Welcome to the 253rd edition of Android Apps Weekly! Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- Google is holding its first Android Dev Summit in three years. The event includes fireside chats, in-depth technical sessions, a keynote speech, and a lot more information for Android app developers. It runs from November 7th to November 8th. We imagine topics to include things like the Android Studio, SDK tools, programming languages, and stuff like that. Most of the consumer-friendly stuff aired at Google I/O earlier this year. Still, it’s nice to see Google sitting down with the developers again to help the industry move forward.
- PUBG Mobile got into some trouble this week. They featured a new mask design that offended people in Korea. The mask referenced some pretty brutal stuff back in World War II. It’s kind of weird, though. It’s a war game where people hunt each other down and kill each other. However, the developers acquiesced to the request to remove the items from the game. They are no longer available and PUBG Mobile devs promise a more sensitive approach in the future.
- Kingdom Rush is one of the most popular tower defense franchises on mobile. The fourth one is coming soon. Ironhide published a trailer this week for the fourth game. It doesn’t show a whole lot of content. You see some landscapes and then an evil looking creature with a cape. We’re guessing that’s a final boss of some sort for the upcoming game. Kingdom Rush: Vengeance has no release date right now. However, it should be among the best tower defense releases of the year when does launch.
- YouTube Music is steadily improving. YouTube Music’s support forums held clues to future developments of the app. Some of the alleged features include better audio quality (up to 256kbps HE-ACC, which still isn’t great), Sonos support, Android Auto support, SD card support, and better controls for shuffle and playlists. Of course, these won’t make YouTube Music better than competitors. However, it will help bring them current with them. The audio quality improvement should be good, but there are better codecs available. However, any progress is positive progress.
- The EU hit Google with a $5 billion fine this week. The fine is very similar to the one Microsoft had years ago. The EU accuses Google of stifling competition by forcing OEMs to pre-load tons of Google apps. This allegedly prevents competitors from doing well in the space. The argument goes both ways. Google does have ridiculously high market share on most things. Pre-loading all those services just to get access to the Google Play Store definitely helped those numbers. However, it is Google’s property and OEMs don’t have to use it. Google plans to appeal the fine. We’ll keep you updated as we learn more.
Sky Rusher is a simple runner-style game. It's quick, somewhat difficult, and generally easy to learn. You fly forward as quickly as possible while avoiding obstacles. That's basically it, really. The free version has ads. The premium version does not. Some players lamented the control scheme and the game asks for a ton of permissions. Those worried about stuff like that may want to avoid this one. The game is fun, though, but it's just a time killer.
Calculator Plus is a new calculator app, obviously. It's actually a fairly basic calculator. It comes with basic stuff like arithmetic. You also get some logarithmic functions, trigonometric functions, degrees and radians, and more. The app also features smart corrections and you can change the theme as well. It's definitely not the most powerful. However, the app is completely free with no advertising and no in-app purchases. That's not a half bad price, honestly.
Faraway 3: Arctic Escape is the latest game in the popular puzzle series. You complete puzzles to progress through the game. The puzzles feature a variety of mechanics, including bouncing light, completing train tracks, and all sorts of the other stuff. It's a polished, enjoyable experience. There's a light story line, some new features (compared to prior games), and you get the first nine levels for free. The premium version of the game is $2.99. That's not a bad price for what you get.
Space Nation Navigator is an interesting app. It aims to teach you how to be an astronaut. That includes subjects like fitness, science, and even the astronaut culture. However, this one does have a few issues. There are some bugs and it's not well organized for the mobile platform. Still, this one has a ton of promise and it could be a lot of fun eventually. We don't recommend it right now, but there is always a few months when the app gets a few extra updates.
Life is Strange is a popular game on PS4. It received a mobile launch earlier this week. The game revolves around a girl with the ability to rewind time in short spurts. This gives her the opportunity to redo small actions for different outcomes. Square Enix launched the game in an episodic style. Each chapter costs a few bucks. The game needs some optimizations and some bug fixes. However, it's otherwise a very enjoyable experience. The console version is still better, though.
If we missed any big Android apps or games news, updates, or releases, tell us about them in the comments!