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Apps/Games

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[Update: dev kit pre-order] That unofficial 'Game Boy' smartphone adapter from April Fool's is now a working product, may actually come to market this year

A little over a year ago, one of the endless April Fool's jokes that cropped up around tech sites struck a chord with gamers. The "SmartBoy" from Hyperkin, sellers of new replacement parts for classic consoles, was a concept that slid an iPhone into a plastic case that perfectly reproduced the buttons and grip of the original Game Boy from 1989. It also included a real game cartridge slot, so authentic Game Boy games could theoretically be played using a modern smartphone screen. It was a little ridiculous - today's phones can already emulate Game Boy titles with ease, and even simulate the buttons with a Bluetooth controller - but the idea seemed to resonate with Nintendo fans.

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[Impressive] Chrooma Keyboard 3.0 adds gestures, themes and adaptive colors, Google Now integration, an action bar, more

Whoa. It's not easy for me to be impressed by a keyboard. I have been a staunch Google Keyboard user on all of my devices from the day it was released as a standalone app on the Play Store many moons ago. Every other keyboard I have tried — and I've tried plenty — fails to even register within the usable spectrum for me: lags and/or lack of precision have killed many revered third-party options.

I confess, I'd never tried Chrooma before today, mainly because I'd given up on finding any third-party keyboard, regardless of how many cool options it has, that lets me type as efficiently and comfortably as Google Keyboard has.

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Puzzle game _PRISM unfolds its wacky sacred geometry on Android

Most games have tutorials or some sort of instructions, but not _PRISM. I don't know if there's a scrap of text anywhere in it other than the name. You're left to tease out the secrets of each puzzle in this fascinating game on your own, but that's part of the fun. It just arrived on Android after launching on iOS earlier this year.

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NBC's Olympics app includes scores, schedules, news, and video of everything except the actual events

The summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro should be interesting to watch this year, if only in the same sense that a burning building is hard to ignore. As it has been for decades, NBC will be the sole media outlet for the games in the United States. Sports fans can use the official NBC app to keep up with the Olympics on their phones and tablets... though keep in mind that the results of the games, including medal winners, statistics, and a general schedule, will be available in all the usual places like ESPN and Google Now.

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Weekend poll: do you think Google Allo should replace Hangouts?

Google Allo is scheduled for a summer release, and recent changes to the app's iconography on the Play Store have brought back discussions on just what purpose the app really serves. With Hangouts probably being one of the most oft-derided Google products in existence, a replacement - even though Allo isn't technically replacing Hangouts - might be welcome. Or it might not: many Hangouts users would rather Google revamp that platform with Allo-like features instead of just releasing yet another chat app. How Allo and Hangouts will coexist remains unclear at this point - will Hangouts languish as Allo becomes Google's favored chat platform?

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Galcon 2 revives a simplified space strategy game with new multiplayer modes and more complex tactics

Here's a blast from the past. The original Galcon came to the Play Store when it wasn't even the Play Store - back in 2010 it was still going by the name "Android Market." It was a super-simple strategy game, adapted from an almost ancient PC shareware title called Galactic Conquest. The original mobile game was quite a popular one - sort of a Threes for the real-time strategy crowd - and today the very welcome sequel has arrived on Android.

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ES File Explorer's first big update since adware kerfuffle includes some major UI tweaks

Pop quiz, developers: how do you piss off the maximum amount of users and ruin the reputation of your years-old utility app at the same time? Short of plastering racial slurs all over the intro screen, hiding semi-useless adware inside it seems like a pretty good bet. Though the developers of ES File Explorer eventually turned off the sneaky "charging boost" app that was included in some of the latest builds, the perceived damage to the app among dedicated users has been done. That said, ES File Explorer has over 100 million installations, so things are moving forward regardless.

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Get more for your money and never lose your game progress with Amazon Coins and the Amazon Appstore [Sponsored Post]

Why pay more than you have to for the games you love? When you use the Amazon Appstore, you can enjoy big savings with Amazon Coins. And for a limited time, you can get up to 30% refunded back to you when you make purchases in some of the most popular games around.

Amazon Coins are used to make in-app purchases just like cash in games downloaded via the Amazon Appstore, but at a discount to you. Each Coin has an equivalent value to one penny, so 100 Coins = $1.00. However, you don’t pay $1.00 for every 100 Coins. For instance, if you buy $100 worth of Amazon Coins, you will only pay $87 of your own money.

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Waze is launching an 'avoid difficult intersections' toggle, but only in LA for now

Waze is owned by Google these days, but the way it handles navigation is quite different from the Maps app. For example, users can report accidents, speed traps, and other road conditions that affect the directions given to other Wazers. Today, the app is adding yet another quirky and potentially very useful routing feature. Users in LA will be able to get directions that help them avoid "difficult intersections."

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[Once more, with feeling] Official XDA-Developers app lands in the Play Store, again

Over the years, we've had an official XDA-Developers app, followed by another official XDA-Developers app, then an official but not Play Store-friendly XDA-Developers app, but if that wasn't enough, we now have one more official XDA-Developers app. Because apparently updating the previous listing isn't something the XDA Developers developers could figure out. (Actually it's good they kept the legacy apps for those who were using them, but this was an easy joke not to make.)

Anyway, this super duper new app differs from the previous legacy app in the fact that it's coded in-house and based on XDA APIs, not on Tapatalk.

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