Welcome to the 257th edition of Android Apps Weekly! Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- Google is apparently always tracking your location history whether you like it or not. There is a popular setting that allegedly turns the location tracking off. It does, but not all of it. Other apps like Google Search, Maps, Find My Phone, and other services still track your location. Thus, in a roundabout way, the setting is much less useful than people envisioned. They updated the verbiage on the site for clarification. It does help clarify, but it doesn’t make the situation much better. It’s not a serious deal, but it’s definitely something that privacy advocates should look into. Hit the link above for more details!
- Wear OS is getting some changes soon. Most Wear OS apps just launch on Google Play. There is an optional review process to make sure it works well on most Wear OS devices. It’s been an optional review up until now. That is changing starting March 4th, 2019. The goal is fairly obvious. Google wants more stable, better Wear OS apps for its platform. That’s totally understandable. Wear OS has no OEM skins. However, the app side of things is still a little bit wild. The review process may slow down updates and such. However, it should also introduce stability and a little more order for the chaos.
- Twitter’s big API change occurred this week. Apps won’t work too differently than they used to, though. The changes prevent apps from live streaming tweets and true push notifications. However, most people don’t actually use live streaming tweets and most developers are clever enough to bypass the push notifications problem. Thus, the vast majority of third party Twitter apps should function fine after the change. Hit the link to learn how the APIs changed according to Luke Klinker, developer of Talon for Twitter.
- Fortnite launched officially to beta this week. However, PUBG Mobile hit some milestones as well. The popular battle royale shooter hit the 100 million downloads mark this week. That is in the West only and does not include China, Japan, or Korea. The company also announced a new esports event, the Player Well Known Invitational. The PWK pits players against each other to find the best. The event kicked off yesterday (August 17th) and runs for a few days. You can catch the live streams on Twitch. It’s nice to see PUBG Mobile continuing to succeed in the face of its largest competitor’s launch.
- Freemium game fans get a little crazy sometimes. However, few get as crazy as Adam Winger. Winger, from Utah in the United States, embezzled tens of thousands from a library to fund his Game of War habit. Winger was in charge of library funds via an Amazon account. He’d buy gift cards, used them to buy Amazon coins, and used those to improve his standing within the game. He got away with it for a while. However, internal audits eventually uncovered the embezzling. The city brought criminal charges against Winger for all of it.
Potion Explosion is a newer crafting game. You take a bunch of resources, mix them together, and see what happens. It's very similar to the board game version of this title. The game includes a solo mode with three difficulty levels, an online multiplayer mode, and plenty of strategy elements. There is also a DLC add-on for more content. This is otherwise a premium game. You pay for it just the one time or twice if you buy the DLC. It has a few early bugs, but it's otherwise a fun experience
Gym Exercises is a rare new fitness app that is entirely free. It's basically an app version of an exercise directory. It lists all kinds of exercises for legs, torso, arms, back, and many other areas. Some other features include a variable rest timer, cloud syncing, and exercise tracking. You can create customized workouts as well. The UI is decent enough. We didn't get lost during our testing. It's really not half bad for its price tag. There are some advertisements, though. They aren't too bad.
Madden NFL Overdrive isn't technically a new mobile game. It's a revamp of the 2017 mobile Madden game. Thus, a lot of the elements are similar. You play actual football, you collect various characters, and you compete online with other players. That much hasn't changed. The graphics are also very above average for a mobile game. This should be decent for fans of the sport. However, it is an EA mobile game and that means there are a ton of superfluous in-app purchases. We don't recommend this to people who don't have patience for that kind of stuff.
Pixel Shortcuts is an interesting customization app. Its mostly for Google Pixel owners with Android 9.0 Pie. It helps load apps that don't usually appear in the app drawer for whatever reason. This is mostly useful for stuff like Digital Wellbeing, an app available in the settings but not the app drawer. It won't enter you into the beta, but it makes the app easier to find once you have it. This one is completely free with ad support. It worked well during our limited testing.
Fortnite officially launched on all of Android this week, kind of. Samsung device owners can download the game right now from the Galaxy Store. Everyone else can sign up for the beta on Epic Games' website. The popular battle royale features massive multiplayer matches, a crafting system, decent controls, decent graphics, and more. However, this is the official way to make it widely available. Don't forget to reset your security settings when you're done downloading the game!
If we missed any big Android apps or games news, releases, or updates, tell us about them in the comments! Check back next week for more!