Welcome to the 397th edition of Android Apps Weekly! Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- WhatsApp spent its entire week doing stuff for its privacy. To start with, it changed its privacy settings around, a needed change because those settings haven’t had a change in years. It also announced encrypted backups for even more privacy. This is likely due to the beginning of an investigation about WhatsApp’s privacy and encryption. The lawsuit alleges that WhatsApp hires content reviewers who can see messages despite the company’s assurance that it can’t see anything users send. Hit the links to learn more.
- WhatsApp also saw itself in hot water this week. The EU fined the company nearly $300 million for breaking GDPR. According to reports, WhatsApp doesn’t do a good enough job of telling people how it shares data with Facebook, hence the fine. WhatsApp thinks the fine is too big and is appealing the decision. However, it likely won’t work.
- Google Clock is still not sounding alarms. The issue began last week with some posts on Reddit. However, after a fresh update, the problem seems to be as bad as ever. A number of our readers told us they don’t trust the app for alarms either. According to our poll, only about 5% of people noticed an improvement in alarms sounding after the update. We didn’t think this story was going to continue for two weeks, but we’ll keep you updated if it continues.
- The Internet was in a tizzy last week. People noticed a Microsoft placeholder page that strongly suggested that Xbox would eventually get Android app support. Such support would be a game-changer for obvious reasons. Unfortunately, according to Microsoft, the text on the page was an error. Still, with how excited people were, you can bet Microsoft is probably investigating the idea now.
- The Epic Games war against the Play Store and Apple App Store took a big turn this week. A judge ordered a permanent injunction that will eventually allow Epic Games to put Fortnite back into the App Store. It also allows the developer to collect payments outside of Apple’s purview. This is a huge deal because it will allow other developers to circumvent the App Store as well. This change doesn’t apply to Google yet. However, the keyword in that sentence is “yet”. On a positive note for Apple, the courts did not find that Apple was breaking any antitrust laws with the App Store.
Price: Free to play
Battleship Apollo is an online PvP game with spaceships. Players start with a ship, build it up, equip it with various weapons, and do battle with one another. That’s the central premise of the game, although there are some other things to do. The game banks on players playing for a long time and has avenues for upgrades that last for a good, long time. Unfortunately, the game is a bit aggressive with its microtransactions. You can very obviously pay to advance further than other players and a lot of people don’t like that in a game that revolves around its PvP experience. It has potential, but the developers definitely need to tune some stuff to reach that potential.
Camo is an app that turns your phone camera into a webcam. The app already exists on PC and millions of people have tried it out. Some features of the Android version of the app include various filters and adjustments, compatibility with over 40 apps (including ones like Zoom), support for various video resolutions, support for all of your phone’s cameras, and the company claims to not collect any data. It’s in beta right now so there are most likely bugs. However, you can always control it from your computer as well. It’s a decent app overall, especially since phone cameras are way better than actual webcams these days.
SpongeBob’s Idle Adventures
Price: Free to play
SpongeBob’s Idle Adventures is the latest game based on the kid’s TV show. This one is an idle game, obviously. At its core, it’s a simulation game where you open a bunch of shops and reap the benefits in terms of cash flow. You use that cash flow to unlock more stuff which then generates more cash flow. It’s nothing terribly unique in the idle game space. However, the game also has collectibles, decent graphics, and who doesn’t like a game with SpongeBob in it? It’s definitely not for everyone. The gameplay is easy, but repetitive so it does get old after a while. It’s a time killer so those looking for something deeper than that are in the wrong place.
Routines is a new habit tracker app. Basically, the app helps you identify your daily habits so you can either improve them or destroy them. After a while, the changes you make become a habit and the app becomes no longer necessary except to make sure you stick with it. The app works pretty well with a good-looking UI that is, for the most part, easy to navigate. You set up your various habits and activities and the app does the rest. The app is brand new so there are probably some bugs that we didn’t find. As usual, your mileage may vary.
World Flipper is a mix between a pinball game and an action RPG. The core gameplay mechanic is launching stuff around the room to deal damage to opponents. In addition to that, the game lets you build up teams, synergize their abilities, and there is a social element with boss battles. We only played through the tutorial with this one so we didn’t see all there is to see, but it definitely has a lot of promise, especially for folks who like hybrid games. Plus, pinball with RPG elements is more fun than match-three mechanics with RPG elements.
If we missed any big Android app or game releases, tell us about it in the comments or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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