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Telegram adds photo masks, GIF creation, and trending stickers

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We’re a bit late with this news, but this is what happens when an update rolls on Friday and we’re short-staffed over the weekend, so please forgive us. Telegram, a popular messaging app among our readers, has added a few cool features in its latest 3.12 update and is promising more now that the summer break is over.

First is a major improvement to the photo editor that lets you draw on photos, apply stickers, text, and most importantly (or most relevant nowadays, because I can’t judge how important this is to you) masks.

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Telegram adds photo masks, GIF creation, and trending stickers was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Xperia X Compact now available on Amazon, unlocked for $499

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One week ago, the Xperia X Compact became available for pre-order on Amazon for $499 with a $50 credit. Today, as expected, it is officially available for sale on the site (we have yet to locate other sites currently selling it).

The X Compact, the smaller version of Sony’s latest smartphone offerings, features a 4.6″ 720p screen with a Snapdragon 650 CPU. The phone also has 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage with microSD expansion, USB Type-C with Qualcomm Quick Charging 3.0, and a 23MP rear camera. Keep in mind that the X Compact does include Android 6.0 Marshmallow at launch, but you can easily unlock the bootloader through Sony’s Open Device Program.

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Xperia X Compact now available on Amazon, unlocked for $499 was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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[Deal Alert] Chromecast Audio only $25 ($10 off) on the Google Store

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The Chromecast Audio is a great little device, allowing you to stream supported content to any speaker (or anything else really) with audio input. I myself bought one fairly recently, so I could turn my old iPod dock into a WiFi speaker.

Google has recently dropped the price of the Chromecast Audio down to $25, a whopping $10 lower than the original price. There is no sign of a Chromecast Audio replacement being announced at Google’s upcoming October 4th event, so you don’t have to worry about buying a soon-to-be-discontinued device.

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[Deal Alert] Chromecast Audio only $25 ($10 off) on the Google Store was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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[Deal Alert] Get an ASUS ZenWatch 2 with a metal band for just $129.99 at Amazon ($70 off)

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The ZenWatch 2 may not be the newest kid on the block (the ZenWatch 3 was announced a few weeks ago at IFA), but that only means that more deals will be available for it now. Case in point: Amazon is offering the ZenWatch 2 in the smaller 1.45-inch screen guise with a silver Milanese loop for just $129.99.

The ZenWatch 2 actually still has pretty current specs; like the current Android Wear boss, the Huawei Watch, it features an AMOLED display, a Snapdragon 400, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage, a speaker, and IP67 water resistance.

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[Deal Alert] Get an ASUS ZenWatch 2 with a metal band for just $129.99 at Amazon ($70 off) was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Sony Xperia XZ pre-orders go live, available on October 2

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It is no secret that Sony is not the largest smartphone player in the U.S. While the phones (and tablets) are typically pretty good, they are not too commonplace here. Regardless, some of us still get excited when Sony announces new devices. That excitement is easily doubled whenever those make it to the States.

The Xperia XZ was announced at IFA back at the beginning of this month with U.S. availability. You can now pre-order it from Amazon for $699 in blue, silver, and black (though, at the time of this writing, the black was showing at $717.59 for me).

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Sony Xperia XZ pre-orders go live, available on October 2 was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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[How about no] Snapchat, now Snap Inc., announces Spectacles, a pair of sunglasses with a wide-angle camera

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Snapchat, the company best known to us for creating a horrible Android app, has just announced two big pieces of news; not only is Snapchat renaming itself Snap Inc., but it’s also releasing ‘Spectacles’, a pair of sunglasses built just for Snapchat that is equipped with a wide-angle camera.

Let’s start with Snapchat’s new name – Snap Inc. According to CEO Evan Spiegel, the California-based company is taking on this new identity because it’s beginning to offer products other than Snapchat.

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[How about no] Snapchat, now Snap Inc., announces Spectacles, a pair of sunglasses with a wide-angle camera was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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First Chromecast Preview firmware removes all Chrome branding

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Not too long ago, Google began offering users the chance to test unfinished Chromecast firmware. The first preview firmware, version 1.21.72444, began rolling out to users recently. Google’s release notes for the update only states, “General bug fixes and stability improvements.” Thanks, Google.

Thankfully, tipster Rafael sent us the screenshots above and below. They indicate that all references to the word ‘Chrome’ have been removed. The current public firmware shows the Chrome logo when the device starts up, which is now replaced by a Google logo.

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First Chromecast Preview firmware removes all Chrome branding was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Allo hits #1 in the Top Free Apps chart, but for how long?

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Allo was finally released earlier this week, much to my own excitement. Google’s latest messaging app seems pretty appealing in some regards and I am always willing to try something new. Thus far, I am enjoying it.

It seems that I am not alone. Allo is listed as number one in the Top Free Apps chart in the Play Store. That means it is beating Facebook/Messenger, Snapchat, and Instagram. It is mirroring its cousin, Duo, which also reached number one in the Top Free chart shortly after its release just over a month ago.

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Allo hits #1 in the Top Free Apps chart, but for how long? was written by the awesome team at Android Police.