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Apps/Games

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Android Pay v1.5 prepares to show new users where to find NFC on their phones and might be experimenting with the secure element again [APK Teardown]

There are a lot of factors playing into the success and failure of mobile payment systems. Perhaps the most challenging issue for Android Pay to overcome isn't the slow adoption of compatible payment terminals or the general lack of awareness about contactless payments, it's the confusion people experience once they decide to try it. While many users are nervous simply because they don't know what to expect, some others are confronted with an even bigger challenge: they have no idea where the NFC antenna is on their phone. The Android Pay app has been progressively adding more informative screens to help with educating users about tap-and-go payments, and now evidence from a teardown suggests Google will soon teach users what part of the phone to actually tap with.

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Mars: Mars is a delightful low-poly platformer mixed with an endless runner

NASA has plans in place to send astronauts to Mars in the next few decades. When they get there, I imagine it'll be pretty much exactly like Mars: Mars. This game takes place on Mars as you hop between platforms, exploring the surface, taking selfies (even Curiosity does it), and bringing new explorers to the planet.

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InBrief
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Google TalkBack gets a new icon as v5.0 rolls out more widely

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Dropsy from Devolver Digital is now live in the Play Store with hugs for all

To call Dropsy a weird game would be a profound understatement—it's bizarre in the extreme. After a suspicious circus fire, Dropsy the clown embarks on a quest to clear his name and get some hugs. This game really emphasizes the hugs. It's a classic point-and-click game, but it's unlike anything I've seen before.

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Logitech POP is the button that controls your smart home

A smart home is every geek's dream, so it's great to see the idea becoming more and more of a reality, with Nest, Alexa, Google Assistant (soon), and Apple's HomeKit making our homes smarter and automated. Accessory maker Logitech, which already has the Harmony Remote, is adding to its range with the Logitech POP button and accompanying app.

The POP can control a lot of devices, from Phillips Hue lightbulbs to Sonos speakers, to door locks and blinds, plus of course the Harmony platform. Each button can be programmed with three individual commands which can then do a host of different things to control your home.

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Spotify introduces new Gaming category with playlists and soundtracks from your favorite games

I'm not an avid gamer: puzzles, math games, brain teasers, anything that requires a bit of thinking and doesn't involve plot twists, that's my jam. But I know a lot of people who are taken by games, whether classics or new releases, and I know that many of them are completely fascinated by the music and soundtracks that accompany these games.

That's the category of players that Spotify is catering to with its latest Gaming category addition. Showing up today in Browse on mobile, desktop, and web, Gaming will include plenty of curated playlists like Power GamingRock Gaming, and even Catch 'Em All, as well as guest playlists from other Spotify listeners and avid gamers.

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Aviary Photo Editor adds more fonts, transform tool, and option to clone effects between photos

If I had a dime for every photo editor I come across on Android, I'm sure I'd easily have a couple of thousand bucks by now. But Aviary is slightly different. It was acquired by Adobe in 2014 because of its large selection of filters and effects, and the company has been enhancing it since: Material Design, free and premium features, and so on. The latest updated to version 4.8.0 brings 3 new interesting features and improves on an existing one.

First, there are more font options for text layers in Aviary, courtesy of Adobe Typekit. So expect to see more high quality typographies on photos edited within the app.

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PSA: The new Bluetooth-enabled Xbox One controller works with Android... but not very well

The Xbox 360 controller has been the de facto standard for years (NVIDIA copied it almost exactly for the SHIELD line), and the Xbox One has a refined and streamlined version of that design. So when Microsoft announced that a shiny new revision of the Xbox One controller would not only let you choose your colors and engraving Moto Maker-style, but also include a Bluetooth connection for easy dongle-free pairing with PCs, I couldn't help but get excited. Might Android gamers finally get access to the best controller around without any USB frippery or root-enabled work-arounds?

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One Night in Karazhan, Hearthstone’s latest expansion, is out

While perhaps my own involvement with Blizzard Entertainment’s Hearthstone has waned in recent months, due in no small part to other games that have nabbed my attention, the online card-based arena battle game is no less extremely popular. When Blizzard released the large patch 6.0.0.13921 on August 9, quite a few players began to eagerly await the latest single-player expansion that releases on all platforms today.

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[APK Download] Chrome for Android Beta 53 enables the new Payment Request API, allows muted video to auto-play

There are some neat things coming to Chrome in the future, and if you'd like to test them out before everyone else, you're probably already using either the Beta or the Dev version of the Android app. Keep an eye on the former: it's getting some of said features right now. The most interesting addition in version 53 is a new API for quickly checking out on mobile online purchases. It's sort of like the streamlined payment options already offered by PayPal and Visa, but it works with any payment system and it's built into the browser. Check it out in the video below:

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