and fleshed out in 5.0. The app has been continuously updated even as Lollipop has become public, and now it's a full-fledged alternative to most of Android's built-in notification systems. The latest update is something really special - we kind of wish Google would steal some of developer Jawomo's ideas.

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Chrome Beta And Chrome Dev Get The New Icon-Focused 'New Tab' Layout On Lollipop And Later

Want to see something new in Chrome for Android? Aside from essentially unlimited websites, of course. If so, and if you're using Android 5.0, 5.1, or the 6.0 preview, then download either the Beta or Dev version of the browser. Then go into the Settings menu and disable "merge tabs and apps." Now, go back to the main browser window, open the hamburger menu, and tap "new tab." Wey-hey, you've got a new interface to check out.

2015-08-23 19.26.56 2015-08-23 19.27.37 2015-08-23 19.26.32

Left: new tab in Chrome. Right: new tab in Chrome Beta/Dev after disabling merged tabs.

The new standard swaps out the frequently-visited website thumbnails you're probably familiar with for icons, which are simply letters with some fancy background formatting.

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Google's Foodie Photo Ambitions Live On In New Maps Feature In Testing

Back in February, we told you about a new experimental service at Google called Tablescape. The app, which at the time served as a stylized funnel for content tied to Google+, encouraged users to upload "foodographs" (photos of food) with specialized categories like "naughty," "cheesy," and "vegetarian" among others. It would also show featured content and special foodography tips for users.

Just a few months later, though, Tablescape was unceremoniously closed, the experiment ostensibly over. But in the update sent to testers, Google was sure to note the following:

This doesn't mean we're giving up on food photography, you may see the influence of Tablescape in future apps.

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