Welcome to the 211th edition of Android Apps Weekly! Here are the headlines from the last week:
- Google decided to not play nice with the new Amazon Echo Show. They pulled YouTube support earlier this week. Google allegedly gave no warning or notification. Google’s return statement indicated that Amazon’s implementation didn’t adhere to the terms of service. In short, the two companies are in a bit of a disagreement. We imagine it won’t take long to resolve.
- Mozilla Firefox is about to get a lot better on Android. A bunch of things are changing when version 58 hits the Google Play Store. That includes a faster browsing experience, less RAM usage, a visual redesign, and more. The desktop version is getting a similar makeover. The company is also killing off Adobe Flash support in version 56.
- Twitter is about to double the tweet character limit from 140 to 280. That means people can be awful to each other twice as much with half of the effort! Seriously, though, the feature is currently rolling out to select Twitter users. You can also test the feature yourself by with the Tampermonkey Chrome extension (Google Chrome only).
- Super Mario Run received a fairly substantial update this week. Included is Remix 10, a new game mode. It sends players through ten short courses in a row. Daisy is also now a playable character. Some other additions include a new section called World Star and the ability to play music stored on your device while playing. The game is also temporarily on sale for $4.99. Get it while it’s hot!
- GO Keyboard is allegedly spying on millions of its users. Research company Adguard ran a bunch of tests. The results weren’t great. The keyboard apparently collects various bits of sensitive information. Many antivirus apps identified some of the GO Keyboard plugins as adware as well. The app also communicates with various tracking networks but a lot of apps do that. Perhaps it might be a good idea to change things up for a bit.
You can find more Android apps and games news, releases, and updates from this week’s newsletter by clicking here! The form below is available for anyone who wants to subscribe and receive the newsletter in their email every week. You can also check out the Android Authority app for even faster updates!
Another Lost Phone: Laura’s Story is the next game in the Lost Phone franchise. The player finds a lost phone belonging to a woman named Laura. They must dig through the phone to find out why she disappeared. The player digs through various apps to investigate her life, her contacts, her messages, and even her photos. The mechanics are simple enough. It’s a sleuthing game and thus there isn’t anything particularly difficult about it. It is quite fun, though. The game runs for $3.49 with no in-app purchases.
DirectChat is a nifty little chat companion app. It doesn’t send messages on its own. The app does allow other chat apps to use chat heads. That includes instances where it may not be supported. Thus, you can have them with WhatsApp, Hangouts, Allo, or whatever it is that you use. There are some customization options. a Do Not Disturb mode, a blacklist, a block list, and more. The free version contains ads. The pro version goes for $1.98. It removes advertising and adds a few extra features.
Pokemon Playhouse is a Pokemon-themed kids game. Children can move around the game and interact with a bunch of different Pokemon. It’s a wildly simple title. There isn’t any reading or math skills required to play. It’s not even educational. The game is just there for fun. Nothing about the game is difficult. However, that can lead to a slightly boring game for kids who enjoy more challenging stuff. In any case, the game is entirely free with no in-app purchases or advertising.
Google Family Link is an app for parents. It allows parents to monitor their children’s activities on their smartphone. They can also do things like lock the phone down during certain times of the day. Thus, you can lock the phone when it’s bedtime. Parents have to make a linked Google account for each kid. Additionally, the kid’s phone has to run Android 7.0 Nougat at least. Some are having trouble porting existing accounts into this one. There are also some bugs here and there. Otherwise, it’s an app to keep your eye on.
Middle-earth: Shadow of War is a new hack and slash action game. It follows the story of Talion and his fight with Sauron’s armies. The game includes action RPG mechanics, tons of gear to collect, and iconic Lord of the Rings characters to recruit. Yes, it is a freemium game. Thus, it has freemium game elements. Other than that, the graphics and sound are decent and the game play is easy enough to learn. It’s worth a shot at the very least.
If we missed any big Android apps or games news, tell us about it in the comments. You can also hit me up on Twitter if there’s an app you think should be here!