Android Police

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Sphero's Star Wars Force Band lets you control BB-8 using motion gestures

The Force Awakens is approaching a year old, but by Star Wars standards, the merchandising is only just beginning. A particularly new offering is the Star Wars Force Band, which lets you control Sphero's tiny BB-8 droid that has been rolling around since the film hit theaters. But instead of doing so using an on-screen interface, you use the Force.

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Flipboard reaches 500 Million installs on the Play Store

I don't "read" news anymore. If you saw what my Gmail inbox looks like every morning, you'd understand why reading something, anything really, other than the 300 or so emails we get at Android Police every day is a bit of an optimistic dream that I stopped entertaining a long time ago. I do listen to news though, in the form of podcasts that I've cherry-picked to my preferences and that I enjoy while driving or walking.

Back when I did read the news though, Flipboard was something I liked. It had a beautiful magazine-style approach, interesting articles and curated collections, and a large user base, which is crucial when your whole news network relies on user interactions and content too.

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InBrief
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The latest versions of Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides allow you to restore deleted files

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Google launches new central company blog, 'The Keyword'

If you click the source links at most of our posts about Google products, you might notice there is a lot of Google blogs. Almost every Google product has its own blog - Android, Gmail, YouTube, ChromeGoogle Fiber, you name it. I think Google finally realized the need to consolidate, and has created 'The Keyword.'

The Keyword replaces the former Google company blog (googleblog.blogspot.com), which has been mirrored by the Internet Archive if you want to compare. The blog is a mix of product announcements and coverage of various events. In the official announcement post, Google says The Keyword combines content from 19 other blogs - but doesn't say which ones.

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Unity game engine now supports Vulkan rendering on Android

Unity, if you're not familiar with game development, is a popular cross-platform game engine. Although Unity games can most often be found on PC and consoles, Android games utilizing the engine include Crossy Road, Monument Valley, Lara Croft: Relic Run, and more. Today Unity has announced the Vulkan Renderer Preview, finally allowing developers to use the Vulkan API with their games.

The Vulkan API (not to be confused with the Star Trek planet Vulcan) has been hyped to the moon and back in the gaming industry recently, and for good reason. Based on AMD's Mantle API, it is a new graphics API designed to be cross-platform (much like Unity) and have a low overhead.

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Automatic Pro review: A simple and reliable - but limited - way to analyze your driving

Automatic is a company that makes small plastic dongles that plug into your vehicle's OBDII port to analyze your driving style and efficiency in the cloud through an app and web interface. We reviewed the original Automatic some time ago. Based on Bertel's experience, I found the original product a bit impractical for one reason: Bluetooth. I don't like Bluetooth. Bluetooth is unreliable, slow, buggy, and finicky in general. The idea of having to sync vehicle data from a dongle over a Bluetooth connection had zero appeal to me - I wanted something that was utterly seamless. And now, Automatic has done just that with the new Automatic Pro.

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PSA: Today's update to the Oculus VR app on Samsung phones is causing heavy battery drain

Those of you with a newer Samsung phone might want to take a peek at the battery usage today. Many users are reporting substantial battery drain after an update to the Oculus VR app. The only fix right now appears to be completely uninstalling the app.

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Google Drive adds Quick Access feature, guesses what file you might want

Google Drive has recently added an enhanced search and regular expressions support, but those features have not yet made their way to the mobile apps. Now the Android application exclusively has a new feature, simply called Quick Access. This uses machine learning to predict what documents you are most likely to open, based on your Drive activity and recurring patterns. Google claims this "saves 50 percent off the average time it takes to get to the right file by eliminating the need to search for it."

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Google officially rebrands 'Google for Work' as 'Google Cloud' and 'Google Apps for Work' as 'G Suite'

After a report from The Information a few days ago claiming that Google would be ditching the Google for Work brand today, Google has officially announced that their business-oriented service will now simply be called Google Cloud.

This actually isn't the first time the platform is being rebranded — you may recall it used to be called Google Apps for Your Domain a few years back. Obviously, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but it's possible Google may be targeting a wider audience by deemphasizing the 'work' aspect from the name.

One of the more important components of Google Cloud is the collection of apps that make up Google Apps for Work, including Gmail, Calendar, Drive, and a handful of other popular products.

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Android Wear 2.0 dev preview 3 images are ready to download

Are you a developer? What about curious and somewhat brave? If either of those sound right, you can grab the new Android Wear 2.0 developer preview 3 images right now. These images include all the features Google announced as part of its new extended road map, which includes a delay into early 2017 for Wear 2.0.

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