28 temporarily free and 90 on-sale apps and games for Monday

Don't miss out on the sales for Slayaway Camp, Spirit HD, and Baldur's Gate

Welcome to Monday, everyone. We have a large roundup of sales to share with everyone today, so we also have more than a few standouts worth pointing to. The fantastic horror-based puzzle adventure game Slayaway Camp is currently on sale for half-off along with the colorful arcade gamer Spirit HD and the deep CRPG Baldur's Gate. As always, I've highlighted all of the interesting titles in bold to make discovery easier.

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28 temporarily free and 90 on-sale apps and games for Monday was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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Explore Kids Space: A way to nurture your kid's curiosity

Parents have told us that they’re constantly wrestling with the role of technology in their children’s lives, and this is especially true for the many families who are spending more time at home. But kids are natural explorers and when they have access to great content, it can be a magical experience--they can read up on their favorite dinosaur, watch videos on how to bake a treat or discover new hobbies.


Family Link was created and built into our core products to give parents the tools they need to stay involved and help manage their child’s online experiences, from setting screen time limits to content safety filters, privacy controls and more. But we’ve heard that parents want more than just parental controls; with so much content out there, they also need help finding things that are enriching and engaging for their kids. To help meet this request, we took a first step with the launch of a new kids tab in Google Play that helps parents easily find and pick “teacher-approved” apps for their kids.


Today, we’re continuing to build upon these efforts with Google Kids Space, a new kids mode on select Android tablets that features apps, books and videos for your kids to explore, learn and have fun.* Kids Space will be available globally on certain Lenovo™ tablets first, including the new Lenovo Smart Tab M10 HD Gen 2, and will be coming to more Android tablets soon.†


Designed for nurturing your kid’s curiosity and creativity

Kids Space is designed with your kid at the center of the experience and made for them to become explorers of the things they love. By selecting their interests, your kids will see new and engaging content to read, play and make. Kids can even customize their experience by creating their own character.

Recommended library of free books, apps and videos 

To evaluate and select “teacher-approved” apps in Google Play, we worked with academic experts and children’s education specialists to define rubrics. For Kids Space, we’ve built on that foundation and applied our quality standard to an ever-expanding library of apps and books in the Play and Read tabs. We worked with top publishers to make popular children’s books free of charge, and have over 400 free books available in the U.S. alone. In the Watch and Make tabs, your kids can view creative and fun videos from YouTube Kids that are engaging and encourage off-screen activities. And if you’re looking to customize even more, parents can download additional content from Google Play.

Tabs.gif

Access content that’s age-appropriate, thoughtfully designed and fun or inspiring. 

Join us in our journey as we continue to create productive and healthy experiences for kids that adapt to the evolving world and needs of your family.


* Kids Space requires a Google Account for your child. Parental controls require the Family Link app on a supported Android, Chromebook, or iOS device. Books and video content not available in all regions. Video content subject to availability of YouTube Kids app. Books content requires the Play Books app. Availability of apps, books and video content may change without notice.

† Google Assistant not available in Kids Space.


Android Match

Google Maps starts widely displaying traffic lights on Android🚦

It'll come in handy for those who spend more time looking at their screen than at the road

Earlier this summer, Google Maps started displaying traffic lights for some users. Although that appeared to be an experimental feature, as none of us at AndroidPolice could get them to show up, they're finally rolling out widely.

Google seems to have rolled out the feature overnight to a wide range of users, if not all, as traffic light icons are now showing up on Google Maps.  The functionality doesn't need to be turned on manually and doesn't require you to activate traffic layers as we initially thought.

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Google Maps starts widely displaying traffic lights on Android🚦 was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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14 new Android games from the week of August 24, 2020

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition, Tom and Jerry: Chase, Tom Clancy's Elite Squad, and more

Welcome to the roundup of the new Android games that went live in the Play Store or were spotted by us in the previous week or so. Today I have Square Enix's bumbled attempt at bringing a Gamecube classic to Android, a slick-looking Tom and Jerry game, and Ubisoft's failed attempt at a collectathon strategy game. So without further ado, here are the new and notable Android games released during the week of August 24, 2020.

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14 new Android games from the week of August 24, 2020 was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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Microsoft Defender for Android arrives on the Play Store

You have to be a company with a Microsoft 365 ES license to use it

It was first reported in February that Microsoft was bringing its Defender anti-virus/anti-malware software to Linux and Android, and now the app has appeared on the Play Store as a software preview. It's only available to enterprise customers with a valid Microsoft 365 ES license, but the app description gives a clear picture of what it's intended for.

According to the Play Store listing, "Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) helps enterprise users stay protected from cyber security threats such as malicious apps, dangerous web sites that may try to steal information from them.

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Microsoft Defender for Android arrives on the Play Store was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

Microsoft Outlook adds option to customize buttons on notifications (APK Download)

Archive, mark as read, or flag emails without opening the app

Microsoft's Outlook email application has seen update after update over the past few months, adding features like photo annotation and audio playback of emails. Now the app has added another incredibly useful function: the ability to customize which actions appear on notifications for new emails.

By default, new mail notifications from Outlook have buttons to delete the message, archive it, or reply. Starting in Outlook v4.2033.2, which is slowly rolling out on the Play Store, there's a new 'Custom actions' section in the app settings for choosing which buttons appear in mail notifications.

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Microsoft Outlook adds option to customize buttons on notifications (APK Download) was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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20 new and notable (and 1 WTF) Android apps from the last two weeks including CocoFax, Google AdMob, and Adobe Account Access (8/16/20 - 8/29/20)

roundup_icon_large

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 two weeks or so. Today's roundup is sponsored by CocoFax, an excellent app for faxing sensitive files. We also have an AdMob app from Google and an Adobe app designed for easier account sign-ins. I've also moved the COVID apps into their own section for easier discovery.

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20 new and notable (and 1 WTF) Android apps from the last two weeks including CocoFax, Google AdMob, and Adobe Account Access (8/16/20 - 8/29/20) was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

Google Pay starts testing NFC-based card payments in India

Only a couple of banks have come on board so far

Google Pay in India (formerly Tez) quickly rose in popularity to become almost synonymous with the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) — the very platform it’s based on. Last September, the company announced plans to expand beyond UPI payments to support tokenized cards, but nothing materialized even months after that initial teaser. It looks like Google Pay India is finally adding credit and debit cards as a supported payment option, though it isn't live for everyone yet.

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Google Pay starts testing NFC-based card payments in India was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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11 Weeks of Android: UI and Compose

Posted by Chris Banes & Nick Butcher

Android

This blog post is part of a weekly series for #11WeeksOfAndroid. Each week we’re diving into a key area of Android so you don’t miss anything. This week, we spotlighted people & identity; here’s a look at what you should know.

The big news: Jetpack Compose Alpha

This week we released the first alpha of Jetpack Compose 🎉, Android’s modern UI toolkit with native access to the platform APIs. Compose combines the power of Kotlin with the reactive programming model to make it easier and faster to build UI. We want your feedback to help us build the APIs that you need in your apps, so now is the time to try it out.

To get you up to speed with Compose, this week we’ve released 4 new codelabs, 7 new samples, new documentation and a podcast from the Compose team. If you prefer videos; we’ve got you covered...

To understand the reactive mindset and how to think about building apps with Compose, check out ‘Thinking in Compose’:

Learn how Jetpack Compose makes Android UI easier by walking through concrete examples from our open-source sample apps in ‘Compose by Example’:

Finally, to understand how Jetpack Compose and View based UIs can co-exist and interact, making it easy to adopt Compose at your own pace, check out ‘Compose for Existing’ apps:

Keyboard (IME) animations

New in Android 11 is the ability for apps to create seamless transitions between the on screen keyboard being opened and closed, as well as a revamped WindowInsets API to enable control of things such as the keyboard (IME). To find out how to add this to your app, slide on over to the video, blog posts and sample app

Material Design Components

We recommend following the Material Design guidelines to ensure that apps operate consistently, that patterns learned in one app can be used in another. Check out our new blog posts on Material Theming (color, type and shape), dark theme and Material’s motion system using the Material Design Components (MDC) library.

Adopting MDC now will prepare your codebase for later adopting Jetpack Compose — it uses the same concepts, design vocabulary and components. It even becomes possible to ease your migration with libraries like the new MDC-Android Compose Theme Adapter which converts an MDC XML theme into a Compose `MaterialTheme`.

If you haven’t already migrated to MDC, then check out our migration guide.

Learning path

If you’re looking for an easy way to pick up the highlights of this week, you can check out the learning pathways. This week we have two pathways for you to go through: the Compose pathway, and the ‘Modern UI’ pathway.

A pathway is an ordered tutorial that allows users to complete a pre-defined module that culminates in a quiz. It may include codelabs, videos, articles and blog posts. A virtual badge is awarded to each user who passes the quiz. Test your knowledge in each pathway to earn a limited edition badge.

Key takeaways

Whether you're building with the current UI toolkit or getting ready for the next generation we hope that the resources that we’ve shared this week help you to create beautiful, engaging UIs that your users will love. Thanks to everyone who tuned in or joined us for the AMA. Follow the Modern UI pathway to learn how to leverage Material Design, animation or the latest Android 11 features. Take the Compose pathway to learn about the future of Android UI development and help shape it with your feedback.

Resources

You can find the entire playlist of #11WeeksOfAndroid video content here, and learn more about each week here. We’ll continue to spotlight new areas each week, so keep an eye out and follow us on Twitter and YouTube. Thanks so much for letting us be a part of this experience with you!


Android Match

Google got rid of its obnoxious App Preview Messages

You probably disabled it right away and forgot about it

There may be effective ways to convince people to use an app, but it seems that Google's App Preview Messages were not one of them. The program, which notified Android users when someone is trying to communicate with an app they haven't installed, is officially deprecated, having never left its early access stage in the 4 years it has existed.

Preview messages first appeared from Google's nth attempt at a server-based chat app, Allo, in 2016 and spread to video counterpart Duo and cloud gallery service Photos in 2018.

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Google got rid of its obnoxious App Preview Messages was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

TuneIn Pro app losing the ability to record live radio

'You're listening to 109 FM The Bummer!'

Media marketing researcher Nielsen claims as of 2019 that 272 million people in the U.S. listen to honest-to-goodness live radio every week one way or another. For some, that means buying the TuneIn Pro app and being able to record programs as they like for later replay. But that ability is about to go away.

The streaming app is notifying Pro users that it will disable in-app audio recording on September 14 in order to comply with licensing and legal restrictions.

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TuneIn Pro app losing the ability to record live radio was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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21 temporarily free and 46 on-sale apps and games for Friday

Don't miss out on the sales for The House of Da Vinci, Football Manager 2020 Mobile, and Hidden Folks

Welcome to Friday, everyone. After a solid sales list this past Wednesday, today's sales roundup offers more than a few noteworthy titles, including the highly-popular escape room game The House of Da Vinci. If you're more a sports fanatic, then the current sale on Football Manager 2020 Mobile may pique your interest. If you prefer relaxing puzzlers, then the stylish hidden object game Hidden Folks is certainly a quality pickup.

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21 temporarily free and 46 on-sale apps and games for Friday was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

Google Duo will soon be on Android TV in beta

Video chat with friends and family on the big screen

We've been using video calls more than ever in the past few months, and probably will continue to for the foreseeable future. It's tough not being able to travel to see your loved ones, but Google is making things a bit easier by announcing beta Android TV support for its Duo video calling service.

Those with Android TVs will soon have the capability to initiate one-on-one and group Duo calls from their television sets.

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Google Duo will soon be on Android TV in beta was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

Marvel Super War is a 5v5 MOBA from NetEase, now available in more regions

South Korea, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand can now play

Marvel Super War is a newly-announced MOBA from NetEase and Marvel Entertainment that's coming to Android and iOS, and it just entered into its first closed beta. The title will feature everyone's favorite heroes and villains from the Marvel universe, and each character will offer a variety of powers that players will be able to utilize in combat.

Gameplay footage from Techzamazing

The gameplay video I've linked above should give people a good idea of what to anticipate from the closed beta of Marvel Super War.

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Marvel Super War is a 5v5 MOBA from NetEase, now available in more regions was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition is finally here, and the wait wasn't worth it

Yet another lazy and overpriced port from Square Enix

We've known since June of 2019 that Square Enix would bring Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition to Android, and after several more announcements, we learned the game would be released on August 27th, 2020. In case you didn't realize, that's today, and so Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition is officially available on the Play Store as a free-to-play release, with cross-platform co-op available to free and paid players alike.

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Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition is finally here, and the wait wasn't worth it was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

Microsoft Teams users are getting the same mysterious 'FCM Messages' notifications that plagued Hangouts

Could be due to a vulnerability in Google's push notification servers

Just a few days ago, Hangouts users saw a number of mysterious "FCM Messages" test notifications, and now Microsoft Teams is exhibiting the same issue. The two incidents are likely linked, as they're connected to a recently published vulnerability in Google's push notification service Firebase Cloud Messaging (hence "FCM Messages"). Ultimately, the messages appear to be harmless (if annoying) for users, so you don't need to worry about the safety of your account or phone.

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Microsoft Teams users are getting the same mysterious 'FCM Messages' notifications that plagued Hangouts was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

Redesigned Google Photos editor is in the works

Jane Wong done did it again

Google appears to be revising the user interface for its editor in Photos, relying less on iconography and more on text. The work-in-progress was first discovered by software blogger Jane Manchun Wong and may be available in testing to select users.

Here's what the UI looks like as Wong has posted it:

A dial of categories appears above the Cancel and Save copy buttons, the first of which is titled Suggestions — presumably showing what vectors the artificial intelligence thinks should be tailored.

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Redesigned Google Photos editor is in the works was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

YouTube TV subscribers can get a 30-day Cinemax free trial

Just make sure to redeem before August 31

If you're still subscribed to YouTube TV in spite of the repeated price hikes (remember when it cost $35/month?), Google has a small consolation prize for you. YouTube TV subscribers can currently get a 30-day trial of Cinemax for free, so long as it's redeemed before the end of the month.

The Cinemax add-on for YouTube TV usually costs $9.99 per month after a seven-day trial, but subscribers can get a 30-day trial on the house by going into the membership section of the YouTube TV settings and enabling Cinemax access.

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YouTube TV subscribers can get a 30-day Cinemax free trial was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

Google Maps now highlights your Saved places with carousels of pictures

Rolling out to your Saved tab

Google Maps is revamping its Saved places tab, replacing a tepid list of lists with photo rolls of specific attractions right from the first screen.

The first carousel will show off places that users have recently saved for future reference. The second shows saved places that are nearby the user right there and then. The third is a roll of places they've visited from their Timeline, which is based off their Location History (if that feature is enabled).

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Google Maps now highlights your Saved places with carousels of pictures was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

Chrome 85 enables 64-bit support on Android 10, replaces the share sheet, and more (APK Download)

It has been about a month since Chrome 85 appeared in the Beta Channel, and now Google is starting to roll it out to the stable branch. There aren't many easily-visible changes, but as the old Transformers theme says, there's more than meets the eye.

New share dialog

Google first started testing a new share dialog in Chrome 84, but it's only starting to roll out widely with the release of Chrome 85.

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Chrome 85 enables 64-bit support on Android 10, replaces the share sheet, and more (APK Download) was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

Samsung SmartThings update adds UWB device tracking, Zigbee QR scanner, and more

Only the Galaxy Note20 Ultra supports the UWB tech so far

SmartThings is the app you use to take control of all your Samsung IoT devices, as the company aims to consolidate its other apps into one. Following all the big announcements it made at the recent Galaxy Unpacked event, Samsung is now updating the SmartThings app with a bunch of features, including one that leverages the Note20 Ultra’s UWB (ultra-wideband) support.

The Note20 Ultra is the first and so-far only Android phone to support UW.

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Samsung SmartThings update adds UWB device tracking, Zigbee QR scanner, and more was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

Announcing Jetpack Compose Alpha!

Posted by Karen Ng, Director, Product Management

Today, we’re releasing the alpha of Jetpack Compose, our modern UI toolkit designed to help you quickly and easily build beautiful apps across all Android platforms, with native access to the platform APIs. Bring your app to life with dramatically less code, interactive tools, and intuitive Kotlin APIs.

No matter where you’re working from -- whether it’s your kitchen table or an office, we know you need a programming language, an IDE and a powerful UI framework that can save you time and reduce how much code you need to write. So we built Jetpack Compose to make you (and us!) more productive with building UI.

We started with Android Jetpack — taking the hardest, most common developer problems on Android and creating a suite of libraries that ensure high quality apps that work across all versions of the platform. Today, 84% of the top 10,000 apps in the Play store are using a Jetpack library.

Then we heard how developers love Kotlin, with over 70% of the top 1000 apps and 60% of pro Android developers using Kotlin today. The Google Home app saw, in certain instances, an 80% reduction in lines of code by using Kotlin and a decrease of NullPointerExceptions by 33% compared to a similar past period. Duolingo, saw reduced line count by an average of 30%.

Finally, we heard strong feedback from the community that developers like the simplicity of declarative APIs for building UI. Jetpack Compose combines all three of these: APIs for high quality apps at scale, an intuitive language, and a reactive programming model.

Jetpack

Jetpack Compose: Now in Alpha

Jetpack Compose Alpha has what you need to build full-fledged Android apps, including powerful tools and interoperability with existing Android views so you don’t need to rewrite your app. Compose APIs are designed and developed hand-in-hand with a set of canonical sample apps that use Material Design that we’re excited to release today! You can import and explore the latest samples directly in Android Studio as well.

compose

The alpha release includes:

  • Animations
  • Constraint Layout
  • Initial A11Y support
  • Input and Gestures
  • Interoperability with Views (start mixing Composable functions in your existing app)
  • Lazy Lists
  • Material UI components
  • Performance optimizations
  • Testing
  • Text and editable Text
  • Theming and Graphics
  • Window management

We've also added a number of new capabilities to Android Studio 4.2 canary, in close partnership with the JetBrains Kotlin team, to help you build apps with Compose:

  • Compose Code completion
  • Compose Preview Annotations
  • Deploy individual composables to any device
  • Interactive Compose previews
  • Kotlin compiler plugin for code generation
  • Sample Data API for Compose

Thinking in Compose

Compose uses a programming model that is quite different from the existing model of building UI on Android. Historically, an Android view hierarchy has been represented as a tree of UI widgets. As the state of the app changes, the UI hierarchy needs to be updated to display the current data. The most common way of updating the UI is to walk the tree using functions like findViewById(), and change nodes by calling methods like:

 button.setText(String) 
container.addView(View) 
 img.setImageBitmap(Bitmap) 
These methods change the internal state of the widget. Not only can this be tedious, but updating views manually increases the likelihood of errors (e.g. forgetting to update a view).

Jetpack Compose is a fully declarative component-based approach, meaning you describe your UI as functions that transform data into a UI hierarchy. When the underlying data changes, the Compose framework automatically updates the UI hierarchy for you, making it simple to build UIs easily and quickly.

Full interop with existing Android views

Adopting any new framework is a big change for existing projects and codebases, which is why we’ve designed Compose to be as easy to adopt as Kotlin — it is fully interoperable with existing Android code, from day one.

Migrating to Compose depends on you and your team. If you're building a new app, the best option might be to implement your entire UI with Compose. We know that most of you have large existing codebases, so rather than rewriting your app, you can combine Compose with your existing UI design.

There are two main ways you can combine Compose with a view-based UI:

  • You can add Compose elements into your existing UI, either by creating an entirely new Compose-based screen, or by adding Compose elements into an existing fragment or view layout.
  • You can add a view-based UI element into your composable functions. Doing so lets you add non-Compose widgets, such as MapView or WebView, into a Compose-based design.

We’ve also published a new library, MDC Compose Theme Adapter, which allows you to reuse your existing Material Components themes within your Compose UI.

To learn more, try the Compose for existing apps codelab or check out these two samples:

  • Tivi and Sunflower are existing apps which are being integrated with Compose
  • Crane sample app, embeds a MapView in Compose

Powerful Tools

Jetpack Compose is built with powerful tooling in Android Studio, designed to help you iterate quickly on the piece of UI you’re working on.

The Compose layout preview enables you to preview your Compose components without having to deploy your app to a device or emulator. As you develop your app, your previews update to help you review your changes faster. To create a layout preview, write a composable function that does not take any parameters, and add the

 @Preview annotation 
After you build your app, the preview function's UI appears in Studio's Preview pane.
Jetpack

Android Studio provides an interactive preview mode. While you're in interactive preview mode, you can click or type in your UI elements, and the UI responds as if it were in the installed app.

Jetpack

You can also deploy a single composable to your physical device or Android Emulator. Android Studio creates a new activity containing the UI generated by that function, and deploys it to your app on the device. This lets you try out the UI on an actual device without needing to reinstall the entire app or navigate to its location.

Jetpack

Get started with Jetpack Compose

To get started with Jetpack Compose, try the Compose Tutorial and get setup. Or dive right into the sample apps and walk through those apps in ‘Compose by Example’:

To find a comprehensive set of Compose resources, from new codelabs and expanded documentation, see the Compose pathway.

Since we open-sourced Jetpack Compose last year, so many of you have given us invaluable feedback, logged bugs, or contributed CLs and have gotten us where we are today. Thank you!

Compose isn’t recommended for full production use yet, in particular as we work towards API stability and finish performance optimizations, but we’d love you to give it a try and share feedback. Join us in the discussion on the #compose channel at Kotlin Slack. Compose 1.0 is expected in 2021.

Happy Composing!


Android Match

25 temporarily free and 45 on-sale apps and games for Wednesday

Don't miss out on the sales for Dead Cells, DISTRAINT: Deluxe Edition, and Cessabit

Welcome to Wednesday, everyone. Today's list contains more than a few noteworthy sales, making for a solid sales roundup for the middle of the week. Today's standout deal is for Dead Cells, which is a fantastic roguelike platformer that's currently available for half-off. If you're more interested in psychological horror games, then DISTRAINT: Deluxe Edition is a solid pickup. Of course, if you prefer titles that are made for relaxing, then the hidden-object game Cessabit is a quality choice.

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25 temporarily free and 45 on-sale apps and games for Wednesday was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

The Witcher: Monster Slayer is a new augmented reality RPG coming to mobile

Who's ready for yet another Pokémon GO clone?

It would appear the CD Projekt Red subsidiary Spokko has been working on a Witcher mobile game. This game is called The Witcher: Monster Slayer, and it's a free-to-play augmented reality RPG, which means it's the latest Pokémon GO clone slated for a mobile release. Of course, Spokko has yet to provide a release date, though the studio has hinted that more details will come to light later this year.

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The Witcher: Monster Slayer is a new augmented reality RPG coming to mobile was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

Dashlane beta adds support for Android 11's keyboard-based autofill method

Making autofill a smooth operation

Google revealed a revamped API for autofill services in Android 11, hooking right into supported keyboards like Gboard. We already saw what this looks like for Google's own password manager and 1Password, but now Dashlane is also working on making its product compatible with the new API. The password management tool's latest beta already allows you to autofill right through the keyboard on Android 11.

Like other compatible password managers, Dashlane's password autofill suggestions are moved to the top of the keyboard, forgoing the dropdown menu of old.

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Dashlane beta adds support for Android 11's keyboard-based autofill method was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

Facebook simplifies Messenger Rooms management and introduces custom backgrounds

Messenger's virtual party service just got better

Messenger Rooms is Facebook's approach to online video-conferencing, though it's definitely targeted towards casual hangouts much more than business meetings. The service makes it easy to create video meetups with people who aren't necessarily in your friend list while keeping the group's creator in control. After coming to WhatsApp and Facebook's Portal screens, the company has announced that it will enhance the group calling feature in its Messenger apps with improvements to Room creation and discoverability.

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Facebook simplifies Messenger Rooms management and introduces custom backgrounds was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

August and Yale locks pick up remote biometric verification

Plus a mostly self-explanatory Hide Entry Codes feature

August and Yale smart locks are picking up a new feature that should make remote access just a little bit more secure. The opt-in change allows for remote biometric authentication before locking or unlocking your home's smart lock remotely. Further enhancing on-device security, there's a new Hide Entry Codes feature that — you guessed it — makes it so your entry codes can only be viewed for a short time.

The feature works with Wi-Fi connected Yale and August smart locks (or those with Wi-Fi bridges), and it works with both fingerprint sensors and face recognition, but only if the Secure Remote Access feature is enabled.

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August and Yale locks pick up remote biometric verification was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

Your Roomba is about to get a lot smarter courtesy of an AI-powered app update

More "Sweepnet" than "Skynet," though

iRobot is releasing a redesigned app for its various robotic vacuums and mops, delivering a new "iRobot Genius Home Intelligence" with smart new features, compatible with all Wi-Fi-connected iRobot products. Ostensibly rolling out today, the new iRobot Genius uses machine learning for things like suggesting Clean Zones or Keep Out Zones, learning your cleaning routines, and even building recommended cleaning schedules.

The new iRobot Genius will also make seasonal recommendations based on things like allergy seasons or pet-shedding, plus event-based automation that can take cues from other services like your August smart lock, ecobee, or Live360 (via IFTTT Connect) for even easier home automation.

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Your Roomba is about to get a lot smarter courtesy of an AI-powered app update was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

Hangouts users shouldn't panic about mysterious 'FCM' notifications

The mass messages are likely tied to recent reporting on Firebase exploits

Google Hangouts might not be as popular as it once was, but there are still plenty of people hanging on to it. A good number of Hangouts users across the globe received some strange notifications yesterday, which may be linked to a vulnerability in Google's Firebase platform.

Image: Jawala

Last week a vulnerability was published for Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM), which many of Google's apps, including Hangouts, use to deliver notifications.

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Hangouts users shouldn't panic about mysterious 'FCM' notifications was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

Google Arts & Culture brings the museum to you with new augmented reality exhibits

Stand inside a blue whale, high five an extinct bird, or explore art and history from your own home

Google is bringing some new AR experiences to its much-loved Arts and Culture app — including the terrifying ancient crustacean you see above. The new models are part of a handful of exhibits added to the app, in collaboration with London's Natural History Museum and Moscow's State Darwin Museum, among other institutions.

A complete list of new additions hasn't been published (and they might be mixed in with some older ones), but you'll see them as soon as you fire up the Arts & Culture app in the "new today" section at the top in an exhibit called Reality Check — get it, augmented reality?

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Google Arts & Culture brings the museum to you with new augmented reality exhibits was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

Hitman, Hello Neighbor, more coming to Stadia Pro in September

Windbound launches August 28

Everybody assumed Stadia Pro would follow the 2-game-per-month standard set by XBox Live and Playstation Plus, but things have ramped up quite a bit in the last few months. Four titles were added for subscribers in the beginning of August, and then a surprise fifth game landed a couple weeks later. Now September is coming in hot with six titles to claim.

September's additions for Pro subscribers include a good spread of genres, so there's something for everybody.

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Hitman, Hello Neighbor, more coming to Stadia Pro in September was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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Tom Clancy's Elite Squad is a new action RPG from Ubisoft, and it's available two days early

Does no one respect release dates?

Ubisoft has revealed Tom Clancy's Elite Squad, a new free-to-play action RPG that will stuff everyone's favorite Clancy characters into a single release. It will play like a strategic military RPG that's based around the lore of popular Ubisoft titles, such as Ghost Recon, Splinter Cell, The Division, and Rainbow Six. You'll get to form a team of your favorite Clancy characters to take on a story-driven single-player campaign or face off against your friends in an online PvP battle mode.

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Tom Clancy's Elite Squad is a new action RPG from Ubisoft, and it's available two days early was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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Live Caption on phone and video calls now working on Pixel 4a, 4, 3 XL

Hearing them just doesn't cut it sometimes

As part of today's Pixel 4a festivities, Google has also announced a new feature that's coming to older Pixels as well. Remember Google's Live Caption feature that transcribes speech in real-time, on-device, for things like videos? Well, Live Caption will now also work for video and voice calls — more useful than ever in these socially distant times.

Originally a Pixel 4-exclusive, Live Caption eventually made its way to the Pixel 3, 3a, and even the Pixel 2, as well as a handful of third-party devices.

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Live Caption on phone and video calls now working on Pixel 4a, 4, 3 XL was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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