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Microsoft Torque on a Samsung Gear Live

Slightly irked that you have to say "OK Google" whenever you want to use voice search on your Android Wear smartwatch? Microsoft, of all companies, is coming to your rescue. The developer is leading a trio of experimental Android releases with Torque, an app that lets you start a Bing search just by twisting your wrist; you only have to speak when you're asking your question. You'll get optimized output for certain kinds of search results, including maps, stocks and weather.

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Inside An AT&T Store Ahead of Earnings Figures

It's no secret that the US wireless market is saturated, and that most people who want a mobile device have already purchased one by now. Naturally, this means that the national players in the industry are looking for other points of revenue to aid future growth. AT&T is proving that it's one of the most successful in this venture by announcing today that it's activated a heap of connected devices last quarter -- to the tune of 1.3 million. That's a healthy number, especially since the company accumulated only a tenth of that in the previous quarter. This genre refers to a wide range of gadgets that come with an AT&T SIM card inside, but the most interesting part of this announcement is that over 500,000 of those activated devices come from connected cars.

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Want to upgrade to an iPad Air 2 or iPad mini 3? Maybe you're just drooling over the new Retina iMac. We reviewed them all, so you're covered either way. But that's not all we have on deck -- read on for Engadget's news highlights from the last 24 hours, including a discussion on video game violence, Google's new email app, and the do's and don'ts of social media.

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Heads up, Android fans: Google Earth for your phones is about to get a lot better. That's what the folks in Mountain View are promising, anyway -- they've released an update to the app brings with it snappier performance and improved labels for maps (you'll never wonder where Foster City and Redwood Shores begin and end again). Perhaps the biggest change, though -- a completely rebuilt 3D rendering engine -- means those cityscapes and mountain ranges you pore over should show up with more crispness and clarity. Try not to lord that over your friends using Apple Maps, will you? Throw in a way to import your own custom .KML files into the app from Google Drive and you've got all the makings of a pretty momentous update. Itching to take it for a spin? Mosey on over to the Google Play Store to get your globetrotting fix.

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Testing Apple Pay in September

Went on a spending spree with your Bank of America debit card the moment Apple Pay hit your iPhone? You might be in for a (brief) shock. The bank is now issuing refunds after it charged at least some Apple Pay users twice when they made purchases at retail shops. While it hasn't said what triggered the glitch, the issue doesn't appear to involve Apple's software -- there haven't been widespread reports of problems with other cards, and Apple itself doesn't process transactions. Whatever was the cause, it's not surprising that a major mobile payment service would run into some hiccups just after launch. Let's just hope that things go more smoothly from here on out.

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Mirriad Asha GIF

As the music video starts, Avicii nonchalantly wanders into Stockholm's Tele2 Arena. He strolls past the venue's reception; a Grand Marnier poster gets some vital screen time. The bass drops. The crowd goes wild. For some reason, I feel like drinking.

Over the past few weeks, Avicii fans in the US have been unknowingly drawing an association between their favorite Swedish DJ's proghouse hit "Lay me Down" and orange-flavored cognac. Everywhere else in the world, the brand is never seen -- a plain wall lies in its place. It's one of the first examples of a new kind of temporary product placement called "digital insertion." Typically, product placement currently takes the form of a lingering product shot -- like a Beats Pill speaker at the start of a Miley Cyrus video. With recent advances, companies can now use algorithms to digitally serve you unique product placements based on where you live, your age or your salary. It's a creepy concept, but it could change advertising forever.

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Pivotal Living hopes you'll pay $12 a year to use its fitness tracker

Fitness trackers come a dime a dozen and worse, they all seem to do the same thing: monitor your step count, calorie burn and sleep quality. As it happens, the Life Tracker 1, the first device from a startup called Pivotal Living, does all these things, and not much more. But it's not what the product does or how it looks that has the potential to distinguish it -- it's how you pay for it. Whereas most health trackers cost somewhere around $100, and work with a free companion app, Pivotal Living is charging $12 a year for access to its Android and iOS apps. For the money, you also get the hardware, a simple plastic band with an OLED screen for showing your daily step and calorie count. Every time the company introduces a new iteration, you can renew or extend your subscription for $12 and in so doing, get the latest piece of kit. If you ever cancel, you can keep the band and continue to view your daily stats on the device; you just won't have access to the app, or any of your big-picture data.

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Google has joined forces with the Jane Goodall Institute to bring Street Views of Gombe National Park and its numerous chimpanzees. Using portable Trekkers, Google's intrepid photogs captured thousands of 360-degree images in the jungles where Goodall first started her research. Some of the Institute's favorite highlights include a chimp called "Google" swinging on a vine (above), the slopes of Gombe, a group of chimpanzees fishing for termites and the interior of Jane's house. To head down the trails or up into the tree canopies yourself, hit the source -- there's a monkey around every corner.

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At Twitter's Flight mobile developer conference, Jawbone just announced a new app called Drop, which lets you and your friends create and manage playlists with tweets. Hosain Rahman, Jawbone's CEO, says that this would be very useful in party situations, where each guest wants to add a different song to the party playlist. Once you're in the app, you can "drop" a song in a playlist by sending a tweet to a specific username. Further, you don't need the app to add songs -- your friends can just mention you on Twitter and the word "drop" followed by the name of the song or artist. According to Jawbone, the list is comprised of songs on Spotify or Rdio, so you'll need a premium or paid subscription to either of the two music services to use Drop. It should be available for iOS today, with no word on an Android version just yet.

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Pandora Radio on its IPO day

Many musicians put their tunes on Pandora in the hopes that they'll build an audience, but how are they supposed to know it's working? That's what the streaming service's new Artist Marketing Platform (AMP) aims to solve. The initiative gives performers data on not just how many plays and thumbs-up ratings their songs get, but the demographics of who's listening and where the music is taking off -- very handy for planning a national tour. It won't guarantee that your indie band catches a big break, but it could help you focus your musical talents where they matter the most.

[Image credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images]

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