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Google releases Toontastic 3D, a digital puppet theater for kids to create and animate their own stories [APK Download]

LaunchPad Toys, an educational content app developer, was acquired by Google back in February of 2015, and one result of that acquisition is Toontastic 3D, a more animated version of the developer's loved and applauded Toontastic (check those Common Sense ratings).

The app is described by Google as a "digital puppet theater," but that's only scratching the surface. Kids can grab one of the many characters and settings provided, move them around, add a song, record their voice for dialogue, and generate a 3D video to keep and re-watch on their phone. And that's not all. There are 3D drawing tools to design characters from scratch, an option to add yourself or friends to the story by importing images, soundtracks, three different story arcs (short story, classic, and science report), and more.

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The HTC U Ultra and U Play showcase a new design direction, both launching in early 2017

HTC has been lagging behind its competitors for years, despite some fantastic hardware and critical acclaim. So for 2017 the company is going in a completely new design direction, dumping the aluminum unibody phones it's become known for and shifting to a more generic glass front and back. The first products displaying this new direction are the HTC U Ultra, the new flagship phone, and the U Play, a mid-range model. They'll both go on sale later this year.

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Adobe's voice-controlled photo editor concept is the good kind of crazy

Photoshop and other Adobe programs are big, complicated, and expensive, the domain of professional graphic designers and photographers. Not everyone can handle them - not even their toned-down "Elements" versions - but Adobe would very much like for everyone to still give them some money. To that end, the company has introduced a concept for what it calls "intelligent digital assistant photo editing." It's a voice-controlled photo editor, and it's kind of insane - check the video below to see what I mean.

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Netgear Arlo Pro review: Great at a few things, but just okay at the rest

Consumer security cameras have become a huge product category in the last couple year with the likes of Google, FLIR, and Logitech taking a swing at home monitoring. Your options are greatly reduced if you need a camera that operates for long stretches on battery or in the great outdoors. This is something Netgear has attempted to address with its Arlo security cameras. The new Arlo Pro adds a few features to the lineup, bringing it to parity with standard wired cameras. However, the wireless aspect means you'll have to make some compromises.

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Ubisoft's disturbing equine fetish continues with Horse Adventure: Tale of Etria

Someone at Ubisoft really loves horses. Possibly to a creepy and/or illegal-in-most-jurisdictions degree. In 2014 the publisher released a mobile version of Howrse, a sort of horse-themed management/pirate math game. Then in 2015 they brought us Horse Haven Adventures, which may or may not be about a demonic princess riding the mythical Mares of Diomedes across a defeated and despoiled Earth. Now they're back with Horse Adventure: Tale of Estria, a third horse-themed game seemingly unconnected to the other two.

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David's CES 2017 post-mortem: "Just add Wi-Fi"

2017 marked my sixth consecutive attendance at the world's largest technology event, and for the sixth year, I left feeling like phones weren't really a very important part of it all. I have come to accept that's just what CES has become, especially given it sits in the shadow of the much more mobile-focused Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona, which is happening about seven weeks from now. But before we start looking ahead, let's talk about what happened last week.

CES has always been a proving ground for bold ideas from companies big and small. In 2017, the bold move is to take normal products that consumers use and smartify them.

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[Update: Available to all] Google May Be Rolling Out A "Show Installed Apps" Toggle In Play Store As Part Of New "Top Charts" Layout

For years, I have longed for the ability to remove apps I already have from results or lists in the Play Store (even back when it was the Android Market). It seems Google is finally, really testing such a feature according to screenshots we've received from a tipster. The current implementation of the "Show installed apps" toggle only appears in app lists, not search results, as far as we can tell.

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Google Assistant on Android TV supports continuous conversation mode

By far one of the most annoying aspects of Google Now and Assistant is that you have to speak "OK Google," before every command. Even though Now and Assistant can continue conversations based on context (for example, you can follow up "Who is the president?" with "How old is he?"), you still have to say "OK Google" before asking anything.

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[Update: It's official] Promotional video for new Nokia Android phone leaked, possibly the Nokia D1/Nokia 6

The once-great phone giant Nokia sold its smartphone business to Microsoft back in 2013, and later began licensing the Nokia name to various Chinese companies. Nokia previously announced its return to smartphones last month, and now a promotional video for one of the company's upcoming Android-powered phones has leaked.

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Best of CES 2017: The best things we saw at CES this year

This year's CES has a couple more days yet to go, but the announcements for the show have settled out, and we probably won't be seeing any more big news from the world's largest technology conference. As such, we're about to head out ourselves from Las Vegas, and we're leaving you with some of our favorite technology announced this year. Without further ado, these are Android Police's picks for the Best of CES in 2017. (Presented in no particular order.)

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