Android Police

Apps/Games

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SafetyNet API fails on some Android phones with unlocked bootloaders, Android Pay affected

The SafetyNet API is the bane of root and custom ROM users everywhere. For those unfamiliar, it is part of the Google Play Services API that is designed to detect modified devices. If your system is tampered with in any way, be it rooted or a custom ROM, the SafetyNet check will fail. Android Pay, among other applications, uses this API and will fail to run if SafetyNet fails.

Reports are coming in from Reddit and our own tip box that SafetyNet appears to fail on some bootloader-unlocked devices, even if the device has not been modified in any other way. Devices confirmed to have issues include the Nexus 6P, OnePlus 3, and Nexus 6.

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InBrief
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The first episode of Minecraft: Story Mode is now free

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Official Google Wallpapers app hits the Play Store, runs on non-Google devices too

A feature that we first associated with the Pixel Launcher was the wallpaper picker. And since the Pixel Launcher is exclusive to Pixel phones, you might have thought the same would go for its wallpaper feature. Well, in that case, you would be wrong. Google has broken it off into an app called Wallpapers and it is now in the Play Store, available for download on all manner of non-Pixel, non-Nexus devices.

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Pixel Launcher lands in the Play Store, predictably only compatible with the Pixel [APK Download]

Google now has two launcher apps in the Play Store, but you probably can't install the new one. The Pixel Launcher is one of the selling points of the Pixel phones, and remains technically exclusive to them. But of course, we have the APK available for download.

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Google updates Play Store developer policy with examples of text, images, and videos that will get your app taken down

According to the Google Play developer content policy, Google wants to build "the world's most trusted store for apps and games." With this in mind, the company has updated the developer policy with examples of things that will get your app removed from the store, such as sexually explicit material, excessive graphic violence, or use of drugs, plus some 'metadata' app listing items which are now not allowed.

The listing is an important part of how an app is promoted to customers. With this update, Google presumably wants to try and take away some of the more 'clickbait' listings that it deems unsuitable, or in the case of wholly inappropriate content, which we've copied and pasted below, remove completely.

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Android Pay gets a new, more stylish landing site

The Android Pay landing site (android.com/pay) has just been revamped with some more eye-catching elements. I haven't heard anybody complain that Android Pay's landing site is too drab, but this new site definitely looks quite a bit nicer. (You can check out the old one here.)

When you get to the site, you're hit with a splash of color, some "tap. pay. xxxxx." text, and a Nexus 6P or 5X demonstrating these actions (oddly, they didn't go with the Pixel or Pixel XL for this). Some of the 5Xes have curiously small bottom bezels.

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Google App 6.7.13 beta readies Lite Mode for data-constrained regions [APK Teardown]

Google hasn't been shy about ingratiating itself and its services with the people of India and similarly data-constrained markets – and it should take a bow because some competitors certainly aren't trying very hard to keep up. Last month Google announced a number of initiatives for the Indian market designed to cut down on unnecessary data costs. Among the announcements was a change to the News & Weather app adding a so-called "Lite Mode" that intelligently reduces the amount of text and images that ultimately reaches a phone. Now it looks like the Google app itself will be sporting the same options.

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Foursquare gets in on the voice assistant action with Marsbot, now in invite-only beta on Android

Tech companies are not immune to the ebbs and flows of the tide of fashion. The latest fad among mega-corps is voice-controlled interfaces - Google has half a dozen or so with the latest being Assistant, to say nothing of Siri, Alexa, Cortana, or any number of other vaguely feminine "bots." Location specialist Foursquare wants into this party, and they've decided to go masculine with their interpretation: Marsbot. It was previously available on the iPhone, but as of today the Android version is on the Play Store.

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Chrome Canary now available on Android, if you live life dangerously

Google Chrome has traditionally been available in four 'channels' - Stable, Beta, Dev, and Canary. Beta and Dev are progressively buggier and unfinished than Stable, and Canary is the definition of bleeding-edge. Canary builds are released automatically every day, with no manual testing, and are prone to more bugs than all the other channels.

Until now, the Canary channel has only been available for Windows and Mac (not even desktop Linux). Google has just published Chrome Canary onto the Play Store, starting with build 56.0.2891.8. There aren't any noticeable changes here as opposed to Dev, but in the future, this should be the first place to spot new features.

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Plants vs. Zombies Heroes brings multiplayer card battles to the casual franchise

Plants vs. Zombies started as a fairly simple lane-based tower defense game, much loved thanks to its tight gameplay and whimsical style. But like any casual game that gets a big following, it's now branching into other genres as well. The Garden Warfare spinoffs on consoles have done well as Team Fortress-style multiplayer shooters, and now PopCap is going after another multiplayer giant: Hearthstone. PvZ Heroes, now out of geo-limited beta, brings semi-random card decks into the eternal undead-rhododendron fight.

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