Android Police

Apps/Games

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Playboard will be discontinued at the beginning of this month, many channels already gone

Playboard, the Google Play Store and Apple App Store aggregator with various channels and lists, has announced it will be discontinued at the beginning of February 2017 (i.e. any time now), in lieu of a new company, 42matters, taking its place.

Many pages on the Playboard website 404, with most channels for various apps and games not being found. Other pages redirect to the new website of 42matters, the successor company, which is focusing on app market analytics, mobile app data, and APIs.

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Chrome 56 adds official Web Bluetooth API support, New Tab page changes, experimental WebVR, and more [APK Download]

Chrome 56 is the first release of 2017, and like always, it has a fair amount of new features for both users and web developers. This release is focused primarily on Web Bluetooth and improvements to Android Pay on the web (through the Web Payments API), so let's dig in and have a look.

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Analytics firm says Pokémon GO has passed one billion dollars in total revenue

Despite some deep problems with the initial launch and a steep drop-off in players after the novelty began to fade, Pokémon GO can't be called anything less than a massive success. Aside from securing a spot (if only a fleeting one) in wider pop culture, Niantic's augmented reality monster-catching game has also managed to warrant partnerships from real-world retail stores and secure no small amount of income from in-app purchases. How much isn't precisely known by anyone except Apple, Google, and Niantic, but one analytics firm has a guess. And that guess has nine zeroes in it.

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Kodi 17 'Krypton' now available, with a new default skin and many under-the-hood changes [APK Download]

Kodi, perhaps better known by its former name XBMC, is one of the most popular media centers around. It's open source, cross-platform, and is endlessly extendable - what's not to love? Now Kodi 17, codenamed 'Krypton,' is live on the Play Store with thousands of new features and bug fixes.

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Open GApps can now optionally install Google Assistant

Google Assistant was introduced at Google I/O last year, as a more personal voice assistant than Google Now. Since then, it has been made available on several platforms - Pixel phones, the Google Home, Android TV, and Allo. But Assistant is still unavailable on non-Pixel phones without a special build.prop tweak. Now the Open GApps team has made enabling Assistant a little easier.

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AmpMe adds Spotify streaming to its multi-device music party app

AmpMe, the app that turns several phones into perfectly synchronized speakers for the same music, has seen many updates since its release in 2015. At first, the app only supported SoundCloud as a music source, but it has added local music and YouTube, and improved its app to synchronize Bluetooth speakers as well (with their delays). Now the service is adding one of its most requested features: Spotify support.

You can choose to stream music from Spotify in AmpMe, just like you would choose YouTube or SoundCloud or your local library. But you will have to sign in with your premium Spotify account for that to work.

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Viber adds an auto-destruct timer for photos and videos

Self-destructing secret messages are super hip nowadays. Snapchat made it trendy and now every messaging app and social network is trying to follow suit: Allo has private conversations, Instagram creates ephemeral stories, and so on. Viber is now jumping on the hype train and allowing you to set a time limit on your shared media.

After choosing a photo or video to send to your recipient, you have to tap the pencil icon to add a caption and then look for the timer icon on the bottom left of the screen. Tap it and you'll be able to choose between 1, 3, 7, and 10 seconds of elapsed time.

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Samsung Pay Mini to launch in South Korea for all Android smartphones

The web component of Samsung Pay has long been rumored to be coming, so it's no real surprise to see it formally announced today. The service, which sees Samsung attempting to broaden its services offerings in response to Google, Facebook, and Apple, will go live in South Korea before the end of the first quarter.

Samsung Pay Mini is comparable to how Android Pay works to pay for items online. E-tailers opt in to the service, which means as long as the dedicated app is downloaded, users can easily and quickly pay for products or services without needing to fill in forms or get cards out.

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Lottie is Airbnb's new open-source tool for effortlessly creating app animations

Animations are an important part of an app's design and user experience, so much so that Google made them an integral part of material design. The folks at Airbnb just made making an animation a whole lot easier, with a new tool called 'Lottie.'

Lottie is an open-source library for iOS, Android, and React Native that renders animations in real time. This means that animations such as the 'hamburger-to-back-arrow' animation is now easy and simple to create. The library uses an open-source After Effects plugin, Bodymovin, as its base, which enables Lottie to use data exported from After Effects as JSON files to animate in real time on the device.

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Nintendo's first full Android game, Fire Emblem Heroes, is now rolling out to some countries in the Play Store

It's a big day for Nintendo fans: the company's first Android game is here. (So long as you don't count Miitomo... and since Nintendo seems kinda down on the Mii stuff lately, maybe you shouldn't.) Fire Emblem Heroes, a turn-based strategy game set in the long-running fantasy franchise, is now available on the Play Store in at least some countries. As of early this morning Pacific Time it hasn't dropped in the United States, but players in Japan, Australia, and Europe report that they're able to download it. If you can't wait for Nintendo's staggered rollout, the app is available on APK Mirror for a direct download.

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