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Apps/Games

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ESPN app updated with live streaming, Chromecast support, and more

We are nearing the end of the professional football season here in the U.S. (good news for some), but that has not stopped ESPN from providing its Android app with some pretty big changes. Most notably are the inclusion of live streaming and Chromecast support.

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Hearthstone's latest expansion Mean Streets of Gadgetzan adds noir touches to its card combat

Blizzard's Warcraft setting used to be pretty straight high fantasy - elves, orcs, dwarves, various flavors of monsters. but after a couple of decades of strategy games and MMO action, the World has developed its own flavor. Much like Terry Pratchett's Discworld, Azeroth is sort of fluid: its fantasy tropes can be teased and prodded into more or less any genre of storytelling, so long as you don't object to seeing the occasional zombie or minotaur in your high-stakes heist plot.

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Microsoft adds more cloud storage options to Office apps on Android

Third-party cloud storage platforms like Dropbox and Box have been available in desktop versions of Microsoft Office for a few years, but the mobile versions have been much more limited. Oh, they supported OneDrive, but who uses that? Starting today, you have new storage options and a few more on on the way.

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New '1600' augmented reality app builds the White House on a $1 bill

Security is a lot tighter in Washington than it used to be. You can't simply wander around the White House in real life, but the new 1600 app from the White House Historical Association lets you scope it out in augmented reality. All you need is a buck. No, it doesn't cost a dollar. You need a real dollar bill as an AR anchor.

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SwiftKey makes all of its premium keyboard themes free

More than 2 years ago, SwiftKey decided to take its paid keyboard app and make it free. The alternate revenue stream proposed was a theme store for different keyboard looks where some of the options would be paid. That has been going on since then, but it changes today.

Now, all SwiftKey themes are free. Premium themes, paid packs, all 100+ of them. Free. Not a dime required. You can head over to the SwiftKey Store inside your app now to see that everything is marked as free and choose a few themes to download or just grab all the packs.

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Google Keep v3.4 adds 'Grab image text' to Drawing mode and prepares some new tools for crafting better images [APK Teardown + Download]

There's a new version of Google Keep rolling out to Android devices, but it's not going to look very different unless you are looking in exactly the right spot. The screen for drawing notes is now equipped with the "Grab image text" function. Shifting gears slightly, a teardown also reveals some new drawing functions are going to be added to the same screen in a future update. As usual, there's a link at the bottom where you can download the latest version.

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Puzzle game Human Resource Machine lets players program their own corporate drones

In 1961 a musical called How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying made light of the growing corporate culture in America. Half a century later, those same corporations are seen by many as a necessary evil, a soulless machine that runs on the lives of its employees. It's appropriate, then, that Human Resource Machine is more or less the opposite of How To Succeed in Business: instead of starting in the mailroom and becoming the CEO in a fun-filled week of singing and dancing, you play a literal human machine whose behavior is programmed like a computer, and who spends decades in service to a company that has nothing but contempt for you.

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Google is rolling out 'OK Google' hotword support for Android Auto [APK Download]

Android Auto has existed for almost two years now, but it's improved only slightly in that time. One of the more vexing inadequacies in Android Auto thus far has been the lack of OK Google support. With the latest version, the hotword trigger is finally a thing.

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DIRECTV NOW gets a dedicated Android app, right on schedule

Eager to get a slice of the growing cord-cutter pie, AT&T and DirecTV announced their own web-based premium TV service earlier this week. DIRECTV NOW officially launches today, so it's good to see that the service gets Android support immediately. The app is free and works with phones and tablets running Android 4.4 or higher. Sadly it's not compatible with Android TV, though Chromecast streaming is available on all videos.

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Play Store has new layout and transitions for search results, may be rolling out via server-side update

Google iterates a lot on the Play Store - the new shade of green, darker and richer than the previous one - is currently rolling out globally, along with the big uninstall button and tweaked list view for apps. We've now had wind of another test, using big cards for apps that can be horizontally swiped through in search results.

 

When searching for an app, tapping a result will take you to this new view, where you see the current content but instead of fullscreen, it is contained in a card. Scrolling down makes the card bigger - so the view is as it is now - and scrolling up puts it back in a card.

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