News

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Action Launcher v28 beta is rolling out, with support for adaptive icons and light navigation bar [APK Download]

Chris Lacy has had a busy few months updating his popular Action Launcher. Since a major overhaul in June, the app has added numerous features that mimic the way the Pixel launcher works in Oreo, bringing features such as the Google Feed, notifications dots, and shortcuts to almost any Android device. The last update, to v27, included new theming options and a Pixel-inspired weather widget. The beta for v28 is now starting to roll out, and it comes with full support for adaptive icons and a light navigation bar.

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Lenovo Home Assistant Pack transforms the Tab 4 into an Alexa speaker of sorts... nothing to do with Google Home or Assistant

Oh Lenovo, Lenovo, Lenovo. I don't wish unemployment on anyone, but I think it's time you fired your product naming and branding team. After the massive headache of the new Moto names, now comes this "Home Assistant Pack" that, unlike what you might think, has nothing to do with Google Home or Google Assistant, but as a matter of fact, works with its competitor voice service, Amazon Alexa. Was "Alexa Thingamajig Pack" taken by another company?

I digress... no wait, I can't. I really can't get over the fact that Lenovo chose two brands that are mostly associated with Google to launch an Alexa product.

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Split-Screen Creator makes a shortcut to instantly launch two apps in multi-window mode

When David wrote his first impressions of the Note8, he mentioned one feature of the Apps Edge that lets you create a shortcut to immediately launch two apps in split-screen. And that got me jealous. See, I don't use multi-window on my phone all that often, but on my tablet, it's a different story. I'm often editing Android Police's posts, which requires Chrome and a Google Docs file to be open at the same time so I can take notes. But I have to manually open these and set them up each time. A shortcut would be a welcome simplification of that process.

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Bragi's The Dash and The Dash Pro will get Amazon Alexa support in October

Completely wireless earbuds are everywhere at IFA this year, and so is the voice assistant war. While Google Assistant is busy getting its foothold into many speakers, Alexa is expanding into headphones and earbuds and the latest to join its rank is Bragi's The Dash series.

Both The Dash and the newer The Dash Pro will get a software update in October to Bragi OS 3.1 that will enable Alexa integration. You'll also need to update your Bragi app on Android (or iOS) and link an Amazon account obviously, so that The Dash knows which credentials to use. Once that's done, you can use The Dash's gestures and movement sensors to trigger Alexa, either by a "tap of the cheek" or a "nod of the head." The former seems a little ridiculous and the latter could be falsely triggered during vigorous exercise, so I hope The Dash's sensitivity has been more appropriately tuned for these.

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Sphero announces R2-D2 and BB-9E remote control droids

Sphero's BB-8 remote control toy was a massive hit when it was released in 2015, partially because it was a great product, but also because the hype machine for The Force Awakens was at full speed. Now that another main series Star Wars film is on the way, it only makes sense that Disney would again partner with Sphero. Except this time, there are two of them.

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InBrief
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TeamViewer QuickSupport adds support for some Motorola devices

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JBL announces speakers with Google Assistant, a boombox, cord-free earbuds, and more

It seems like every single tech company has made at least one announcement at IFA in Berlin, and JBL is no exception. The company announced a ton of new products at IFA, including Google Assistant-powered speakers, fully wireless earbuds, a boombox that lasts for 24 hours, and more.

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T-Mobile's next big move will be announced on September 6th at Un-carrier Next

Love him or hate him, John Legere has done a lot for T-Mobile since he took the reins in late 2012. The company's latest announcement, entitled Un-carrier Next, has been set for September 6th, and from the video T-Mobile uploaded onto its YouTube channel, it looks like it'll be something big.

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Essential Phone's mediocre photo quality can be fixed by a modified Google Camera APK

Even before the Essential Phone was released, we knew the camera wasn't going to be very good. Sure enough, once the phone got into the hands of reviewers, the camera was by far the most disappointing aspect of the device. But most of the problem doesn't appear to be with the camera sensor, but with Essential's software.

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Amazon encourages developers to create Alexa skills for children

Amazon's Alexa assistant already has a massive number of 'skills' - third-party add-ons that can extend the functionality of Alexa. For example, you can use the Domino's skill to order pizza with just your voice, or the BBC News one to hear recent world events. But now, Amazon is encouraging developers to create skills aimed at children under the age of 13.

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