Welcome to the 273rd edition of Android Apps Weekly! Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- The Trump administration may make encryption illegal in the United States. Nothing is set in stone just yet, however. It’s not a debate we haven’t heard before. Encryption makes things like tracking terrorism difficult and it also makes tracking the average person basically impossible. Some government officials want it gone for the sake of national security. It would be a terrible move because it would also negatively affect people’s privacy. It probably won’t happen, but the debate makes it a little worrisome to think about.
- Google Chrome is taking a harder stance against bad ads. A future Chrome release could block the very worst ads on any web page without the need for an ad blocker. The Chrome update would block ads that use more than 4MB of bandwidth or use CPU resources for 60 or more seconds. These represent the heaviest, worst ads in the industry. Ads that bad make up one tenth of one percent of ads, according to Google.
- Microsoft is ramping up its Your Phone app on Android and Windows 10. The new update shows you all updates on your Windows 10 PC along with its existing features. They include showing photos and answering text messages. The notification mirroring is kind of a big deal because most apps that allow that cost money. This is quickly becoming one of the best ways to manage your Android phone from a laptop or desktop. Hit the link to learn more.
- Amazon Prime Day is coming up soon. However, it also let a bit of info slip that isn’t so great. Amazon basically keeps your Alexa voice recordings for an indefinite amount of time. People can request Amazon to delete Alexa recordings and Amazon does delete them. However, that data may be stored elsewhere for future use by Amazon. It’s a bit of a sticky situation. Hit the link to learn more!
- Instagram, Whatsapp, And Facebook had a major outage this last week. The outage affected video and photo content in a big way. The outage also affected Facebook Messenger. Facebook says it was a global outage and never officially announced the end of the problem. However, it did eventually subside. So no, it wasn’t just you. Everybody had Facebook problems this week.
Attack on Titan: Assault
Attack on Titan: Assault is a strategy game with RPG and action game elements. You assemble a team of Attack on Titan characters and do battle against the titans. It features a lot of gacha and mobile RPG elements. You summon characters, level them up, and use them in battles. The game avoids feeling like many mobile RPGs with an interactive battle system. Players time their attacks with taps and swipes. Thus, it gives the game a bit more of a faster pace than most others in the genre. You also get PvP elements and co-op missions to play with people. It seems to be very friendly to free players and it’s not half bad for a freemium title.
LastPass MFA is a new multi-factor authenticator app from LastPass. It joins the company’s hallmark password manager app and its existing authenticator app. It uses a variety of authentication factors, including things like fingerprint, pattern unlock, face unlock, and others. Additionally, it uses things like IP address and geolocation for additional security. The app does work quite well. However, it’s only for enterprise LastPass users and not for private accounts. Thus, the app has a lot of one star reviews on Google Play from people who didn’t previously know that. Those with private accounts should use the LastPass Authenticator app. Those with enterprise accounts may want to check this out to see if it’ll help security.
Dota Underlords launched a bit ago and it’s well underway. The game is still on version 1.0 but has had a few patches since launch. It’s a standalone Dota game based on the Dota 2 Auto Chess game type. It features eight player battles with a surprising amount of intensity. The game also comes with an offline mode with AI combatants, online PvP, a ranked matchmaking system, and even a tournament mode. A tournament mode game is like a normal game except other players can spectate the games instead of playing. It’s a fun title with a bunch of players already and it’s completely free to play. You can read more about it here!
Firefox Preview is a new browser from Firefox. It’s very early in its development stages, but it has a lot of promise. It boasts GeckoView, a new browser engine. Mozilla says it browses twice as fast as regular Firefox. The UI is a little bit different, but still very easy to use. It loaded web pages quite quickly. However, it lacks a lot of the features of the current Firefox browser, including support for add-ons. We’ll likely see most of those features in future releases. In any case, you can try out the new browser and see its speed for yourself. However, we may not recommend it as a daily browser until it catches up with its predecessor in terms of features.
Rome: Total War – Barbarian Invasion
Rome: Total War is an old PC strategy game with a mobile port. The original mobile port came out late last year. It’s a very competent strategy game and an excellent port from its PC roots. The Barbarian Invasion DLC takes place 400 years in the future from the original game and focuses on the end of the Western Roman Empire. It has all of the same basic game play elements as the main game, but with a different setting and different factions. The main game goes for $9.99, but this one goes for $4.99. Additionally, the developer has a list of supported devices in the Google Play description. Make sure your device is on that list, otherwise this game may not work right for you.
If we missed any big Android apps or games news, updates, or releases, tell us about them in the comments!