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Samsung Finally Announces The Galaxy Alpha, A Mid-Ranger With The Pretentions Of A Flagship

After months of speculations regarding their upcoming high-quality metallic smartphone, Samsung has finally outed the Galaxy Alpha. In many regards, the Alpha is an underwhelming device that fails to stand next to this year's (and even some of last year's) Android flagships, but it does have one redeeming quality: it is the best industrially-designed phone to come out of the South Korean company in years.

While Samsung claims the Galaxy Alpha offers an "entirely new appearance," you would be hard-pressed not to recognize the Galaxy S5's sibling in the Alpha, an illegitimate brother from a one-night stand with a member of the iPhone family.

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Google Updates Platform Distribution Stats - KitKat Still Growing, Jelly Bean Still Shrinking, Gingerbread Gets Surprise 0.1% Bump

It's that time again! Google has updated the developer dashboard with new platform distribution numbers, showing the current state of Android version distribution among devices that have recently checked in to the Play Store.

As expected, KitKat has grown a bit more, up to 20.9% now (vs 17.9% last month), while Jelly Bean is down from 56.5 to 54.2%. Still hanging above the 50% mark and encompassing 3 API levels, Jelly Bean is the new Gingerbread.

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Samsung's Virtual Reality Headset Shows Up In A Photo Ahead Of Alleged IFA Unveiling

We've heard rumor after rumor of Samsung's virtual reality headset in recent weeks, and according to the Verge the manufacturer is (as previous rumors suggested) set to unveil the device (codenamed Project Moonlight) at its upcoming Unpacked event in Berlin and New York, where Samsung is also expected to announce the Galaxy Note 4. What's more, the Verge has what appears to be a photo of the headset, next to a Samsung phone and Bluetooth controller.

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[Update: Google Blocks Email With Sneaky Characters] Gmail Users Can Now Communicate With Email Addresses Containing Accented Or Non-Latin Characters

Update: Opening up email to a greater number of characters is a good thing for users, but it's also exciting for spammers. Certain characters - such as ဝ, ૦, ο, and the letter o - look very similar. Too similar, really. So Gmail will now block email addresses attempting to take advantage of this, and it will use the Unicode Consortium's "highly-restricted" specification to do so. Wဝ૦ο!

It may seem to many of us that there are an endless number of email addresses available out there, but if your name contains characters that don't fit somewhere between A-Z, that illusion is shattered pretty quickly.

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Google Classroom Opens Up To All Google Apps For Education Users In 42 Languages

Back in May, Google announced "a new classroom," powered by Google's own tools. Appropriately, the effort was dubbed Google Classroom and previewed to educators around the world. Today, Google Classroom will become available to all Google Apps for Education users in 42 languages, optimized for both desktop and mobile use.

For those unfamiliar, Google Classroom is basically a web platform for managing assignments and projects - educators can assign projects, dispense information (through announcements or real time discussions), and collect assignments using Google's tools to spend "a little less time at the photocopier and a little more time doing what you love—teaching."

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[Update: Winner] Win A Slickwraps Prize Package: An LG G3, 30 Slickwraps, And A One-Of-A-Kind Android Police Wrap

One of the easiest and most effective ways to add some flair to your device without any noticeable bulk is with a wrap. The high-quality wraps offered by Slickwraps.com are fantastic examples of how drastically a wrap can alter the look of a device, and we've teamed up with them to offer a pretty incredible prize package for one lucky winner:

  • 1 LG G3 (the winner will select the carrier/region)
  • 1 One-of-a-kind Android Police wrap (I'm jealous of this one – it's sexy)
  • 30 Additional wraps for the LG G3 (that's one per month for longer than a normal contract!)

Let's break down what you're getting here, because there's a lot to consider.

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Asus Releases Android KitKat Firmware For The Padfone Infinity And The Fonepad Note 6

Android L is on its way, but people still want KitKat. It's true. If I were sitting around with a device still running, say, Android 4.1, I'd want an update to something newer, and I'm sure you would (or do) too. Well, Asus Padfone Infinity and Fonepad Note 6 owners now have their chance to take a bite out of a sweeter, more recent version of Android. Asus has announced the immediate availability of fresh firmware for both devices.

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Tip: Hold 'Send' In A Hangouts SMS Conversation To Specify A Subject

A single SMS message is generally limited to 160 characters, which gives it the potential to be a very concise means of communication. If, however, you feel that the point of your message will be hard to convey in such small snippets, Hangouts has a feature for you.

Hangouts allows users to specify a subject for SMS messages. Simply hold the send button for a moment, and a subject box will appear as shown below.

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OnePlus One Receives A 2nd OTA - A Hotfix That Addresses A Screen Unlock Bug Introduced By XNPH30O [Download]

There's a reason major device updates tend to roll out in stages. Some of the earlier recipients of the OnePlus One's big July OTA were hit with a bug where the PIN unlock screen did not display properly. OnePlus hasn't wasted any time hopping on this issue, and they're now pushing out a hotfix to the limited people who received the first OTA already and those who have flashed manually.

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Moto X Android 4.4.4 Update Now Rolling Out To Soak Testers On AT&T

Plenty of phones tied to carriers get left behind in the update game, but the Moto X has kept up surprisingly well. The AT&T variant is currently sitting at 4.4.2, but AT&T has started pushing 4.4.4 updates to a soak testing group. If all goes as planned, it could roll out to everyone soon.

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