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Apps/Games

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3DMark Update Brings Android TV Support, New Sling Shot Test For OpenGL ES 3.0+, And More

When you're looking to see just how capable your Android hardware is, Futuremark's 3DMark is one benchmarking app that will let you know real quick. Fire it up, see how smoothly you device can handle a beautifully rendered scene, and walk away with a better idea of where your phone or tablet sits in the global hierarchy of things.

Well, after the latest update, I should probably say set-top box as well. You can now run 3DMark on Android TV.

3DMark

3DMark offers a new graphics benchmark video test intended for devices running Android 5.0 or later, and it supports OpenGL ES 3.0 and above.

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16 New And Notable (And 1 WTF) Android Apps From The Last 2 Weeks (7/14/15 - 7/27/15)

Welcome to the roundup of the best new Android applications, games, and live wallpapers that went live in the Play Store or were spotted by us in the previous 2 weeks or so.

Please wait for this page to load in full in order to see the widgets, which include ratings and pricing info.

Looking for the previous roundup editions? Find them here.

Featured App

Weatherback Weather Wallpaper

This week's roundup is brought to you by Weatherback Weather Wallpaper from Aceou. This interesting live wallpaper takes a static image (like Android's default wallpaper) and adds dynamic weather effects based on the weather at your actual location.

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Chrome Beta v45 Comes With Support For Media Playback System Notifications, Lots Of Under The Hood Changes

The latest release of Chrome Beta doesn't include many big, user-facing changes, but is instead mostly filled with incremental improvements to long-term development goals. The one goodie for end users that you may notice in normal use is the newly-added ability for websites to give you an Android notification with play and pause buttons to control audio.

For websites using up-to-date APIs, audio and video that is over 5 seconds long will result in a notification being displayed for easier control. I think of this somewhat similarly to the desktop version's indicator for noisy tabs.

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HowHigh Is Like Foursquare For Stoners, Complete With A "Buzzed" Badge And "Vouching" For Your Weed Buds

HowHigh are you? Oops. Hi, how are you? You'll have to forgive me, I'm a lil' buzzed right now, nothing illegal I swear, I have glaucoma and the doctor prescribed this herbal cure. Natural stuff he swore. But each time I take it, I get high-strung and paranoid, a pot. Lot. I said lot. This sounds so bong. DAMMIT, wrong. And sometimes it feels like I'm on a spinning wheel and... HAHAHAHAHAHA! Did I say spinning weed? That's funny. Billion dollar idea. A board game with weed types and you take whatever the wheel lands on. Tag line: It lights up so you light up.

I need to write this shit down.

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New IFTTT Channel Adds Spotify Integration To Enhance How You Use Your Online Music Library

IFTTT's web service can automate your life. You create recipes that do what you want done using simple if this then that commands. But to get cooking, you need to have on the right channel.

Today IFTTT has announced a new Spotify channel that lets you integrate your music library. Examples of what you can do include automatically posting to your social network accounts whenever you add a song to a playlist and emailing yourself a summary of all the tracks you save over the course of a week.

If your home is particularly smart, you can set your Philips HUE lights to match the album art of your most recently saved track.

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Motorola's Native FM Radio App Updated With Material Design, Music Recording, Sleep Timer, And Usability Improvements

If you've got a Moto G or Moto E, your phone has an FM radio built right into the design. Motorola's official app for using the FM tuner isn't much to write home about, but it's become considerably better today. The updated app (version 02.00.0045, according to the Play Store) updates the player's user interface to a fresh Material Design theme, now with a fetching teal and white color scheme.

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Old above, new below. Hey, I love Lorem Ipsum FM!

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But wait, there's more! The app can now records sounds directly from the tuner, a great bit of extra functionality that makes me wish my fancy-pants flagship had a radio built-in.

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BeyondPod Releases Separate Betas That Include Support For Android M And Android Auto

Collectively, the userbases for Android M and Android Auto have to represent only a tiny fraction of the total users of Android. But those people are also the most dedicated Android fans, so any developer hoping to get attention from power users would do well to consider them. Case in point: BeyondPod, the go-to podcast manager. This weekend the developers posted new betas with support for Android M and Android Auto on their official forums.

Notice the plural there: you can't get support for both M and Auto in the same app, at least not yet. The 4.1 branch currently supports Android Auto head units, and the 4.2 branch supports the versions of the Android M Developer Preview that have been released so far.

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Minimal Text Editor Monospace From Underwood Apps Is Now Available In Public Beta On The Play Store

Underwood Apps, developer of the widely-praised Today Calendar, has a new entry on the Play Store. You probably won't be interested if you're looking for another replacement to a core Google app, but writers, developers, and editors would do well to check it out. Say hello to Monospace, a super-simple text editor that's making its Play Store debut in beta form. It's a free download for Android 4.0.3 or later.

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Monospace is another entry in the minimal group of text editors - it doesn't support any of the more complex formatting you might be familiar with from a word processor, like templates or spell checking.

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Sparkle 3 Genesis Adds Some Much-Needed Structure To The 'Float Around And Eat Stuff' Genre

The Sparkle series of games use a 2D layout and a "zen" approach, putting players in the role of a tiny plankton-like creature as it eats, grows, and evolves. The third game steps up the design of both the sea life and the background until it looks like you're playing in a catastrophic oil spill comprised entirely of tie-dye. Eat, grow, and try not to be eaten in return as you swim through the levels.

There's a dedicated "amoeba" sub-genre out there (it works pretty well on touchscreens) but Sparkle 3 Genesis adds some much-needed complexity. Different food sources will make your creature grow in different ways, introducing a crafting element, and twelve different levels and intermittent screen-filling bosses lend structure to an other wise nebulous experience.

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Some Users Are Seeing 'Related Interests' Categories On The Play Store

Google is certainly no stranger to testing new features slowly. Most recently, it released an update to YouTube's UI that's been in testing for at least four months. And for Google, this is a good thing. Testing new features with limited samples of users helps get data not only on their usefulness, but also on how they augment user experience and engagement.

That brings us to the Play Store, an app where nothing is more important than engagement. Google appears to be testing a new feature called "Related Interests," which lists off various categories with round chips similar to the chips used for artists on Google Play Music's web interface.

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