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Dec
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An updated version of Minecraft for Android is hitting devices now, and it brings in a number of exciting things, including the use of powered rails. How a game called "Minecraft" could exist for this long without minecarts may be initially baffling, but this is the pocket edition after all, and some things do take time to bring over to our handy mobile platform. Gamers hooked on this immensely addictive title will also be happy to know that this isn't the only addition making its way over from the PC version.

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Dec
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Android's lock screen hasn't really changed since 4.2, but app developers keep coming up with new ways to wow us. Case in point: Cover. This alternative lockscreen replaces the default screen with a selection of quick-launch app icons, not unlike some of the manufacturer skins out there. But unlike TouchWiz or Sense, Cover automatically learns which apps you use at what times, and it comes with a ton of impressive UI features.

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Dec
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Last night, Google started a slow rollout of the new Maps with version 7.5. Since the previous version was 7.4, we knew there had to be some key features that prompted the update - it couldn't just be a bug fixer. After thoroughly examining the UI, I was unable to find anything new.

As it turns out, that's because the new feature Google stuffed into the app only shows up upon very specific conditions.

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Dec
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Cartoon Network has been cranking out games lately based on its widely successor series of properties, with Regular Show getting a shot in October and Ben 10 taking a swing in November. Less than a month later, the network is back with a zany mobile game starring the cast of Adventure Time. Ski Safari: Adventure Time may not have the most original premise in the world, but if you're going to shoehorn characters into something that will occupy players' time between bus stops, why not go with a formula that has been proven successful.

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Dec
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How often do you find that words simply cannot convey what you need to say? Probably all the time, right? Just send an emoji instead with the new SwiftKey beta. As promised, this early version is available for download and includes over 500 emoji images. On the more conventional side, there is also an optional number row, finally.

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The emoji are spread across various categories like nature, people, and symbols.

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Dec
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People didn't always hate Zagat, but Google's new vision for the iconic restaurant review guide has not been widely accepted. The service became free, but Google also revamped it and limited the number of cities it tracked. The new update makes some tweaks to the app and expands the supported cities, but it's probably not going to do much to improve the app's 2.4 star rating.

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Dec
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December 25th, 1993. A fresh-faced and (mostly) innocent little boy wakes up and rushes through his breakfast to make sure he beats his little sister to the Christmas tree. Underneath he finds four gifts: a Sega Genesis game console, RBI Baseball, Disney's Aladdin, and Sonic The Hedgehog 2. Twenty years later, that boy, no longer little and considerably less innocent, can relive countless wasted hours on a 5-inch phone screen. Sonic 2 is now in the Play Store.

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Dec
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Plants vs. Zombies 2 came out a few weeks ago with a lot of new gameplay mechanics and some in-app purchases. I didn't have a serious issue with most of the monetization in the game, but Pop Cap has just pushed an update that adds a ton of features and does away with a big chunk of the in-app purchase features.

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Dec
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Heads up, Android users: there's a Google Search update that just landed in the Play Store. Google's tendency for staged rollouts means that some of you might not get an automatic update for a few days, but as usual, we've got the APK download below. There are a few noticeable visible changes in the integrated Google Experience Launcher, but that's about it as far as new features go. This is an incremental update after the massive 3.1.8 update from last month.

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Dec
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Today, in a post on the Android Developers Blog, Google announced two new tools that might be of interest to quite a few of the game developers out there. Among the releases is a new open-source 2D physics library called LiquidFun and a Unity plugin for adding Google Play Games support. These releases coincide with the news of additional game categories coming to the Play Store in February, which we covered earlier today.

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