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Hangouts 4.0 for Android is finally here

Hangouts 4.0 for Android is finally here

Drop the pitchforks, Android users, because Google has finally released Hangouts 4.0 for your favorite Nexus, Galaxy, or other Android device. Following on more than a month from the Hangouts 4.0 for iPhone launch, the version for Google's own OS gets the fancy new Material Design UI to please the eyes, as well as a promised improvement in performance for those who were losing patience with the messaging client.

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BitTorrent Bleep update improves offline message security

BitTorrent Bleep update improves offline message security

In addition to its Sync 2.0 service, BitTorrent also has an offline messaging app called Bleep that allows users to, says the company, “chat privately. srsly.” Unlike other messaging apps, Bleep works straight from user-to-user, no in-between cloud storage to be seen. The benefit of this is security — as BitTorrent says, you don’t have to worry about the online data related to your account being hacked as there is no cloud. The security isn’t perfect, however, and so BitTorrent has pushed out an update.

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Microsoft unloads a bunch of apps for smartwatches

Microsoft unloads a bunch of apps for smartwatches

Since it doesn't have a smartwatch of its own (no, the Microsoft Band doesn't count), it seems that Microsoft is quite content to puts its software on others wrists instead. Catering to both the Android Wear toting and the Apple Watch wearing crowd, Microsoft has just announced new and updated apps for both types of wearables. And since Microsoft is now all about helping you become productive, these apps focus on wearable versions of its productivity suite, plus one completely new addition to the family.

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Forget dull PowerPoints, Microsoft Sway graduates to Windows 10

Forget dull PowerPoints, Microsoft Sway graduates to Windows 10

Microsoft's Sway, its post-PowerPoint vision for presentations that viewers don't dread, has graduated preview status and is now available for anybody to try. Launched back in October 2014, Sway automatically massages images, text, videos, and other media into a more palatable format, complete with transitions and automatic resizing to suit devices from smartphones through to big displays. Meanwhile, Sway also gets its Windows 10 app today, too.

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Viber updated with redesign, better quality and more

Viber updated with redesign, better quality and more

WhatsApp competitor Viber has updated both its Android and iOS apps with a bunch of improvements and new features, the most notable of which is the improved voice and video quality that, despite being better than ever, keeps data usage to a minimum. As with Facebook's Messenger and other similar apps, Viber allows users to make calls among themselves, eschewing using up minutes and, if you're on Wi-Fi, precious data. With this update, calls over 2G snap up only 84KBs of data per minute.

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Use Cortana to control your Android phone from Windows 10

Use Cortana to control your Android phone from Windows 10

Cortana is now almost everywhere, thanks to Windows 10 bringing Microsoft's smart assistant desktops and tablets. While there have been indications that Cortana will indeed come to Android smartphones, that might still be a long time coming. What if you wanted Cortana to let you control your smartphone, or almost anything else, hands-free and only using your voice? Good thing, then, that Android already has all the needed tools to make that happen and, with a bit of trickery, rope in Cortana into it as well.

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EnLighten app from BMW shows you how long the light will stay red

EnLighten app from BMW shows you how long the light will stay red

All drivers can relate to the annoyance of a stop light that stays red way longer than you feel like it should. We naturally progress from annoyance at when the light will change to some level of being convinced that the light has stopped working correctly and we will never get to go. BMW has created an app that works in a few cities and will display on the infotainment screen in its cars.

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Pocket Beta Channel offers early-access features

Pocket Beta Channel offers early-access features

Pocket, the service that lets you save content from around the web for reading later on, has announced its new Public Beta Channel through which you’ll get early access to upcoming features. Pocket touts Recommendations as one of the more notable early features Beta Channel users will get access to, but it isn’t limited to that. The public beta channel will be available on the web, Android, and iOS, and Pocket is encouraging its users to get onboard with it.

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Samsung will allow bloatware to be removed but only in China

Samsung will allow bloatware to be removed but only in China

Caving in to pressure, or perhaps the threat of a government lawsuit in China, Samsung has revealed that it will be issuing patches that will finally let users uninstall non-essential pre-installed apps, a.k.a. bloatware from their smartphones. This is definitely an unprecedented move for the OEM, one of the worst offenders when it comes to packaging 3rd party services and apps on their devices. Sadly, it's a development that, at least for now, is localized only in China and doesn't seem to have any effect on Samsung's other markets.

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VSCO Collections ushers in curated photos

VSCO Collections ushers in curated photos

VSCO offers what is arguably one of the best mobile camera apps available — it allows filtering like Instagram and other camera apps, only the filters are aggregated into packs and are both higher-quality and less in-your-face than many filter options. The app comes with manual adjustments, too, and features like manually selecting a focus point. Today the company behind VSCO Cam made a big step in making the service more appealing, adding in a new “Collections” social feature.

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Xbox One SmartGlass on Android, iOS get some screenshot love

Xbox One SmartGlass on Android, iOS get some screenshot love

Continuing its embrace of platforms other than its own, Microsoft has just revealed a new feature coming to Android and iOS users. No, it's not Cortana, at least not yet. This one is all about gamers. The already talented Xbox One SmartGlass app on the two rival platforms has just gotten more talented, now able to work with screenshots the same way Windows 10 users are able to, meaning they can now view, share, and even save Xbox One screenshots, right from the convenience of their mobile phone.

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