Android Police

Apps/Games

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This new $1 app lets you use Cardboard apps on the Samsung Gear VR, no root required

Hecorat, the developer behind some cool apps we love like AZ Screen Recorder and EZ Package Disabler, has released a new app on the Play Store and this one solves an existential problem for all virtual reality fans who own Samsung's Gear VR but also want to try Cardboard apps and games: it lets them do exactly that which Samsung had tried its darndest to forbid.

The problem with Gear VR is that the moment you plug your Galaxy phone into the headset, the Oculus app launches and you can't use any other app until you unplug. This means that launching the Cardboard app, or any Cardboard compatible apps and games, is impossible.

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Google Maps tests new location indicator, shows Edits tab to check the status of your suggested changes

If you've been using Google Maps in the past couple of days, there are two changes that you may have noticed, or not depending on how lucky you are with server-side switches. The first one is purely cosmetic and the second is something Local Guides and sticklers for accuracy will enjoy.

The location indicator in Google Maps is seeing a small aesthetic change. Instead of the arrow pointer, some users are getting a widening gradient spray. It serves the same purpose, but might be more accurate in saying the general direction you're pointing at by broadening a little bit the field and not trying to pinpoint it precisely.

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Android Pay v1.5 prepares to show new users where to find NFC on their phones and might be experimenting with the secure element again [APK Teardown]

There are a lot of factors playing into the success and failure of mobile payment systems. Perhaps the most challenging issue for Android Pay to overcome isn't the slow adoption of compatible payment terminals or the general lack of awareness about contactless payments, it's the confusion people experience once they decide to try it. While many users are nervous simply because they don't know what to expect, some others are confronted with an even bigger challenge: they have no idea where the NFC antenna is on their phone. The Android Pay app has been progressively adding more informative screens to help with educating users about tap-and-go payments, and now evidence from a teardown suggests Google will soon teach users what part of the phone to actually tap with.

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Mars: Mars is a delightful low-poly platformer mixed with an endless runner

NASA has plans in place to send astronauts to Mars in the next few decades. When they get there, I imagine it'll be pretty much exactly like Mars: Mars. This game takes place on Mars as you hop between platforms, exploring the surface, taking selfies (even Curiosity does it), and bringing new explorers to the planet.

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InBrief
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Google TalkBack gets a new icon as v5.0 rolls out more widely

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Dropsy from Devolver Digital is now live in the Play Store with hugs for all

To call Dropsy a weird game would be a profound understatement—it's bizarre in the extreme. After a suspicious circus fire, Dropsy the clown embarks on a quest to clear his name and get some hugs. This game really emphasizes the hugs. It's a classic point-and-click game, but it's unlike anything I've seen before.

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Logitech POP is the button that controls your smart home

A smart home is every geek's dream, so it's great to see the idea becoming more and more of a reality, with Nest, Alexa, Google Assistant (soon), and Apple's HomeKit making our homes smarter and automated. Accessory maker Logitech, which already has the Harmony Remote, is adding to its range with the Logitech POP button and accompanying app.

The POP can control a lot of devices, from Phillips Hue lightbulbs to Sonos speakers, to door locks and blinds, plus of course the Harmony platform. Each button can be programmed with three individual commands which can then do a host of different things to control your home.

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Spotify introduces new Gaming category with playlists and soundtracks from your favorite games

I'm not an avid gamer: puzzles, math games, brain teasers, anything that requires a bit of thinking and doesn't involve plot twists, that's my jam. But I know a lot of people who are taken by games, whether classics or new releases, and I know that many of them are completely fascinated by the music and soundtracks that accompany these games.

That's the category of players that Spotify is catering to with its latest Gaming category addition. Showing up today in Browse on mobile, desktop, and web, Gaming will include plenty of curated playlists like Power GamingRock Gaming, and even Catch 'Em All, as well as guest playlists from other Spotify listeners and avid gamers.

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Aviary Photo Editor adds more fonts, transform tool, and option to clone effects between photos

If I had a dime for every photo editor I come across on Android, I'm sure I'd easily have a couple of thousand bucks by now. But Aviary is slightly different. It was acquired by Adobe in 2014 because of its large selection of filters and effects, and the company has been enhancing it since: Material Design, free and premium features, and so on. The latest updated to version 4.8.0 brings 3 new interesting features and improves on an existing one.

First, there are more font options for text layers in Aviary, courtesy of Adobe Typekit. So expect to see more high quality typographies on photos edited within the app.

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PSA: The new Bluetooth-enabled Xbox One controller works with Android... but not very well

The Xbox 360 controller has been the de facto standard for years (NVIDIA copied it almost exactly for the SHIELD line), and the Xbox One has a refined and streamlined version of that design. So when Microsoft announced that a shiny new revision of the Xbox One controller would not only let you choose your colors and engraving Moto Maker-style, but also include a Bluetooth connection for easy dongle-free pairing with PCs, I couldn't help but get excited. Might Android gamers finally get access to the best controller around without any USB frippery or root-enabled work-arounds?

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