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Apps/Games

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Apple Music is officially out of beta, adds equalizer settings in latest update

Scoff all you like, Google purists: there are a lot of people who double-dip Android and iOS/Mac platforms, and we have the analytics to prove it. Those of them who subscribe to Apple's paid Music service (which is built off the bones of ye olde Beats Music) will be happy to hear that the Android version is now out of beta. It was available publicly on the Play Store before, but now it's formally released for everyone. Huzzah.

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BlackBerry Hub+ comes to non-BlackBerry Marshmallow devices, includes a $0.99 monthly subscription option

BlackBerry is trying to make Android phones these days, or at least sell them. Its latest device is just a re-branded Alcatel Idol 4, but you don't have to get a BlackBerry phone to get all of BlackBerry's software features anymore. The company has released Hub+ in the Play Store, which gives you access to features like unified inbox, BlackBerry Calendar, and a password manager.

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Dropbox gives Evernote some competition with Paper, now in beta on the Play Store

Cloud storage and reminder apps seem to go together naturally - Evernote and Google Keep both have some basic attachment tools, and they share collaborative elements with things like Dropbox and Drive. Today Dropbox is trying to bring it all together with Paper, the company's first new app in quite a while. It's up on the Play Store in beta form, and like the primary storage app, it's free to download and use.

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Google employs a cartoon yeti as a virtual tour guide in Verne: The Himalayas

Google's Creative Lab internal division certainly has a diverse body of work. Between all the experimental apps and weird web tools released under the name, you can find entries that range from novel to straight-laced and back again. The latest addition to the catalog falls into the former category. Verne: The Himalayas is a virtual tour of the world's highest mountain range, utilizing both Google's 3D satellite mapping technology and a cartoon abominable snowman.

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Google Maps v9.34 Beta adds features to keep maps pointed north, plans to give advice about parking difficulty, and may reveal the return of Launcher Shortcuts [APK Teardown + Download]

The Google Maps app is back again with a fresh update, and this one is certainly interesting. As far as live features go, there are some changes related to navigation that will help keep maps oriented north, even with accidental swipes. A teardown also shows that Google is planning to give advice about parking at different locations, and Local Guides can look forward to status indicators for edits. And finally, there's evidence suggesting the return of Launcher Shortcuts.

What's New

Unofficial Changelog:

  • New 'Keep map north up' setting
  • Accidental swipe protection for North-up mode in Navigation

Keep map north up

2016-08-03 05.06.172016-08-03 05.06.37

Left: previous version with tilt map toggle.

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YouTube Kids finally works with Red subscriptions

YouTube has a lot of content, not all of which is acceptable for kids. Actually, a lot of it isn't acceptable for grown ups either, but that's beside the point. The YouTube Kids app was launched last year to aggregate kid-friendly videos, but it didn't support YouTube Red. Now, it does support YouTube Red, which we predicted in an APK Teardown earlier this year.

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Mobius Final Fantasy gives the famous console series a freemium mobile makeover

Mobius Final Fantasy looks like a pretty standard entry in the famous RPG series from the last ten years or so: vague otherworldly threat, androgynous young hero, production design that borders on cocaine-fueled insanity. It helps that the plot is fleshed out in beautiful 3D cutscenes with full voice acting and orchestral music, unlike other "original" Final Fantasy mobile games such as All The Bravest. Indeed, Mobius might be the first Square-Enix title that can lay claim to being a truly original Final Fantasy game, built from the ground up for mobile devices. Today it gets a worldwide release, and it's a free download on the Play Store.

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Samsung Pay app update adds support for Samsung Rewards Card

We may have all been a bit dubious about Samsung Pay when it was first announced, especially as another duplicate service that Samsung was launching to provide its own solution instead of Google's or Apple's, but Pay has proven to be more of a success story so far. Launches in multiple countries, ease of use, and MST compatibility make it a great contender in the mobile payment segment.

With this continuous improvement comes a new feature of Samsung Pay: Samsung's own Rewards card. You can earn it by participating in different promotions — there's one right now for a $20 Rewards card after making your first payment in the US — and it'll show up as a VISA card inside your Pay account.

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Cheetah Mobile expands its app empire by buying News Republic for $57 million

Look, it's not as if we at Android Police are fanatically opposed to Cheetah Mobile as a company. I can see how one could get that impression from reading the previous Cheetah stories, I really can. But between screwing up an otherwise anticipated game sequel with in-app purchases, screwing up a perfectly good ASUS phone with bloatware, or screwing up future generations of developers with bloatware classes, it's hard not to see them as the cackling cartoon villains of the Android software world. The company's latest acquisition is a French news aggregator call News Republic.

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Google Handwriting Input adds support for several languages, Android N, and more emojis [APK Download]

If typing is too much effort for you or you don't enjoy pecking at small buttons on your screen, then you might enjoy the art of handwriting a lot more. And in that case, you're probably using Google Handwriting Input (or a similar keyboard) to satisfy all your scribbling needs.

After adding a few languages in its 1.5 update, the app is now receiving more of them in version 1.7 and improving support for several existing languages. The new additions are: Corsican, Hawaiian, Kazakh, Luxembourgish, Samoan, Scottish Gaelic, Shona, Tajik, Uzbek, and Western Frisian.

The app also now supports Android N so you can install it on your Nexus devices if you're running a developer preview build, and has more emojis.

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