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F-Droid 0.103 is finally out of alpha, brings a snazzy new design [APK Download]

F-Droid has just released its latest lovely layout to stable. The old three-tab design has been replaced, along with new visual changes to app listings and category navigation. In addition to the UI changes, there are a few other new features like new notifications and translations. F-Droid has been working on the redesign for the last six months and released it for testing in early April. But as of today, it has left alpha.

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Google Wallpapers now has two entirely new categories

Another good reason for non-Pixel owners to be jealous when the device was released last year was the excellent wallpaper picker that was baked into the exclusive launcher. That jealousy thankfully evaporated when Google released the standalone Wallpapers app, and made it available for all Android phones through the Play Store. It recently saw an update to version 1.1 that included plenty of fresh images in every category. And now we're seeing two entirely new categories: Art and Solid Colors.

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Opera Max 3.0 brings new UI with data-saving tips and Facebook tools

The Opera Max VPN is a pretty popular app, and yesterday it was updated with a few snazzy new tools. In addition to basic VPN abilities, version 3 introduces a fancy new design and will offer users new tips to maximize their data savings. The app also has a new data-saving tool specifically for Facebook, in the form of its own built-in Facebook web app.

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Android Pay v1.22 prepares Visual ID facial recognition based on Hands Free and reveals testing for Brazil, Trinidad & Tobago, and Canada [APK Teardown]

Android Pay may not have had a massive launch, or has been as aggressively rolled out as Samsung Pay, but it is steadily setting up shop in more countries around the globe. If you don't happen to find yourself in one of the dozen countries that have either already seen a launch or at least have an official promise of one coming soon, you might be interested to know that Google has at least set its sights on a few other countries. Text in the latest update of the Android Pay app hints at four previously unannounced markets. There are also obvious signs Google is merging the recently closed Hands Free experiment into Android Pay and expanding it significantly.

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Epix launches "EPIX Cast" streaming feature, no additional hardware required

Premium cable and satellite television network Epix has launched its very own casting technology that doesn't require any extra hardware. The imaginatively named "EPIX Cast" enables any Android device loaded with the Epix app to stream content to any connected TV set. This is all part of the company's "TV Everywhere" approach, which it hopes will attract customers through being easy to use and ubiquitous.

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:D Facebook reactions are now also available for comments

Early last year, Facebook got all emotional, allowing us to do more than just actively like or passively dislike a thing. Reactions were introduced in the biggest shake-up the Like button had ever seen. This made it possible to react to a post with the entire range of human emotions. Well, with love, laughter, shock, sadness, or anger. Of course, this wasn't enough. We want to be able to react with emotion to everything. So now Facebook is bringing these same options to the comments below posts, too.

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[Update: Out of beta] Snapchat 10.4 beta lets you add friends to the home screen, if they have a Bitmoji

Some messaging applications allow you to add shortcuts for contacts to the home screen, and now Snapchat has added a variation of that feature. Snapchat 10.4 beta allows users to create home screen widgets for their friends, but only if they have a Bitmoji.

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Play Store v7.8 prepares to add pre-registration rewards, settings for Instant Apps, Play Protect, and more [APK Teardown + Download]

The Play Store has just been updated to version 7.8 as of this morning, at least for some people. This release brings a couple of small changes to the interface and a few bigger changes in preparation for the future. Google has added a little reminder note to get people back on track with automatic updates, meanwhile it has also removed a toggle on some devices that gave users a choice about whether icons should be added to the home screen for newly installed apps. (But don't worry, that's conditional.) On the teardown front, we can see big signs of progress for Instant Apps, a move toward branding the malware scanner, and a clue that pre-registering for apps may finally be worth something besides a reminder notification.

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New home screen in Google Maps for Android, exclusive to India

Google announced today on its India Blog that it's introducing a new home screen layout for Maps on Android. The new interface has been designed exclusively for users in India. In what looks like a streamlined version of the pull-up tab found in the US and European versions of the app, here we see cards that are optimized to be less data-hungry and load faster on poor connections across India.

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Google Phone 9.0 prepares to add Android O's Notification Channels, picture messaging, post-call messages, and more [APK Teardown]

Late last week, an update to Google's Phone app began rolling out with no immediately obvious changes to the experience. While users don't have anything to play with quite yet, there are several interesting hints about what is to come in future releases. Hidden among the app's resources are signs of support for Android O's new Notification Channels feature, in-call picture messaging, post-call messaging, hidden menu codes for Motorola phones, and even some odd images of paws. Yes, seriously.

Official changelog posted

Google posted a changelog for the Phone app's latest update with the addition of emergency location display and "call waiting improvements" making up the majority of the new features.

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