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Mojang Launches Android Beta Program For Minecraft Pocket Edition

Today Minecraft developer Mojang is launching a beta program for the Pocket Edition of its absurdly popular sandbox game. Anyone who purchased Minecraft on an Android device via Google Play is eligible to join. This will give you early access to new, experimental features before anyone else and allow you to provide feedback that could impact future versions of the title.

Minecraft

To enter the beta program, interested players simply need to request to join the Minecraft Pocket Edition Test Group on Google+.

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ESPN Score Center App Renamed To SportsCenter, With A Swanky New UI And Lots Of Ads

Why ESPN didn't call its sports update app "SportsCenter" in the first place is beyond me. They seem to have rectified this with version 4.0 of the app, now named after the ubiquitous sports show. (Da-na-na, da-na-na.) The app was also updated with a new all-white interface and a standard slide-out menu.

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Oh, and ads. Lots of ads. While the previous version had in-network advertising at the bottom of the screen like a lot of free apps, this new one gets interstitial ads that pop up two or three times while scrolling through scores or updates, plus random pop-up ads.

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Google Offering A Slew Of Free And Discounted Magazines In Play Newsstand For A Limited Time

Two days ago, Google officially launched Newsstand, an app that combines Play Magazines and Currents to offer an all-in-one-place news source. To celebrate the launch of this new product, the company is now offering several magazines for free or at a discounted rate, presumably so potential customers can get their feet wet and see what the mag experience is all about.

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There's a pretty wide variety of titles available for free and/or cheap right now, including MaximumPC, Men's Health, People, PC Gamer, Maxim, Wired, Women's Health, Entertainment Weekly, Runners, In Style, Sports Illustrated, BeerAdvocate, Vanity Fair, Bicycling, Linux Format, Redbook, and a lot more.

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US Cellular Rolls Out Android 4.3 To The Galaxy S III Via OTA Update To Version R530UVXUBMJA

Not to be left behind by the larger carriers, US Cellular is also distributing the Android 4.3 update to the Galaxy S IIIs running on its network. In addition to the goodies that come with the latest version of Jelly Bean, this release gives Samsung's 2012 flagship the ability to pair with Galaxy Gear smartwatches, a privilege that until recently was exclusively provided to the Galaxy Note 3.

USCellularOTA

Galaxy S III users who do not own a Galaxy Gear may be more interested in the new Samsung KNOX compatibility or the improved pre-installed apps.

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Motorola Assist And Motorola Connect For The Moto X And 2013 DROIDs Are Now In The Play Store

They've done it with the camera. They've done it with Touchless Control and Migrate. They've even done it with the FM Radio from the brand new Moto G. Now Motorola is moving even more of its proprietary phone apps into Google Play Land, presumably to allow for more frequent and reliable updates. Today Motorola Assist and Motorola Connect, both exclusive to the Moto X and Verizon's new Motorola DROID phones, are available on the Play Store.

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Sprint Galaxy S III Receives OTA Update To Android 4.3 (L710VPMJ9)

An Android 4.3 OTA update has already rolled out to Galaxy S IIIs on T-Mobile and AT&T. Now the update is coming to Sprint devices. This release not only gives Galaxy S IIIs the latest version of Jelly Bean, it introduces the ability to pair the devices with Galaxy Gear smartwatches and brings in Samsung KONX compatibility. Many of those pre-installed apps will also see improvements as well.

SprintOTA

This OTA is the first in seven months and jumps the Sprint Galaxy SIII up from Android 4.1.

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Google Play Store Now Gives Better Visibility To Tablet-Optimized Apps, Shames Others As 'Designed For Phones'

The changes to the Play Store we mentioned last month seem to have taken effect. Now when you're checking out apps on an Android tablet, the home page and the tabs for "Top Paid," "Top Free" and the like will only highlight apps designed for use on tablets, at least by default. If you search for a non-optimized app manually, the full listing will use a "designed for phones" tag.

Check out these screenshots.

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[Deal Alert] Amazon Gold Box Discounts Transcend MicroSD Cards: 16GB For $10, 32GB For $17, 64GB For $35

The MicroSD card slot seems to be a dying feature on later Android phones (at Google's insistence, no less), but those of you who still have one will want to check out Amazon's daily Gold Box deals today. Among an appreciable smattering of other Transcend flash storage deals, the site has three great prices for MicroSD cards starting at just ten bucks.

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On the lowest tier we've got a Transcend 16GB MicroSD card for ten bucks.

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[Bonus Round] Hunger Games: Panem Run, Polarity, Flick Kick Football Legends, And Tic Tactics

Welcome to the latest entry in our Bonus Round series, wherein we tell you all about the new Android games of the day that we couldn't get to during our regular news rounds. Consider this a quick update for the dedicated gamers who can't wait for our bi-weekly roundups, and don't want to wade through a whole day's worth of news just to get their pixelated fix. Today we've got a licensed Hunger Games, uh, game, a Portal-style first person puzzler, a classic take on a casual favorite, and a stylish 2D puzzle game.

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Here Are The Manual Update Links For The Last Nexus Devices To Get KitKat OTAs - 2013 Nexus 7 LTE And 2012 Nexus 7 3G (Android 4.4 KRT16S)

Hooray! Shortly after the Nexus 4 OTA zip link was finally discovered, we can now say the same about both data-connected Nexus 7s - the 2012 3G edition and the 2013 LTE. These are the last devices we didn't have manual update links for, so now it's safe to say that the KitKat Nexus rollout has been fully completed.

As to not repeat the same flashing instructions, I'm going to direct the 2012 3G owners to this post and 2013 LTE owners to this one.

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