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Play Store v7.1 adds a round launcher icon and an app shortcut in preparation for the Pixel Launcher and Android 7.1, and more [APK Teardown]

Google is rolling out the red carpet for the upcoming Pixel phones, ensuring that its core lineup of apps are dressed the part. An update to the Play Store began rolling out yesterday with a new round launcher icon for the Pixel Launcher and an app shortcut (formerly known as launcher shortcuts) for Android 7.1. Also joining the list of upcoming features will be support for purchasing 4K movies and TV shows, a marker to indicate if a device is certified, and a new icon for promotions and gifts.

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Google Keyboard v5.2 from the Pixel system dump has new Pixel themes and other minor tweaks [APK Download]

The Google Pixel phones aren't coming out for a few weeks yet, but some system dumps are available for closer inspection already. Among the myriad of APKs pulled out of that, there's a new version of Google Keyboard. It's version 5.2, and includes two new Pixel themes, as well as a few little tweaks.

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Google Assistant can be enabled on non-Pixel devices running Android Nougat

Perhaps the most interesting feature exclusive to Google Pixel, at least officially, is Google Assistant. We have a review of Assistant's current functionality, but in a nutshell, it's essentially a conversation-based version of the former Google Now. XDA user brianelv has posted a short guide on enabling Assistant, and it should work on any Android 7.0 (or higher) device with the Google app 6.5.35.21 or newer.

If you have those prerequisites, the actual guide is fairly short. All you need to do is change your build.prop file, reboot, and clear Google app cache. Either root (to manually edit the build.prop) or a custom recovery (if you want to flash the zip) is required. In our own testing on a Nexus 6P, switching to the Google Now Launcher might be required to trigger the Assistant setup.

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[Deal Alert] League of Stickman Zombie, djay2, and Lost Journey all down to $0.10 (some valid in US too)

There have been more $0.10 sales in the Play Store as of late, but most of them are not available in the US. Today there are three top apps and games on sale for this low, low price, and two of them are valid in the US. Available in most markets (including the US) are League of Stickman Zombie and Lost Journey. The non-US sale is for music app djay2.

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YouTube v11.39 auto-fills replies with the names of parent commenters [APK Download]

YouTube pushed out a small update over the weekend, bumping the version number up to 11.39. By all appearances, this is a pretty small one. Aside from the typical bug fixes and a few minor visual adjustments, there's one notable feature people have been requesting for a while. Replies to comments are now auto-filled with the name of the user you're replying to.

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[Update: It's back] Screenshot button gone from Now on Tap/Screen Search

Google Screen Search, formally known as Google Now on Tap, is a feature I don't use often - but it's incredibly helpful when I need it. If you're unfamiliar, it provides information to you based on the text on your screen, and works on any Android 6.0+ device with the Google app. For example, a few days ago I received a text message confirming an appointment, and Screen Search created a calendar event from the message contents.

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Play Movies & TV v3.19 adds notifications for expiring rewards, prepares for 4K content, a channel for trailers, and TV show recommendations [APK Teardown + Download]

A pair of fresh updates of the Play Movies & TV app rolled out to both Android TV and regular devices yesterday. Like many other recent updates, there's not a lot of new functionality to see on the surface, particularly for the Android TV version. Phones and tablets gained a new toggle to control notifications about expiring rewards, but that's about it. However, a teardown shows a few improvements scheduled for future updates, including 4K support, a special channel for watching trailers, and recommendations for similar TV shows. Read on for details or skip to the bottom for download links.

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Runtastic and Google Play Music team up to bring you the tunes

While I enjoy working out, I will admit that going without my favorite music makes it much more difficult — especially with cardio. For me, good music equals gains. Equally important, though, is keeping track of progress, but that can often require switching between two or three apps. That is, unless you go old-school and carry a notebook.

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Opera Max can now block ad trackers and other privacy risks

Opera Max started out as a VPN capable of reducing data usage, as well as blocking apps from accessing the internet. Now Opera is rolling out a new feature to Max, called 'privacy mode,' that aims to make your device even more secure online.

Privacy mode is based on the S Secure feature Opera created for Samsung for the Galaxy J5 Prime and J7 Prime, which filtered ad trackers and other privacy risks. Opera Max takes it a step further by showing information per app, so you can see what applications on your device are potentially dangerous. Opera uses the EasyPrivacy filter list, a massive database of tracking services, to make this possible.

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Prisma offline mode comes to Android

Prisma came to Android a few months ago with a ton of really impressive photo filters. Whereas some apps with filters try to be subtle, Prisma completely reinterprets the pictures you feed in, turning them into some fancy art. The main drawback; Prisma only worked online. That is finally changing on Android.

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