Welcome to the 243rd edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the big headlines from last week:
- Pokemon Go players are helping Niantic more than they know. Niantic CEO John Hanke told Reuters as much earlier this week. Apparently, player activity is generating AR maps for future games in Niantic’s pipeline, including Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. The goal is to open the data up for other developers for AR map use as well. Hit the link to learn more!
- Chainfire announced end-of-life for many of his root apps this week. His Google+ post outlines a new project that is taking up a lot of his time. Between that and Google’s continued muzzling of the root community, he just isn’t as into it as he used to be. The announcement doesn’t affect SuperSU. Chainfire handed that over to another team a while ago. However, others like FlashFire, are on the chopping block.
- Google announced the winners of the 2018 Google Play Awards at Google I/O 2018 this week. The winners include Be My Eyes for Best Accessibility, BBC Earth: Life in VR for the Best AR or VR Experience category, and Khan Academy for the Best Social Impact. Other winners include Flipkart, Old Man’s Journey, Empires and Puzzles, and Simple Habit. A few of these are older apps, so we’re a bit disappointed that we didn’t see more recognition for newer work.
- Google Assistant stole the show at Google I/O 2018 this week. We expected as much because Google is very proud of their AI. However, the big demo that everyone is talking about is Google Duplex. This new feature lets Google Assistant place actual phone calls for you. It can schedule appointments, order pizza, and other things. Some people are very uncertain about this one. We are a little bit as well. However, the idea of having a robot place your calls for you is kind of cool in theory. Hit the link to check out our hands-on!
- Google I/O 2018 also held plenty of other announcements for apps and app developers. Included are huge updates coming for Google Photos, Google Maps, Gmail, ARCore, Android Auto, and most of Google’s other apps. That also includes binary support for Gboard for the physically impaired, Google Lens updates, a new ML Kit API for developers that want machine learning, Slices, App Actions, and a ton more. Way too much to put in a roundup like this. We linked to our Google I/O 2018 tag page where you can find all of the neat new stuff announced at I/O 2018!
If we missed any big Android apps or games news, updates, or releases this week, tell us about them in the comments! Check back next week for more!