Welcome to the 244th edition of Android Apps Weekly! Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- Project Cards is getting an Android release sooner or later. This is the same game already available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. It probably won’t be as great as their console counterparts. However, the realistic racing sim may be a welcome change on mobile. GameEvil is apparently developing the game. That means it’ll likely have in-app purchases and freemium elements. That’s not great, but we’ll keep you informed as we learn more!
- Last week we told you about Google’s new News app. This week saw its wide release. The Google Play Newsstand app page is now the Google News page. It comes complete with new screenshots, new icon, and new name. Some enjoy the new update. Others pine for the customization of the app that preceded it. In any case, it’s live on Google Play now for everybody.
- Instagram is jumping on Google’s well-being bandwagon. CEO Kevin Systrom announced a new feature that lets users track how long they use Instagram. Additionally, the app will tell users when they’re opening the app just to waste time or if they had a specific intent. It’s a small thing. However, the CEO wants experiences on Instagram to be positive. This is certainly a way to do that.
- Contacts and dialer app Drupe had a rough week. A bug caused user data to be unencrypted on the company’s servers. The problem was pretty bad. Google Play took the app down until it fixed the issue. However, Drupe apparently fixed the problem and made its return to Google Play earlier this week. All should be well, although we wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to change to a different app.
- Twitter is shutting down its System Streaming API on August 16, 2018. A lot of blogs erroneously posted that it would be the end to third party Twitter apps.. However, the situation isn’t that dire. Luke Klinker (developer of Talon for Twitter) reached out and gave us the down low on what the API shutting down actually means. Hit the link to learn more!
- YouTube Music is official! Google even announced an official release date of May 22nd. That’s just a few days away so you can expect to hear about this again next week. Google Play Music users get a free ride over to the new service. Yes, YouTube Red is still part of the package. However, YouTube Red is getting a rebrand of its own to YouTube Premium. It’s a new name but it has the same features. All of Google’s music services are going to co-exist for now. We’ll let you know when that changes.
Horizon Explroer is a new ARCore app. That means it's an augmented reality app. You look at stuff with your camera. The app tells you the distance, altitude, and its location on a map. You can identify nearby monuments, landmarks, lakes, etc. It doesn't have much of a functional purpose. However, it's really fun to use. It should work on any device with Google's ARCore support. It's also free with no advertisements.
Steam Link is a powerful new app from Steam. It lets you connect your phone to your Steam account and play games. It works a lot like Nvidia's game streaming service. Your computer plays the game and streams the visuals to your phone. You connect a hardware controller to your phone and play the game from there. It's not quite useful for phones, per say. However, this technology on an Android TV device would allow PC level gaming on your TV through Android. It's a neat proof of concept and we're excited to see where it goes.
Iron Throne is a new strategy game from Netmarble. It uses kingdom building mechanics as well. You build a kingdom, raise an army, and attack your foes. It features a few different game modes for both PvE and PvP. Additionally, the various building and leveling elements keep the game feeling fresh for a little bit. However, deep down, this is another strategy game with long upgrade times that leans heavily on its online PvP combat. Those who enjoy those types of games should get a kick out of this one.
If we missed any big Android apps or games news, updates, or releases, tell us about them in the comments below and check back next week for more!