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[Update: Now available] Dead Zebra releases Android Mini special edition for Year of the Dog

If you're an Android fan, which is not that far a stretch considering you're reading this, you've probably looked at Dead Zebra's Android Mini figurines and wished you had all the money to buy every single one. And now there's a new one for you to fawn over and maybe make you click that purchase button: a special edition Chinese New Year one for the Year of the Dog.

More than last year's Golden Rooster, the design is very reminiscent of Chinese culture and that bright red is gorgeous to look at. The figurine measures in at 3" in height and has antennae in the shape of dog ears plus a gold painted medallion collar, and it comes in a box with reflective gold foil.

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Long Hat House's metroidvania 'Dandara' is officially out on Android

The beauty of Long Hat House's Dandara lies in its controls. Since it exists as a metroidvania title that includes plenty of platforming gameplay, the use of a unique shooting mechanic for its movement makes it that much more palatable on touchscreen devices. It's refreshing how well this mechanic lends itself to mobile-centric gaming thanks to how precise your movements can be. And honestly, it allows Dandara's level design and gameplay to shine just as much as they would on any other platform.

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Google Play Services 12.2.09 appears to fix Android's 'Check for update' button [APK Download]

For the longest time, we've suspected that Android's "Check for update" does nothing to actually get you the update. If you were in the group that is supposed to receive the update, the button simply sped up the process instead of waiting for the next automatic check to reveal it, but if there was an update and you weren't in the group, it did nothing to push you forward in the waiting line. Then in September, we were promised that manually pushing the button on Nexus and Pixel devices will get you an available update even when a passive background check wouldn't, and it worked momentarily.

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30 new and notable Android games from the last week (1/31/18 - 2/6/18)

Welcome to the roundup of the best new Android games that went live in the Play Store or were spotted by us in the previous week or so.

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[Update: Appears to be live] 'Brand new version' of Google+ for Android will be released soon

Google+ may have fallen off the radar for most people, but it's actually been improving a lot over the last year. The social network used to have a bit of a problem with spam, but Google's been all-out in providing new tools for moderating content. From our vantage, it seems to be making a difference, and now Google is investing even more development into the platform. Leo Deegan, the engineering manager for Google+, has just announced that the company will soon release a "brand new version" of the app. Though it might look and behave similarly, expect significant changes under the hood.

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Android KTX is an extension library for writing shorter and cleaner Android code in Kotlin

As developers, it's almost always desirable to be able to write shorter and more readable code without sacrificing performance, stability, or control. Many Android devs have adopted Kotlin to replace Java because it delivers on those points and many others. Even though Kotlin's syntax and language features make it well-suited to Android, it's still not designed specifically for Android, so there are plenty of platform-specific patterns that require a lot of boilerplate code. To that end, a new extension library called Android KTX was released in preview form today with a focus on wrapping a lot of that boilerplate code.

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Android 8.0 Oreo rolling out to Sony Xperia X and X Compact

Sony has started rolling out an update to Android 8.0 Oreo to its Xperia X and Xperia X Compact phones. The version has build number 34.4.A.0.364 and is a little over one gigabyte to download.

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February 2018 Android platform distribution: Oreo breaks 1% usage and Nougat is finally on top

Android 8.0 has been a low burn since its release last fall. It's been gaining a tenth of a percent here and there on the distribution charts, and Android 8.1 just appeared last month. This month, there's a slightly larger bump that finally pushed the latest and greatest Android up over 1%.

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Lost Socks: Naughty Brothers is a challenging auto-running platformer that just released for Android

The developer Nerf-Game has finally released its challenging 2D auto-running platformer Lost Socks: Naughty Brothers on the Google Play Store. It has been two years since the original iOS release, and in that time it has changed from a premium game to a free-to-play title. Despite the shift in monetization the challenging gameplay and goofy story are just as great as ever.

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12 new and notable Android apps from the last week (1/30/18 - 2/5/18)

Welcome to the roundup of the best new Android applications that went live in the Play Store or were spotted by us in the previous week or so.

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