Android Messages v3.0 drops KitKat support, prepares notification improvements, more on purchases and enhanced chat features [APK Teardown]

Android Messages just hit version 3.0. While hitting a new major version number might be an occasion for big things in some apps, this one appears to be a simple incremental step up from version 2.9. While there aren’t any immediately obvious changes on the surface of this update, there are some things happening under the hood. It looks like support for KitKat has been dropped with this update, leaving behind about 12% of previously supported Android devices.

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Android Messages v3.0 drops KitKat support, prepares notification improvements, more on purchases and enhanced chat features [APK Teardown] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

Downloading Motion Photos via Google’s Backup and Sync is broken for some

For many people, especially those of us here at Android Police, Google’s various backup tools are an integral part of our daily workflow. Frankly, I’d have to entirely restructure how I do things without the convenience of Google Photos and Google Drive/Backup and Sync. For some, the combination of those two services isn’t working as expected when it comes to Motion Photos, and backup synchronization to a desktop fails for those MVIMG-labeled images. 

This isn’t the first time Motion Photos have introduced problems with Google Drive. Last year, shortly after the introduction of the new Motion Photos, MVIMGs files deleted via Google Photos weren’t actually being deleted (much to our own Artem’s chagrin).

This new problem, in which Motion Photo images refuse to download via the Backup and Sync client, has been reported since around the beginning of the year, and not everyone seems to be affected. Again, Artem is experiencing the problem on his account, but mine is synchronizing Motion Images/MVIMG-labeled photos just fine.

So far reports on the Product Forum are mostly for Windows clients, but some of our readers on OSX are also affected. You should be able to confirm the problem by glancing at the status of Backup & Sync on your desktop (right-clicking the icon in the taskbar on Windows, clicking the app icon in the menu bar on OSX, or righteously raging at Google for the continued lack of a client on Linux) and checking for “can’t sync” errors. If any are present and the files associated with the problem begin with “MVIMG,” then you are likely affected.

  • Thanks:
  • Jason Martin

Google Assistant shortcut app now installs on Lollipop, tablets

The Google Assistant listing on the Play Store might only be a glorified shortcut, but it’s still one avenue for accessing the Assistant on supported devices. And, as of a few days ago, it was officially updated to support devices running Lollipop 5.0. Explicit Android tablet support was also added, which brings parity to today’s announcement that the Google Assistant is now supported on the iPad, too. 

Lollipop support might not seem like a big deal, but almost 25% of Android devices are still running Android 5.0/5.1 according to February’s platform distribution numbers.

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Google Assistant shortcut app now installs on Lollipop, tablets was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

24 new and notable Android games from the last week (3/7/18 – 3/13/18)

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.

Please wait for this page to load in full in order to see the widgets, which include ratings and pricing info.

Looking for the previous roundup editions? Find them here.

Games

The Sims™ Mobile

Android Police coverage: After almost a year in testing, EA has officially released ‘The Sims Mobile’ on Android

The Sims Mobile takes the gameplay from EA’s mobile life simulation game The Sims FreePlay and adds on top some of the mechanics from The Sims 4.

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24 new and notable Android games from the last week (3/7/18 – 3/13/18) was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

Google Keep for Android Wear gets a new UI, removes shortcut to open a note on your phone

Google Keep for Android Wear has made a significant jump from version 2.0.08 to 4.1.091. Along with this jump comes a new design that makes note actions easier to get to, though it does remove one neat feature that I often used.

To start, it’s not clear to us whether this is the first proper Android Wear 2.0 APK for Keep or not. From the changelog’s wording, it seems like the app is just now being directly distributed on the Play Store to Wear watches instead of the APK coming from the Keep app on your phone – the fact that it’s now become compatible with iOS lends credence to that, but again, we’re not 100% sure.

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Google Keep for Android Wear gets a new UI, removes shortcut to open a note on your phone was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

Play Movies & TV v4.2 switches to bottom nav bar, adds Certified Fresh ratings, and hints at all-new Guide screen [APK Teardown]

The latest version of Google Play Movies & TV is making the rounds, and this one has quite a bit to discuss. There are several surface-level changes, including a new bottom nav bar, improved support for Rotten Tomatoes, and even some rearrangements to the screens in the app. Digging a bit deeper, we can also see there’s a new Guide screen in development, some degree of support for external content providers, and even a rating system for content.

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Play Movies & TV v4.2 switches to bottom nav bar, adds Certified Fresh ratings, and hints at all-new Guide screen [APK Teardown] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

13 new and notable Android apps and live wallpapers from the last week (3/6/18 – 3/12/18)

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

Please wait for this page to load in full in order to see the widgets, which include ratings and pricing info.

Looking for the previous roundup editions? Find them here.

Apps

Experience app for Galaxy S9/S9+

Android Police coverage: Samsung releases Experience demo app for Galaxy S9/S9+ [APK Download]

If you are in the market for a Galaxy S9 or S9+, then you may want to check out the Experience app for Galaxy S9/S9+.

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13 new and notable Android apps and live wallpapers from the last week (3/6/18 – 3/12/18) was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

Huawei Wallet arrives in the Play Store

Samsung Pay and Android Pay/Google Pay have been around for years at this point, but there are plenty of other mobile payment solutions. LG Pay has existed in South Korea for a while, and now Huawei’s payment app has been uploaded to the Play Store.

It’s worth noting that Huawei Wallet is not a new app; this 2014 review of the Honor 6 mentions Wallet as a system application. Much like LG Pay is only for South Korea, Huawei Wallet has only been available to users in China. It makes sense that Huawei would want to develop its own wallet app for China, considering Google Pay is not available there.

So why is Huawei Wallet just now appearing in the Play Store? According to the review replies, the company is planning to offer paid services to Huawei ID users (at least in Europe), and Wallet will be used to manage those payments. I don’t see why a website wouldn’t work for that, but whatever.

Huawei Wallet
Huawei Wallet
Price: Free

Start the weekend with 29 temporarily free and 38 on-sale apps, including Baldur’s Gate

As the first full week of March comes to a close, I have returned for the final round of app sales. Today’s list is rather extensive for a Friday, in contrast to Wednesday’s disappointment, so have some fun. There are definitely some goodies below, especially Baldur’s Gate and Talon for Twitter.

Free

Apps

  1. English for all! Pro $0.99 -> Free; 6 hours
  2. Speccy Spectrum Analyzer $0.99 -> Free; 3 days
  3. Thug Boyz Entertainment Ultra $0.99 -> Free; 3 days
  4. Applock – Fingerprint Pro $1.49 -> Free; 4 days
  5. Automatic Call Recorder (ACR) Pro $3.99 -> Free; 4 days
  6. Bluetooth Mono Media $0.99 -> Free; 4 days
  7. Super Shortcuts $1.99 -> Free; 4 days
  8. VFR GPS Airplane Navigation $8.99 -> Free; 4 days
  9. Fake GPS Location PRO $1.99 -> Free; 5 days

Games

  1. Defense Zone HD $2.99 -> Free; 6 hours
  2. Defense Zone 2 HD $2.99 -> Free; 6 hours
  3. Defense Zone 3 Ultra HD $2.99 -> Free; 6 hours
  4. Quik: Gravity Flip Platformer $1.49 -> Free; 2 days
  5. TA: Little Red Riding Hood $0.99 -> Free; 5 days
  6. Dead Bunker 4 Apocalypse $0.99 -> Free; 6 days
  7. Classic Sudoku PRO(No Ads) $2.49 -> Free; 7 days
  8. Dead Bunker II $0.99 -> Free; 7 days

Icon packs & customization

  1. Wild West 3D Live Wallpaper $0.99 -> Free; 1 day
  2. Delux Black Pixel – S9 Icon Pack $1.49 -> Free; 2 days
  3. Transparent Screen Pro: Transparent Live Wallpaper $0.99 -> Free; 2 days
  4. Timmy Fish Live Wallpaper $0.99 -> Free; 3 days
  5. Mystic Portal $0.99 -> Free; 4 days
  6. Space Watch $0.99 -> Free; 5 days
  7. Nomo – Icon Pack $0.99 -> Free; 5 days
  8. Ravic – Icon Pack $0.99 -> Free; 5 days
  9. Retax – Icon pack $0.99 -> Free; 5 days
  10. Sweetbo – Icon Pack – Apps on Google Play $0.99 -> Free; 5 days
  11. Rumber – Icon Pack – Apps on Google Play $0.99 -> Free; 6 days
  12. HD Wallpapers – Full HD (Pro) $0.99 -> Free; 7 days

Sale

Apps

  1. Inventory Management Premium $2.99 -> $1.99; 1 day
  2. iRadTech $24.99 -> $16.99; 1 day
  3. Discover by Submittable $4.99 -> $1.99; 2 days
  4. How to Tie a Tie Pro $3.99 -> $1.49; 2 days
  5. Scarf Fashion Designer Pro $3.99 -> $1.49; 2 days
  6. 3D Earth Pro – Weather Forecast, Radar & Alerts UK $4.99 -> $0.99; 3 days
  7. Learn French Language: Listen, Speak, Read Pro $3.99 -> $0.99; 3 days
  8. Learn Chinese Mandarin Language Pro $3.99 -> $0.99; 4 days
  9. Change DNS Pro (No Root 3G/Wifi) $1.99 -> $0.99; 5 days
  10. GIFShop Pro – GIF Maker, video to GIF, GIF Editor $3.99 -> $1.99; 5 days
  11. Learn Italian Language Pro $3.99 -> $0.99; 5 days
  12. PhotoMaker Pro – Apps on Google Play $2.99 -> $1.99; 5 days
  13. App Backup & Restore Pro $2.99 -> $0.99; 6 days
  14. Belly Fix – 12 days PRO $2.99 -> $1.49; 6 days
  15. Meeting Notes $3.49 -> $0.99; 7 days
  16. Network Analyzer Pro $3.99 -> $0.99; 7 days
  17. VGB – GameBoy (GBC) Emulator $3.99 -> $1.99; 7 days
  18. Talon for Twitter $2.99 -> $1.99; Time left not specified (my favorite Twitter client)

Games

  1. Add and subtract within 20 $2.49 -> $0.99; 5 days
  2. Addieren bis 10 $2.49 -> $0.99; 5 days
  3. Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition $9.99 -> $2.49; 6 days
  4. Monster’s Socks $2.99 -> $0.99; 6 days
  5. Radium $2.49 -> $0.99; 6 days
  6. Redsun RTS Premium $1.99 -> $0.99; 6 days
  7. Rima: The Story Begins – Adventure Game $4.49 -> $2.24; 6 days
  8. Multiplication Math Trainer $2.49 -> $0.99; 7 days
  9. Multiplication Tables $2.49 -> $0.99; 7 days
  10. Puppet Show 7 $2.99 -> $1.49; 7 days
  11. Puppet Show: Destiny (Full) $2.99 -> $1.49; 7 days
  12. Puppet Show: Lost Town $2.99 -> $1.49; 7 days
  13. Stray Souls: Dollhouse Story.

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Start the weekend with 29 temporarily free and 38 on-sale apps, including Baldur’s Gate was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

[Update: Support isn’t ready yet] Audible finally works with Sonos, offers trial with 2 credits and Miles Davis’ autobiography for free

Audible is on Sonos: 5 Audiobooks to Listen to Now

It’s rare to block out your unending to-do list and take a minute to just relax with a good book. But if time is a luxury, then so is reading. We think there’s something wrong with that, which is why we’re excited to announce that Audible is now available on Sonos.

With Audible on your home sound system, you can easily make books an everyday source of enjoyment for yourself and the whole family. Become a master multitasker and listen to audiobooks while you cook, do laundry, take a bath or work out. Start a story while the kids get into their pajamas and brush their teeth, so they’re already sleepy by the time they climb into bed.

Audible has the world’s largest selection of audiobooks, but if you don’t know where to start, check out some of our favorite reads/listens below.

How Music Works by David Byrne
In this work of nonfiction, Talking Heads lead singer and guitarist David Byrne looks at music through various lenses—history, anthropology, psychology—but mostly through the prism of his personal experience, and it’s clear that despite decades in the music industry, his enthusiasm for the subject remains unjaded. Byrne’s lack of formal music education combined with his conversational tone makes this book enjoyable for everyone from casual music fans to critics.

Check it out

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo
Marie Kondo’s trademark KonMari Method will help you transform your home. Her book, which has sold over eight million copies worldwide, outlines how to reassess the things that occupy your space so that it becomes a source of inspiration rather than frustration. It’s a great listen for when you’re taking care of daily household tasks.

Check it out

Miles: The Autobiography by Miles Davis
Miles Davis lays everything out in this autobiography: his childhood, racism, drug addiction, friendships, women and of course, the music. The self-portrait Davis paints in his book is frequently unlikeable yet undeniably fascinating. Actor Dion Graham’s raspy and magnetic narration will make you forget it’s not actually Davis’s own voice, making it easy to lose yourself in the story.

Check it out

Creativity Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stank in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace
If you’re a manager, this book by Ed Catmull, a co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios, should make your list of must reads. Drawing on his own experience, Catmull offers advice on establishing a workplace culture that fosters creativity and innovation. These insights will appeal to people at all levels of the workforce, but this isn’t just another business book, as Catmull offers an entertaining behind-the-scenes glimpse at the force behind some of the greatest films of the last two decades.

Check it out

Messy by Tim Harford
If Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up doesn’t speak to you, perhaps Tim Harford’s Messy will. Harford looks at messiness. Harford does not aggrandize untidiness or suggest it’s something to aspire to, but he does point out the pitfalls of rigidity and makes a convincing argument to embrace the messiness in life and their ability to force us out of our comfort zones and routines.

Check it out

For a limited time, new subscribers get two free credits and Miles: The Autobiography of Miles Davis pre-loaded when they sign up for a 30-day trial through the Sonos app. Try it today.