Welcome to the 280th edition of Android Apps Weekly! Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- A few beauty apps on the Play Store have some explaining to do. The apps apparently showed pornography-laden advertisements and stole user photos according to a report by Trend Micro. There were some other troubling issues as well, including hiding their own icons from the app drawer to make uninstalling them more difficult. Some of these apps have over one million downloads. It’s not quite malware, but it’s definitely seedy behavior. Hit the link to see the full list of apps.
- Unicode revealed the next wave of emojis this week. Included are a yawning face, a deaf person, a guide dog, a falafel, a Hindu temple, a drop of blood, and a bandage. There are some other tools, foods, and people style emoji on the list as well. Thankfully, this year seems to be bereft of anything offensive or controversial, like when they turned the gun emoji into a water pistol. The full list of new emoji are at the link if you want to see them.
- Nintendo announced a new Dr. Mario game this week for mobile. We know a little bit about it already. It’s a free-to-play game with microtransactions. In addition, it should keep most of the core game mechanics of the original Dr. Mario series and that’s good news. Nintendo is partnering with Line for this one. We’re talking about Line the messaging service. Both companies plan to develop and operate the new Dr. Mario game. It should launch during the summer of 2019.
- Facebook Messenger added an unsend feature this week. It works like how you would expect. You can send a message and delete that message for everyone if you want to. There are some limitations. They include a ten minute time limit, the inability to delete anyone else’s message, and Facebook keeps the message for a while even after deletion. That means if it’s been longer than ten minutes or someone copy and pastes your message back into the message thread, it’s there forever. We have a tutorial on how it works here.
- Google launched two new apps for accessibility this week. They are Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier. Live Transcribe is an app for the deaf. It specifically listens on behalf of deaf people and transcribes what other people say so that deaf people can read it. It also seems to work well vice versa. Sound Amplifier lets users tune the tones coming out of their devices. This helps people who have difficulty hearing certain frequencies to either amp those frequencies up or lower them as needed. The Sound Amplifier app needs wired headphones to function. Hit the link to check out our hands-on with these apps.
PPKP is an action-arcade game with beat 'em up elements. You traverse 2D levels and beat up the bad guys. The main part of the game is fairly straightforward with easy controls. There are also some mini-games and extras in the game to add a bit of variety and fun. You can also upgrade your character with stronger abilities over the course of the game. It's not the deepest game we've ever seen. However, the game is a fun little time killer. Those who enjoy retro games may enjoy this one quite a bit.
App Tiles is a newer Android customization app. It basically lets you turn any app into a tile in the Quick Settings. That's basically it. You open App Tiles, select the app that you want in your Quick Settings, and this app puts it there. You can then move the apps to the top of the Quick Settings. That makes them easily and quickly accessible in the Quick Toggles section when you first swipe your notifications down. You obviously need a newer version of Android for it. The app is also free with no in-app purchases.
Revolve8 is a new card-dueling game from SEGA. It follows a lot of the game mechanics of other card-dueling games like Clash Royale but with its own unique twists. The game uses a fairy tail story line to populate its world with characters and ideas. Summoning characters in the game requires ink, for instance, and we appreciate those little continuity touches for the sake of polish. You also get your usual stuff like guilds, leagues, and some gacha elements (card collecting). It's an entertaining entrant into the genre for sure.
Newton Mail made its triumphant return as part of Essential's product services this week. It retains all of its features, including a read counter, an integrated calendar, a bunch of plug-ins, support for most email clients, an email scheduling service, and a tidy inbox feature. The UI is easily one of the top two or three best in any email app and much less cluttered than apps like Gmail. It's one of the best of the best as long as you can stomach that $49.99 per year subscription fee that, unfortunately, made its return along with the email app itself. We'll update our best email apps list to re-include Newton soon.
Tony Hawk's Skater Jam is one of the most anticipated games of 2019 so far. It features graphics, mechanics, and controls like the early Tony Hawk games. You skate around parks, perform various tricks, and complete various challenges. The game also features tournaments, move combos, a level-up system, and some skater customization. For instance, you can choose street, park, or vert style skating and play from there. The game has some bugs and more than a few people are unhappy about the lack of hardware controller support. However, we consider these early issues. The game should be pretty excellent in the long run. This isn't Maple Media's first skateboard game and the other ones are quite good as well.
If we missed any big Android apps or games news, releases, or updates, tell us about them in the comments! You can also click here to check out our latest podcasts!