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Apps/Games

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Twitch Prime provides ad-free Twitch streaming and other goodies with your Amazon Prime subscription

Amazon has owned streaming giant Twitch since 2014, but besides a Fire TV app, you would be hard-pressed to find evidence of Amazon's handywork. Today that changes, with Twitch announcing their new premium subscription, Twitch Prime. And as you may guess from the title, it comes free with an Amazon Prime subscription.

To put it simply, Twitch Prime is a bit similar to YouTube Red. You get free game content every month (such as indie games or DLC), as well as discounts on new games sold by Amazon during the pre-order period and first two weeks of launch. As far as Twitch itself, you will get exclusive emotes and a chat badge, ad-free viewing, and a free channel subscription every 30 days.

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Wikipedia Android app updated with bottom navigation row

Android visual standards are a hot topic - just check the comment section every time a point of contention in Material Design springs up. One of the most contentious is top tabs and slide-out menus, as featured in Android since Ice Cream Sandwich, versus bottom navigation links, as tends to be popular with lazy iPhone ports (though they're actually part of the documentation). The latest update to the official Wikipedia app indulges in a little bottom-nav action, and it's... okay.

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Android Wear app v2.0 beta for developer preview 3 adds a Google account manager and removed some outdated settings [APK Download]

After an extensive delay, Google finally dropped the third developer preview of Android Wear 2.0 yesterday. While the hot topic was a newly extended timeline that pushes a final software release to early 2017, there was also a new version of the Android Wear companion app made available.

It's important to note right away that this is a beta release and is currently only intended for watches running developer preview 3. In fact, it's pretty clear the only reason for releasing this update is to add the necessary interface for some of the new features. If you're planning to install DP3, and only if you're installing DP3, you'll want the 2.0 beta of the companion app.

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Action Launcher preemptively adds launcher shortcuts expected to debut with the Pixel Launcher

As you may have noticed in a recent teardown, Google's launcher shortcuts are most likely returning in Android 7.1 with the Pixel Launcher. This feature was part of the Nougat developer preview some months ago, but wasn't implemented in the final release. Now, an improved version is on the way, and Action Launcher continues its tradition of adding all the Pixel Launcher things before the Pixel Launcher even exists.

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Google Maps now integrates upcoming events from Google Calendar [APK Download]

Google is making use of its new company blog to announce a feature for Maps. The app now has improved integration with your upcoming calendar appointments, a feature that we spotted in a teardown the other day. When you include a location with your Google Calendar events, they'll now show up on the Map and in a special upcoming places tab.

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Gmail updated with minor tweaks, plus new empty inbox and spam folder graphics [APK Download]

There's a new version of Gmail rolling out today with a number of small changes. You may or may not notice these tweaks to functionality, but you'll probably notice the new graphics Google has added for an empty inbox or spam folder. It's kind of like Inbox.

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Sphero's Star Wars Force Band lets you control BB-8 using motion gestures

The Force Awakens is approaching a year old, but by Star Wars standards, the merchandising is only just beginning. A particularly new offering is the Star Wars Force Band, which lets you control Sphero's tiny BB-8 droid that has been rolling around since the film hit theaters. But instead of doing so using an on-screen interface, you use the Force.

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Flipboard reaches 500 Million installs on the Play Store

I don't "read" news anymore. If you saw what my Gmail inbox looks like every morning, you'd understand why reading something, anything really, other than the 300 or so emails we get at Android Police every day is a bit of an optimistic dream that I stopped entertaining a long time ago. I do listen to news though, in the form of podcasts that I've cherry-picked to my preferences and that I enjoy while driving or walking.

Back when I did read the news though, Flipboard was something I liked. It had a beautiful magazine-style approach, interesting articles and curated collections, and a large user base, which is crucial when your whole news network relies on user interactions and content too.

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InBrief
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The latest versions of Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides allow you to restore deleted files

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Unity game engine now supports Vulkan rendering on Android

Unity, if you're not familiar with game development, is a popular cross-platform game engine. Although Unity games can most often be found on PC and consoles, Android games utilizing the engine include Crossy Road, Monument Valley, Lara Croft: Relic Run, and more. Today Unity has announced the Vulkan Renderer Preview, finally allowing developers to use the Vulkan API with their games.

The Vulkan API (not to be confused with the Star Trek planet Vulcan) has been hyped to the moon and back in the gaming industry recently, and for good reason. Based on AMD's Mantle API, it is a new graphics API designed to be cross-platform (much like Unity) and have a low overhead.

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