Welcome to the 351st edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- App news was a bit slow this week so let’s take a trip to the past. Did you know that Roku was very nearly a part of Netflix? In fact, Netflix actually manufactured the first Roku device. It was the Netflix Player. However, Netflix had to remain neutral in order to appease its hardware partners, so it was eventually spun off to be its own thing. Pretty neat, huh?
- WhatsApp had a couple of announcements this week. The first is face unlock support for Android. In addition, WhatsApp is replacing fingerprint unlock with biometric unlock to bring the face unlock feature into the fold. Additionally, the chat service is bringing call functions to desktop and web clients.
- Google Play Music is beginning its shut down. Some users reported the app no longer functions, encouraging them instead to switch to YouTube Music. The web player is also now inaccessible for some folks. We knew this day was coming so this doesn’t come as a surprise.
- The Department of Justice filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google this week. This one covers Google’s dominance in online search and search advertising, but there could be more later. In addition, 11 US states joined the lawsuit. It attacks Google’s strategy to pay other platforms billions of dollars a year to remain the default search provider on those platforms. Hit the link to learn more.
- Quibi is shutting down its streaming service. The unique online service only had ten minute shows and cost $4.99 per month. Plus it was only available on iOS and Android. Apparently, these elements didn’t click with anybody and the lack of popularity caused the service to shut down. We don’t know an exact date for the shut down and Quibi may still sell its properties.
Universe in a Nutshell
Universe in a Nutshell is an educational app about the universe. It has a bunch of fun facts about the universe, particularly about the scale between the smallest things and the largest. The main attraction of the app is the ability to swipe to see increasingly larger things and compare the sizes of small things to big things. It’s an entertaining little app with excellent execution for both kids and adults. Plus, we like that it has a single cost instead of in-app purchases.
Price: Free to play
Pac-Man Geo is the latest iteration of Pac-Man from Bandai Namco. It’s actually a pretty neat idea. You play Pac-Man using real maps from around the world. However, unlike Pokemon Go, you don’t actually have to be there. Players can also create maps of things in their area and share it with other players. The free to play aspect kind of muddles things as bit, but you do get power-ups and collectibles. The big issues are mostly early bugs and clunky mechanics. Nothing wrong with this game isn’t fixable, but we’ll have to see if the developers actually do it.
NFL GameDay in True View
NFL GameDay in True View is a different way to experience football. The app lets you view highlights and other stuff from right on top of the field. The technology uses a variety of 5k cameras to capture video from all around the stadium in order to give a more immersive experience. It’s only available to some folks, though, and that makes it a rather niche product. It would be really cool to see this available to more people more often.
Price: Free to play
Illusion Connect is a strategy RPG with gacha elements. The game features 50 characters along with a social mechanics to get to know them as you collect and upgrade them. The combat is turn-based RPG style with some very, very light strategy elements and and you can even do stuff like design a house. It’s a bit basic in terms of mechanics. However, the game is very free player friendly and it has garnered some positive early reviews for that very reason. It seems like a decent game for gacha fans.
Trove is a new photography app from Microsoft. This one doesn’t help you edit or take photos, though. Instead, it helps you sell them. The idea is fairly simple. Microsoft needs photos for various AI projects. You sign up for the project, send it photos, and Microsoft pays you if they use your photos. There aren’t a ton of photos available right now and Microsoft promises not to sell photos to anyone once they’re done. Otherwise, it’s a neat way to train AI while also giving back to the people who took the photos.
Thank you for reading! Try these out too:
- 10 best Android learning apps
- 15 best arcade games for Android
- 10 best sports news apps for Android
- 15 best gacha games for Android
- 10 best photography apps for Android
If we missed any big Android apps or games news, updates, or releases, tell us about it in the comments.