Welcome to the 292nd edition of Android Apps Weekly. This one is a bit longer than most thanks to Google I/O 2019. You can check out our Google I/O 2019 keynote roundup for a full overview of the festivities.
Google I/O 2019 headlines:
- The Google Play Store had several big announcements this week. Google is working on a new rating system with weight toward newer reviews over older reviews. In addition, Google also wants to encourage developers to reply to Play Store reviews, make updates happen faster, and improve developers’ stats for nerds. Hit the links to learn more!
- Google revealed Project Mainline this week. The idea is actually pretty cool. Google wants to put more core components of Android in the Google Play Store for easier updates. This could help security updates roll out faster along with updates to other core parts of the Android code without an over-the-air update.
- Google Assistant received a new driving mode this week. You simply ask Google Assistant to drive around and you get a brand new driving UI. However, that does spell the end for Android Auto. Vehicles with work with Android Auto, of course, but the standalone app is exiting in favor of the new Google Assistant feature. Hit the links to learn more.
- Android Q is giving developers a little control over hot devices. A new API lets app developers change settings independently when it senses a device heating up. For instance, a streaming service can reduce bitrate and resolution to cool the phone down. Games can do similar things with graphic settings.
- The Google Play Award winners were announced this week. Some of the winners include Shadowgun Legends, Tick Tock, Cavna, Marvel Strike Force, Woebot, and several others. You can hit the link above for a full list of this year’s winners. There weren’t a ton of popular names on the list this year, but that may have been the point.
Non-Google I/O 2019 headlines:
- Apex Legends is definitely combing to mobile eventually. We don’t have a lot of information yet, though. EA confirmed that it was heading to mobile devices. However, we don’t have a release date, any trailers, or any additional info yet. It should make quite the splash like PUBG Mobile and Fortnite did.
- Meanwhile, Tencent shut down PUBG Mobile in China. The country wouldn’t approve the game for monetization due to its violence. Tencent launched a blood-free clone in its place. The clone, Game for Peace, includes tributes to the Chinese military and much less violence than before. China also recently shut down a bunch of gambling apps.
- Google Play shut down three dating apps this last week. The dating apps let minors sign up and mingle with adults. That’s obviously not a good thing and it violates the FTC’s COPPA Rule. There isn’t much else to say, really. The dating apps let kids join and that’s not cool. They are now gone. Hit the link for more details.
- Minecraft may get an AR release very soon. Microsoft released a trailer with a girl on a bench. She mistakes her phone for another person’s and sees an AR Minecraft setting. The man quickly comes back and retrieves his phone and that’s the whole trailer. We’ll know more May 17th when Microsoft announces everything.
- Finally, YouTube Originals are changing up a bit. They were originally exclusive to YouTube Premium subscribers. Soon, that won’t be true anymore. Anyone will be able to watch the Originals with advertising like any other YouTube video.
Into the Sky is a new puzzle game with a fun premise. You play as a robot and you move various boxes around. The boxes fire laser beams in various directions. You move them so each laser hits the object with the same color. You proceed to the next level and do it again. This isn’t a highly original premise. However, the execution is decent. Some don’t like the controls and the controls are a bit frustrating at times. That said, it costs $0.99 and has no in-app purchases. It’s a decent and cheap puzzle game.
Price: Free / $4.99-$59.99
Montessori Preschool is an educational app and game hybrid. It’s mostly for ages three through seven and it teaches a bunch of different things. Some of the lessons include literacy, shapes and colors, nursery rhymes, creativity, practical stuff, and even some very light foreign language lessons. The experience can get quite expensive, but there are plenty of things for kids to do in the app. Whether or not its worth the price is fully up to you.
Whispers of a Machine is a sci-fi Noir. You play as a cybernetically augmented special agent and your goal is to investigate a string of murders. The game has adventure, puzzle, hidden object, and narrative elements along with some solid retro graphics. It also contains over 4,000 lines of voice over dialog. The game is a bit dialog heavy when compared to the the actual game mechanics. Prepare to read or listen a lot during this one.
Price: Free / $19.49 per month
Peloton Digital is a newer fitness app on Android. It features a lot of the same stuff as other fitness apps. However, this one includes live studio classes taught by actual instructors. The app also includes thousands of other classes for things like cycling, running, yoga, and others. There is more exercise material than a person can do in a lifetime. However, all of that content does come at a rather steep cost of $19.49 per month.
Rumble Stars is a soccer game with arcade fighter elements. You create a team, play some soccer, and beat your opponents. Various characters have various skills on the field. It helps you counter whatever your opponent has. There is also a combo system, various divisions and leagues, social clubs, private matches, and more. This is a gacha game and that’s where the freemium element comes in. The freemium elements are strong in this one so those with less patience for that sort of thing may want to skip this one.
If we missed any big Android apps or games news, updates, or releases, tell us about them in the comments!