Welcome to the 385th edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- Google wants developers to call out OEMs for bad app practices. Developers have a form to fill out that lets them tattle on OEMs with excessive battery optimization. This is an ongoing issue with Android phones where OEMs shut apps down in the background when they are supposed to keep working. Hopefully, this helps prevent the issue from continuing.
- On a happier note, Google also rolled out end-to-end encryption in its Google Messages app this week. It’s limited to one-on-one chats with other Google Messages users, so it’s not all-encompassing for now. The update only contained that feature so there isn’t much else to talk about. Still, it’s an even better reason to use Google Messages.
- Tim Cook put Android on blast this week. He said that malware was more prominent on Android than on iOS. He blames the act of sideloading, something Android users have been able to do since the very beginning. Cook claims that Android has 47 times more malware and that sideloading would ruin security on iPhones. Unfortunately, the numbers are a bit outdated, so take them with a grain of salt.
- There is a new Pokemon game coming to Android. Pokemon Unite is a five-on-five multiplayer game that will launch on Android, iOS, and Nintendo Switch. Nintendo says the launch is July for the Switch version of the game and September for the mobile versions. It’s a MOBA-style game where players compete with Pokemon. Hit the link to watch a trailer and learn more.
- Google is working on a new language learning service. It aims to take on Duolingo, one of the most popular language-learning apps ever. It goes by Trivoli. Word is that it’ll integrate with YouTube and Google Search, two of Google’s most powerful and popular platforms. Hit the link to learn more.
Godzilla Battle Line
Price: Free to play
Godzilla Battle Line is a mobile strategy game taking advantage of the hype around the latest Godzilla movie. Players take their monsters into battle and fight other monsters and players. The monsters act on their own, so the strategy aspect is limited. Most of your victory is determined by the strength of your monsters. You can upgrade and equip them before sending them into the fight. It’s not the most complex game. In fact, we only recommend it from the perspective of it being a casual time-waster.
Price: Free trial / $2.99 per month / $19.99 per year
Catterbug Streams is a language learning apps with some neat ideas. It mixes traditional language learning with Twitch streaming. Basically, you watch a native speaker live stream lessons about the language you want to learn. You can ask questions in the chat at any time to help you learn difficult stuff easier. The whole experience needs a coat of polish, but it’s a great idea so we hope it continues to mature. It supports Spanish, German, and French at this time. We expect more languages to arrive eventually.
The Witcher Tales: Thronebreaker
Price: Free / $9.99
The Witcher Tales: Thronebreaker is a spiritual successor to Gwent: The Witcher Card Game. It’s a single-player campaign that takes place in that game’s universe. It’s primarily narrative-driven with card dueling style combat. You can play the first few hours of the campaign for free and then the developers ask for $9.99 to unlock the rest. It’s an excellent port of the PC version. The reason for its low Google Play rating is because it had some download issues on launch day. It has since been fixed.
Opera GX is a new browser from Opera. The app supports Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac. It claims to be a browser for gamers. It has a very gamer aesthetic with custom skins and colorful themes. Additionally, the browser includes gaming news in its feed, a release calendar, and ad-blocker, and the ability to sync with a desktop browser via QR code. Of course, the main reason to try this is for the aesthetic. However, the gaming news feed is pretty useful as well. It’s entirely free to use on each platform where it’s available.
Price: Free / $10.99 per month / $99.99 per year / In-app purchases
The official RuneScape game finally released after months in beta. The game itself isn’t new. It’s simply a mobile portal into RuneScape, a game people have been playing for approximately 20 years. The UI is constructed for mobile use and you play with all the same players as you do on PC. Customizing the HUD is a bit of a pain and the whole experience takes some getting used to. Otherwise, it’s basically RuneScape. Despite its extended beta run, the game does still have bugs. The developers have been doing this for 20 years, though, so we expect it to improve and stabilize over time.
If we missed any great Android app or game releases, tell us about them in the comments or email us at email@example.com.
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