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Apps/Games

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Google Duo now #1 in Top Free chart, available globally

Just two days after it first began to roll out, Google's Duo has already become the number one free app in the Play Store. The video chatting app, which received an icon redesign just before it went live, has proven to be extremely popular with Android users. In addition, it is now possible to use Duo in any country (well, any country that Google provides its services to).

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Nenamark 3 is an oddly fascinating but also hilariously terrible benchmark app

Benchmarking applications like 3DMark and PassMark are great for scoring the graphics or computational power of a given device. Nenamark 2 was a popular choice for benchmarking graphics back in the day, and five years after Nenamark 2 launched, Nenamark 3 has arrived. It's not clear why.

I hesitate to even call Nenamark 3 a benchmarking app. It's designed like a game - the benchmark proceeds through levels, each level having up to four tests. But the benchmark ends as soon as your device can't reach a steady FPS arbitrarily determined by the Nenamark app. So instead of a useful score like an average FPS or the time it took to complete the test, my Nexus 5X gets a score of "3-0." Uhh...

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FordVR brings behind-the-scenes VR racing videos to your phone

Have you ever thought to yourself, "Gee, I really wish I could watch Ford™ virtual reality experiences on my phone"? Me neither, but someone out there must be at least mildly interested, even if they are an executive at Ford.

All joking aside, FordVR is a new application that provides "an extraordinary new virtual reality experience that’s the closest thing to the real thing," according to the app's description. Upon downloading the app, you are greeted with the one video currently available in FordVR - "The Return to Le Mans." Even if you're not at all into sport car racing, it should still be interesting.

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[Game Review] Deus Ex GO: An engaging mobile take on a fantastic franchise

Following a surprisingly fun couple of mobile titles, Deus Ex GO takes Square Enix's formula for adapting its popular AAA series to handheld devices and brings it to the delightful Deus Ex Universe. This turn-based “point-and-click” style board game shares precious little with its cyberpunk dystopian source material (which happens to be one of my favorite franchises). However, that is not to say it is a bad thing, as the fanboy in me screams to claim. It is actually a fun, rewarding, and decidedly challenging experience that fits in nicely with the Deus Ex library.

Gameplay

Deus Ex GO, much like Hitman GO and Lara Croft GO before it, reminds me of some of the classic point-and-click PC titles that I grew up playing. You, the player, have a top-down isometric view of the game “board” which contains various pre-determined paths.

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Twitter is getting more granular notification settings including a 'quality filter'

Twitter has announced a pair of new features that will be live in the official app and web interface soon. Both are aimed at improving the notification experience and making Twitter a little less annoying to use. You'll be able to control which notifications you see, and there's a filter that allegedly removes low-quality tweets. I have to wonder how well that works.

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Google prepares the way for WebAPKs and Progressive Web Apps in latest Chromium for Android build

Google's very hot on the whole web apps topic, with it promoting things like Chrome Apps on both Chrome OS and Android, as well as things like Instant Apps, introduced earlier this year at I/O. Well, it seems like Google is preparing another assault, this time with 'Progressive Web Apps,' a way to make web apps more powerful and useful to end users, plus make it easier for developers to put them together.

A Progressive Web App is a powerful web application that can be used anywhere, on any OS. As you use the app more and more, it gradually will get more powerful.

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Automatic Pro brings 3G car tracking and IFTTT support for $129.95

The original Automatic was a $100 adapter that connected to your car's OBD II port and synced with the Automatic companion app. It wasn't incredibly useful for the price: it tried to help users with tracking road trips and speeding warnings, but it received mixed reviews.

Automatic is back at it again with the Automatic Pro, yours for the taking at $129.95. It's more expensive than the first model, but at least in my opinion, a much better deal. Instead of connecting to your phone via Bluetooth, the Automatic Pro has an always-on 3G connection included at no extra charge (for the first five years).

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Google Duo review: When video calls are this simple, I will surely use them more

Of the two communication apps that Google announced at I/O, Duo surely seemed like the less interesting one. Video calls have been done again and again, and by now, if you have someone you want to talk to and see at the same time, odds are you already have your preferred way of doing that. But my last few days with Duo have shown me another side to the story. Duo isn't trying to revolutionize video calls, it just wants to approach them from a more modern perspective, one that builds on our smartphone-carrying habits, our needs for immediacy, and our disdain for complexity.

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Android Pay expands to 44 more banks and credit unions in the US and Australia

Android Pay has been gaining support for a ton of banks and credit unions lately, and 44 more have just been added. Most of these banks and credit unions are local ones most of us haven't ever heard of, but hey, maybe your local bank is included. No, Chase isn't on here; I double-checked. There are a few Australian banks and credit unions on here as well.

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Google Now-powered New Tab Page is coming to Chrome

Google makes frequent changes to the New Tab Page in Chrome, and they show up first in Chrome Dev. It looks like Google is toying with a New Tab Page powered by Google Now, and you can take a look at it right now in Chrome Dev. You might need to toggle a flag, but it seems to be live for everyone. It also works a little bit in Chrome Beta, but not at all in stable.

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