15 Christmas-themed Android apps, games, live wallpapers, and watch faces to get you in the holiday spirit

With Christmas right around the corner, I thought it would be prudent to put together a list of apps, games, live wallpapers, and watch faces that are appropriately holiday-themed. There are a total of 15 Play Store listings within this list, and each one has been hand-picked. So if you are looking for some great Android-specific apps with a Christmas theme, you have clicked on the right listicle.

Apps

Google Santa Tracker

Okay, so Google Santa Tracker is pretty much a prerequisite at this point for any Christmas-themed list for Android.

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15 Christmas-themed Android apps, games, live wallpapers, and watch faces to get you in the holiday spirit was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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Google discontinuing support for Tango

Project Tango, later just called Tango, was an augmented reality system designed for mobile use. You could buy tablets and even phones supporting the technology, though the tech never really went mainstream (it was used by researchers).

I use the word “was” because Google has announced that support for Tango is being shut down on March 1 of 2018. This is due to Google ARCore replacing it as Google’s new AR system. Hopefully this one will actually take off.


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Samsung may announce Galaxy S9 in February

Competition is as strong as ever in the flagship smartphone market. The biggest release of this year has arguably been the iPhone X, which has been a huge departure from the norm for Apple. While we can sit here all day and tell people how Android devices have had the new iPhone X features years ago, people are understandably excited about a new and unique Apple product.

In the face of this competition, Samsung may be announcing the Galaxy S9 line a month early. The company is said to be announcing the device in February and even launch it as early as March. This would bring the new devices to the market sooner to take some sales away from Apple.

The lineup is said to be pretty similar to this year’s Galaxy S8 and S8+ but with the expected upgrades and a new camera system. It would make sense to keep a similar look as last year rather than a full revamp, but a completely new device may compete better against the iPhone X.

If the device lineup is launched early, we only hope that no aspect will be rushed. We don’t want a repeat of the Note 7.


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[Update: Official changelog posted] Gboard v6.8 adds a handwriting keyboard and enlarges emoji, hints at new theme engine, Motion Stills integration, and more [APK Teardown]

As Cyber Monday was wearing down, Google was already winding up some app updates. A new version of Gboard began rolling out late in the afternoon, and with it comes the long-anticipated handwriting support, meaning we can finally uninstall the separate handwriting keyboard. There are also some tweaks to the emoji picker. As we look to the teardown, there are signs of a new theme system with a few new options for more visual control, a new autospace feature, integration with the Motion Stills app, and more.

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[Update: Official changelog posted] Gboard v6.8 adds a handwriting keyboard and enlarges emoji, hints at new theme engine, Motion Stills integration, and more [APK Teardown] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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BlackBerry Priv no longer receiving monthly updates

Two years ago, BlackBerry made a new foray into smartphones with the PRIV, its first Android-powered smartphone. Part of the PRIV’s selling point was a guarantee of 24 months of security updates. The PRIV has now passed the 24 month-mark and BlackBerry has confirmed that it will no longer be issuing monthly security updates. The company will, however, continue to monitor the PRIV’s security situation and will update the device if any critical security issues arise.

The PRIV is designed in such a way that it features security protection from the initial construction of the hardware, and BlackBerry has created a layered system that should protect the PRIV from most, if not all, threats. The company has even stated that many of its monthly security updates weren’t necessary because the PRIV’s built-in protection kept it secure from many of the threats that were being resolved.

For PRIV owners, BlackBerry is working on a trade-up program to upgrade to a KeyOne or Motion, so stay tuned for more details in the coming months.


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Google Maps can now let you know when to get off your train or bus

Traveling on a bus or train can make getting from one point to another pretty easy, but if you miss your stop, it can get very annoying. Google Maps is aiming to alleviate that issue.

Google has announced that Google Maps has been updated to notify users when they need to get off public transit like a bus or train. On top of that, Google Maps will use departure times, estimated time of arrival, and notifications to make sure that you know exactly when you need to get off your train or bus, whether that’s to transfer to another mode of public transportation or when you reach your destination.

Google Maps’s new step-by-step directions are similar to what’s already available while driving, walking, or biking, so it’s a nice addition for public transportation.

The new feature is now available for Google Maps users on Android.


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Top 10 Android app updates this week: Plex, Kahoot!

Welcome back to our weekly Top 10 Android App Updates column, where we take a look at the most frequently upgraded apps for the week. We’ve found that one of the best ways to discover useful apps is to find the ones that are actually being updated by the developers rather than selecting the apps with the most installs. As in the past, we’re going to filter out minor updates for the super-popular apps that have over 10 million installs, but we’ll make exceptions for apps that have had significant updates. We hope you enjoy this weekly feature and that you discover some apps that end up being useful.

CBS Sports App - Version 9.6.2

 

CBS Sports

What’s new in this version:

  • NEW Team Schedules. 
  • More TV info, better calendar interface and easier to use.
  • European Soccer schedules now show League and Champions League/Europa Cup games.

 

Samsung Pay – Version 2.8.11

 

Samsung Pay

What’s new in this version:

  • Online shopping deals are now available.
  • Follow your favorite brands to get notified when there are new deals.
  • Save new gift cards directly from web browsers to Samsung Pay.
  • Use promo code ‘SIGNUP’ before your 1st purchase to earn $5 in rewards.

 

Amazon Music - Version 7.3.8

 

Amazon Music

What’s new in this version:

  • Introducing Amazon Music Unlimited: Listen to tens of millions of songs, anywhere, anytime.
  • Chromecast: You can now select music in our app, and have the music play on your Chromecast devices. [US, UK, DE, FR, IT, ES & JP]
  • The Amazon Music app now features Alexa. Tap the new “Alexa” button and ask Alexa to play new music, play a song by its lyrics, play work-out music, or many other Alexa supported commands or questions, all from within the
  • App (available on Android 5.0+). [US, UK and DE]

 

Plex for Android – Version 6.10.2

 

Plex for Android

What’s new in this version:

  • Live: support for seeking back into an on-going recording
  • Local playback: support external ASS/SSA subtitles.
  • [Mobile] News: adds browse by category/channel screen.

 

Adobe Lightroom – Version 3.2.1

 

Adobe Lightroom

What’s new in this version:

  • General stability improvement
  • New Auto Settings: Auto has been completely reworked to create better results, every time. Using an advanced neural network powered by Adobe Sensei, new Auto Settings creates a better photo
  • App Shortcuts: For Android Nougat and later devices, tap and hold on the app icon to quickly launch the app into popular modes
  • More control on managing storage

 

Action Launcher - Version 32.0.0

 

Action Launcher Pixel

What’s new in this version:

  • App uses Pixel Launcher style look & feel by default.
  • Improved Android 8.1 support.
  • Bug fixes & optimizations.

 

Sync for reddit - Version 15.1.0

 

Sync for Reddit

What’s new in this version:

  • Lots of video and GIF playback fixes!
  • Added support for the cake day icon in the main post list and comments page
  • Added quick action buttons (open externally, share & copy) when peeking an image
  • Added additional info to the post header card
  • Set a new reddit video icon

 

Kahoot! - Version 2.1.3.3

 

Kahoot

What’s new in this version:

  • Get in the festive mood with our winter and holiday kahoots
  • Search was improved to give you more relevant results

 

PhotoScan by Google Photos - Version varies

 

PhotoScan

What’s new in this version:

  • Easier capture and save
  • Scanned photos are saved to your device on capture.
  • Improved corner editor

 

SoundCloud - Version 2017.11.30

 

SoundCloud

What’s new in this version:

  • Upload: This brand new discovery feature on SoundCloud brings you a list of the freshest new music uploaded to the platform, personalized to your taste on a daily basis.
  • With a constantly expanding mix of music uploaded to SoundCloud every day, we’ve made it easier to filter through it all and find tracks you’re bound to love. 

 


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Chase Freedom cardmembers can get 5% cash back on mobile wallet purchases, including Android Pay, in Q1 2018

If you have a Chase Freedom credit card and you like free money, you will want to take advantage of their latest quarterly cash back offer. In addition to some of their usual categories of bonus points purchases — in this case, gas stations and cable/internet service — any purchases via mobile wallets will earn you 5% cash back.

As always, there is some fine print but I think you'll find it to be mostly positive.

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Chase Freedom cardmembers can get 5% cash back on mobile wallet purchases, including Android Pay, in Q1 2018 was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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