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5

OnePlus Zen Mode gets sleep-motivating ZZZen challenge and new rewards

After recently receiving some additional timer settings, OnePlus’ Zen Mode app is picking up a set of challenges and a fresh reward system, as part of an update to version 1.4. With its new 21-day ZZZen challenge, the Chinese company wants you to avoid blinding yourself with a smartphone screen before hitting the bed.

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31

Pixel 4 live wallpapers ported to other phones [APK Download]

Just like the Pixel 3 last year, the Pixel 4 has already been leaked into oblivion, so we have a clear picture of the device's hardware and software more than two weeks prior to the official unveiling. And just like the Pixel 3, the Pixel 4 comes with a collection of live wallpapers that are unfortunately only functional on the new phone itself. XDA Developers forum member Pranav Pandey took it upon himself to port these backdrops so you can install them on any ARM 64 device running Android 7 or higher.

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16

Firefox Preview 2.0 adds search widget and playback control notifications [APK Download]

As you may know by now, Mozilla has halted development of the stable Firefox release on Android, only adding security patches at the moment. The company is instead focusing on its next-generation browser, Firefox Preview, slated to replace its aging counterpart before the end of this year. A big update to version 2.0 adds a number of features to the new browser, like a search widget, a notification with audio/video playback controls, and various usability enhancements. Add-ons are not yet available, sadly.

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10

WhatsApp Beta now lets you completely hide muted status updates from view

Just like almost any other app these days, WhatsApp offers status updates eerily similar to Snapchat and Instagram Stories. People who are into this feature have had the possibility to mute certain contacts (such as their colleagues) for quite some time already. However, muted updates would still show up in the status tab, greyed out but within a separate section below all others. The latest beta (version 2.19.260) is looking to change that with an option that lets you hide muted stories altogether.

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5

[Update: APK Download] ActionDash v5.0 update introduces Fresh Start feature and additional Focus Mode options

ActionDash comes from the same dev who brought us Action Launcher, and the latest update to the Digital Wellbeing add-on bumps it up to version 5.0 with a couple of new features. The most intriguing of the new additions is Fresh Start, which kicks you back to the launcher homescreen after you've locked your phone while in another app. There are also some new focus mode options to play with.

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8

BBC iPlayer Radio shutdown begins, get the BBC Sounds app to continue listening [APK Download]

Last summer, The Beeb (as it's affectionately known on my side of the pond) launched a new app for all of its various audio content, inventively called BBC Sounds. At that point, we knew the BBC iPlayer Radio app's days were numbered, but now the time has finally come to say goodbye to what many people still believe is the superior app.

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13

Update Notes for Gboard, YouTube, Android Auto, and more (Sept 14, 2019)

Every week, I examine somewhere in the neighborhood of a hundred app updates while looking for changes. The most interesting things turn into APK Teardowns or Download posts. Many of the remaining updates are unremarkable, amounting to a few bug fixes, routine updates to libraries, or even just pixel-level adjustments to layouts and images. However, there are usually a few updates that land somewhere in between. I don't want to spam readers with dozens of short posts, but I hate to ignore things that people might want to know about, so I'm going to wrap up the leftovers for a little weekend reading and call it Update Notes.

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110

[Update: Rolling out again] Google app getting full dark mode for Search, Assistant, and in-app Discover feed [APK Download]

About a month ago, the Google app started showing early signs of a dark mode implementation, but users who had the design only saw it interspersed throughout the interface in some sort of chimera mode that mixed white elements, dark ones, and illegible text in many instances. Now, the proper dark mode is showing up for some users, with the entire interface dipped into darkness, from the entire Google app to Assistant and all of its settings.

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46

Google Home app adds handy button to call your Smart Display at home

If you're out and about and want to talk to someone at home, you can pick from several options. If you own a Google Assistant Smart Display — be it a Nest Hub, a Lenovo Smart Display, JBL Link View, or LG ThinQ View — you get one more possibility: You can video call your display to have a face-to-face chat. Although that feature has been available for a year, it wasn't well known, so Google has been trying to better surface it to users. That's why it's now one of the top shortcuts in the Home app.

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18

[Update: Spanish and Portuguese] Google's Bolo helps children read and understand English and Hindi

You can't underestimate the benefits of a good education, and one of the first pillars of that is the ability to read. When I travelled to Nepal a couple of months ago, I was astonished by how thirsty for learning children in rural areas are. In the afternoon, many were being dropped off by their bus miles away from any village and had to (literally) trek up hills to get back home. In the morning, many could be seen carrying their backpacks and walking for at least half an hour or more just to get to their school or bus. And us privileged folks complain about waking up early to catch the bus that picks us up right from our doorstep!

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