It looks like Google has surreptitiously started a little summer promo in the Play Store with discounts on apps and games, with some going below the usual $0.99 barrier. There's no official landing page yet, so we don't know everything that's included, but more could still be on the way.
Amazon's Prime Music service, a free add-on for anyone who's already a Prime subscriber, launched to a resounding "meh." The app and service functions well enough, but with plenty of alternatives both free and paid, Amazon's boast of "over one million songs" rang somewhat hollow. As a Prime subscriber myself, I saw it as a nice perk, but it's no reason to stop paying for Google Play Music All Access as well.
Modern Combat, Gameloft's Call Of Duty / Battlefield "inspired" shooter series, is back - the fifth installment in the mobile franchise just hit the Play Store. The best thing about MC5? Gameloft has stripped of it the loathsome in-app purchases Modern Combat 3 and 4 were saddled with.
Modern Combat 5 will cost you $7, which for a mobile game of this caliber, I'd say, is pretty reasonable - Gameloft really has no mention-worthy competition in the fully-featured mobile FPS market, so honestly, they could probably charge twice that and still make a lot of money on this game.
A typical camera captures what's in front of it, but newer products are rolling out that really don't care what direction they're facing. Florida-based startup VSN Mobil's new V.360 is such a camera, one that records everything going on in a 360 degree area around it. It's not the first device to do this, but with its 16MP imager capable of capturing content in full 1080p, it should do so quite prettily.
Update, 7-25-14: A Carnegie Mellon representative informed us that in fact the Duolingo Test Center results will not factor into determining an applicant's English skills, it will merely be used in research to test the exam's effectiveness, at least at the moment.
Carnegie Mellon, a global research university that attracts student applicants from around the world, is the first academic partner of Duolingo for the English language certification exam.
In this role, the university in the coming year will encourage applicants and newly admitted students to take the online exam as part of a research study.
Update: It looks like the app isn't compatible with some versions of the M8 yet either. Feel free to chime in if any of your Sense 6 devices are currently listed as compatible.
Dear M8 owners, HTC has dropped your default clock app into the Play Store. This will allow for easier updates in the future, untangling software improvements from big firmware releases. It's not a particularly exciting app, but hey, the essentials are important too.
Get ready to let your mind run wild as you manufacture your own fun out of pixels in the new ReactionLab 2. On the surface this is a fairly typical "Falling Sand" style game, but it goes a bit deeper than that. There are 80 pixel elements to work with, which can be used to generate completely new substances with their own unique properties.
It seems like the only thing we hear about the upcoming YouTube music service as of late is how many problems it's having. Case in point: the Wall Street Journal reports that YouTube's product manager in charge of music, Christopher LaRosa, is leaving the company in favor of an as-yet unnamed startup. LaRosa's LinkedIn profile says he's worked at YouTube for over four years, and at Google for two years before that.
Auto-correcting keyboard Fleksy made headlines last month with its interesting support for Samsung's Gear 2 smartwatches, but don't let it be said that they're neglecting the standard Android app. Today the company is updating its unconventional keyboard to version 3.0, notably adding the "Fleksy Store" to the premium version. This store will offer themes for users to buy via in-app purchase. At launch (sometime this morning, US time) there will be six themes available, and anyone who's purchased the keyboard gets a free bonus theme.
Google teased an upcoming release of the Play Store with Material Design element at I/O last month, and we actually got a pretty good look at the new version ourselves last week. Starting today, that new version, 4.9.13, is rolling out, and we've got the APK for you, as always. Take a look at this quick visual overview of the changes (we've got more images down below as well), and be sure to read Liam's post on the update for all the details.