28
Jul
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Earlier this year, UPS Mobile received a big bump in functionality, which was a nice change for an Android app that really didn't have to do all that much. The app puts tracking information front and center, as it should. Why else does anyone even check UPS online?

Now the app has received a 4.1 update that lets users track packages without having to manually juggle all of those tracking numbers.

28
Jul
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When Sony debuted the Live on YouTube app last month, we wondered if compatibility would extend backwards to some other high-end Sony phones. The time is now, Sony smartphone owners... at least if you own one of three very specific models. Last year's flagship the Xperia Z1, its slightly smaller brother the Xperia Z1 Compact, and the high-powered Xperia ZL2 (which is only available in some Asian markets at the moment), all have access to the app as of now.

28
Jul
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National Public Radio has had an official Android app for years now, but it wasn't particularly pretty then, and it doesn't look any better now. Fortunately the organization has now released a separate piece of software that doesn't look like it's put together by donations and held together by aging strings of code. NPR One is a new radio streaming app that puts out stories from the national organization and its many local affiliates to provide a personalized, easy-listening experience.

28
Jul
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The LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live both lack a light sensor to adjust screen brightness, which is kind of a pain. The Moto 360 is supposed to have have an ambient light sensor, but Display Brightness for Wear lets you fake the same functionality on the G Watch and Gear Live. It uses the time and your phone's location to determine how bright the watch should be, which is pretty clever.

28
Jul
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Microsoft recently launched a beta program for its OneNote Android app, and a couple weeks later we are now seeing the first update hit devices. It happens to include a number of noteworthy enhancements. Primarily, the debut beta update introduces the ability to take handwritten notes with either a fingertip or stylus, a natural progression for a note-taking app geared at touchscreen devices.

OneNote1 OneNote2 OneNote3

Joining this change are a number of formatting options letting users tweak fonts, text size, and word alignment.

28
Jul
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App installation on Android Wear is completely transparent when it works correctly, but that can be an issue when things aren't going smoothly. Wear Apps Tracker makes the watch act a bit more like your phone with regard to app changes. Basically, it adds notifications.

aa1 aa2 aa3

28
Jul
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Good grief, the developer behind the Wear Mini Launcher is certainly setting a rapid pace. The app has only been available for a couple of weeks and already it's seen a major update. Today you can download the Play Store beta version (after you've joined the Google+ community, bah) to try out the 2.0 release. The 2.0 update includes options for moving the swipe-in activation gesture to other screen positions.

27
Jul
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Think of smartwatches now like smartphones were around 2008 - despite the fact that the idea has been around for a long time, everyone is still trying to figure out the best way to go about it. In Android Wear, Google is trying to make a super-simple interface based on short swipes, taps, and voice commands... which leaves a lot of users craving more conventional tools. So we've got a launcher, a web browser, a file explorer (ugh) and now a substitute for the Recent Apps menu in Android OS.

26
Jul
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Here's something that you might not know about Chrome for Android: you can search for text within a web page by typing your query in the URL bar, without using the menu button to manually tap the "find in page" tool. When searching for non-URL queries, you can tap the first result with the magnifying glass icon in the corner to search the text of the current page.

2014-07-26 17.16.33 redarrow 2014-07-26 17.17.13

(If Chrome's URL bar auto-fills an address, just press backspace.)

It's a little-known feature - in fact, an informal Google+ poll from our own Artem Russakovskii found that less than half of over 700 users even knew it was there.

26
Jul
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Just like any open marketplace, there's a lot of crap in the Play Store. In a strange and roundabout way, I'm actually OK with that - separating the silver from the dross of Android apps is one of our core functions at Android Police. But a recent promotion from antivirus vendor Trend Micro painted an extremely dim picture of the Play Store. The company claimed, among other things, that the Play Store was full of "potentially evil doppelgangers...

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