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HTC Smart display for the upcoming U11+ shows up on the Play Store

The upcoming HTC U11+ promises to be an interesting device (unless you live in the US, where it won't be released – sorry). It's apparently what became of 'Muskie,' the canceled HTC-made Pixel 2 XL, so we're expecting a premium smartphone that could be HTC's best yet. My initial reaction to it was very positive, anyway.

One of the features that will ship with the U11+ is Smart display, which is essentially HTC's version of Ambient Display. Much like what you get on a Pixel, Smart display will show the time, date, and notification icons. It can be set to be 'always on,' and a schedule can even be set to conserve battery.

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Instagram is testing a standalone messaging app called Direct

Remember how upset people were when Facebook started requiring everyone to install the separate Messenger app? Now Instagram is going down the same road, or it's at least strongly considering it. Instagram is testing a new app called Direct that replaces the messaging inbox from the main app and builds an experience around it. The new app is only available in a few countries so far, but it could be rolled out widely later.

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AutoNotification lets you add a "Mark as Read" icon to Gmail notifications

Joao from joaomgcd, better known for his series of "Auto-" apps and Join, is one of our favorite tinkering developers. He always manages to find a way to make Android do things it's not supposed to, and the latest "hack" he has come up with is a new "Read" button on Gmail notifications. You know how you sometimes receive emails with a few words that are easily legible from the notification without having to open the entire Gmail app, or how you get automated emails which content you already know without opening them, and you just want a quick way to mark them as read without deleting or archiving them?

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VSCO rolls out Messages, because every image sharing platform needs a built-in messenger

It's like there's a recipe for image sharing social networks: 1) launch the service with some hook to make it special against the thousands of other competitors, 2) wait until there are enough uses and add a messenger so people can talk to each other without ever leaving your app, 3) launch a Snapchat-like auto-destruct feature, 4) separate all 3 features into their own standalone apps. VSCO has graduated from step 1 to step 2.

Yup, VSCO is rolling out Messages, so you can talk to all those VSCOers out there and not feel alone in your VSCO world. It's described as "a new way to connect, share inspiration, and learn from other creators in the VSCO community," which sounds inspiring, but all it is is an easy way to share photos, journals, other profiles, and DSCOs (animated images) with others.

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Ai.type keyboard app developer accidentally leaks personal data of 31 million users

Another week, another potentially serious data breach. The emails, phone numbers, and locations of 31 million users of Android keyboard app Ai.type have been compromised after the developer failed to secure the server on which the information was stored. Some 577 gigabytes of data is said to have been exposed, representing more than three quarters of the app's total userbase.

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Barclaycard US, 58 other banks add support for Android Pay

Google's Android Pay team is keeping the momentum going, with support for 59 more banks added. While most of the banks in question are regional banks hailing from Texas and other southwestern states, the most nationally known is likely Barclayscard US. This update brings the total number of participating banks to 1,131.

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LineageOS releases changelog for the past few weeks, including KRACK fixes and several status bar/quick settings additions

From time to time, the team at LineageOS will post changelogs of changes/fixes that have been implemented since the last changelog was published. It's been quite a while since the last one on September 23rd, and this new one contains some noteworthy information. Following every change Lineage makes isn't the easiest thing in the world, and this helps consolidate everything.

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Anki Cozmo app update expands programming functionality

Back in September, Anki released a special Collectors Edition of its Cozmo toy robot, alongside a major app update for both the original and new models. One of its Cozmo's many features is the ability to program basic tasks through the mobile app. While a full Python-based SDK is available for those wanting to use real programming languages, the drag-and-drop Code Lab had most of the essentials.

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Oreo will be rolling out to Android Wear starting today

Android Wear 2.0, deep down inside, is based on Nougat 7.0. A bit over a month ago the platform saw news of a coming update to Oreo in the form of a beta program, originally only available for the LG Watch Sport. We presume that beta is now over, because Android Oreo is rolling out to Wear devices starting today.

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ASUS Zenfone 4 Max updated to ZenUI 4.0

ASUS has been working on its custom Android skin for years, named 'ZenUI.' The fourth major version first appeared on some Zenfone 4 devices, but a few in that line were still rocking ZenUI 3. One of these was the Zenfone 4 Max, and now ASUS is finally getting around to updating it.

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