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Google Play Newsstand Joins The 500 Million Download Club

Joining the likes of other Google apps like Play Movies, Play Books, and Play Music, and Facebook's Messenger app, Google Play Newsstand became the latest Google app to reach the 500 million download mark, reaching it some time this month. This number obviously reflects only downloads/installs, not active users, but it's still an impressive figure.

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Of course this count is including downloads from the days when Newsstand was still Google Play Magazines, before it superseded both Magazines and Currents as Google's de facto news-and-magazine reader.

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AnandTech Posts Side-By-Side NAND Performance For Nexus 6 Encrypted Vs. Unencrypted - It's Not Pretty

As many of you doubtless know by now, Google's first Android 5.0 devices ship with full-disk encryption enabled out of the box - encryption that can't be disabled without flashing a new ROM to the device. We've heard from at least one source that this encryption shouldn't really affect on-device performance noticeably, but new benchmarks from Anandtech seem to suggest otherwise.

The heavily tech-focused review and news site didn't publish storage benchmarks for the Nexus 6 in their review, because the app used - Androbench - was deemed to be producing inaccurate results on Lollipop devices (and it definitely is).

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Sony SmartWatch 3 Review: Excellent Battery Life, Acceptable Design

Sony was already an experienced veteran of the smartwatch market when Android Wear was announced. Of course, I don't mean that they were experienced selling them—oh, goodness no. Sony sure did make smartwatches, though. When asked if there would be an Android Wear device in Sony's portfolio, the company said it would continue to do its own thing. Well, that didn't last long. The SmartWatch 3 is essentially a beefed up version of Sony's past smartwatches running Android Wear, and that could make it a potent competitor in the burgeoning wearable wars.

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Sprint Galaxy S5 Android 4.4.4 OTA Appears To Actually Really Be Rolling Out This Time

While Verizon rather weirdly got this OTA well before any of the other major carriers over 2 months ago, Sprint is finally officially announcing that its Galaxy S5 will be receiving the update to Android 4.4.4 starting today.

Seven weeks ago, Samsung jumped the gun and announced that the Sprint version would be getting 4.4.4, and its own update site further alleged that the OTA had gone live way back at the end of September.

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AT&T Galaxy Note 3 Getting Android 4.4.4 OTA, Adds Knox 2.0, Kids Mode, Side Sync 3.0, Updated Bloatware

If you're the owner of a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 for AT&T, you should be getting your Android 4.4.4 OTA update starting today. This will bring you up from Android 4.4.2, and Samsung has packed in a few extras with this 459MB OTA, as well. Namely: Kid mode, SideSync 3.0, Knox 2.0, virtual tour mode in the camera app, and some updated AT&T bloatware.

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The Uber app has been added to the list of things-AT&T-won't-let-you-uninstall, and I imagine there are a boatload of bug-fixes and the standard exploit patches you would expect in an OTA of this magnitude.

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Verizon Launches LTE-Equipped LG G Pad 7.0 And 10.1 With Temporary Promo Prices Of $49.99 And $199.99 On Contract

Big Red has just announced a pair of (kind of) budget-friendly tablets with LTE just in time for the holidays. So why not give someone the gift of a two-year mobile data contract? Well, maybe you should ask first. At any rate, you can get the LG G Pad 7.0 and 10.1 for $49.99 and $199.99 with a new contract, but these are temporary promo prices.

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[APK Teardown] Google Play Services 6.5 Adds Android Auto, Smart Profiles, Lockbox, Kid Accounts, And Expands On The Mysterious Firmware Updater

Since the launch of Android 5.0 last month, the sheer number of app updates has been magnificent – and downright overwhelming. Believe it or not, most of the new versions haven't done much more than add Lollipop support and splash a fresh coat of Materialized paint on the UIs. Seriously, we've been checking. This isn't entirely a bad thing, as it's giving me time to work on some other projects...

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Sprint Drops On-Contract Nexus 6 Price To $249, Will Issue Refunds To Those Who Ordered At $299

Sprint has lowered the price of its on-contract Nexus 6 from $299.99 to $249.99. This brings the carrier's asking price in line with AT&T, who previously sold a near identical version for $50 less. The full cost of the phone has also dropped down to $648, making Sprint's version one dollar cheaper than what you find on Google Play.

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This comes as good news to future Sprint customers, who can now save themselves the potential headache of buying from another carrier without having to fork over extra money (ignoring all the extra moolah it takes to sign a two-year contract in the long run versus paying for a phone outright, an option that isn't actually available yet on the site).

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Google Opens Up Merchant Support To China, Allowing Developers To Distribute Apps In 130+ Countries (But Not China)

In an interesting bit of news this evening, it looks like Google has opened up merchant support to China, allowing developers to distribute free or paid apps, in-app purchases, and subscriptions in over 130 countries.

The news comes in a post to Google's official Android Developers blog, which goes on to explain that Chinese developers distributing paid apps through the Play Store will receive payment via wire transfer to a Chinese bank account in USD.

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AT&T's Nexus 6 Does Indeed Have The Globe On The Back, Plus A Globe And Jingle On The Boot Screen, Because AT&T

I wish I was kidding, but I'm not. Thanks to posts from XDA forum members ald9351 and HCdroid, we now know that the picture AT&T posted with a globe on the back of the device was not just the work of an overzealous graphic artist. Here she is in all her glory misery.

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To "boot" (pun intended), Big Blue has put its logo and jingle on the boot screen (displaying for a few seconds before the stock Android boot animation).

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