Welcome to the 284th edition of Android Apps Weekly! Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- The upcoming Call of Duty: Mobile has a release date. The game is out on October 1st. The likely free-to-play shooter stands to make an impact on an increasingly popular mobile FPS genre. PUBG Mobile and Fortnite launched the genre to new heights in 2018 and Call of Duty may help it go even further. The game is available for pre-registration on Google Play now. Hit the link to learn more.
- Android TV is getting some fun updates with Android 10. However, it’s also getting official Google Stadia support with Android 11. We also learned of some other plans for Android 11 and even Android 12. Some other additions in the coming years include better Google Assistant support, more compatible apps, and more neat stuff for operators.
- Pocket Casts, one of the best podcast apps, received a large revamp this week. It’s moving to a free with subscription cost. The app has a previous one-time payment for its mobile apps as well as its desktop apps. The ones who purchased desktop app support get the subscription for three years. It’s an interesting move because of the company’s previous stance on subscriptions and freemium content. The app is now free for most of its features and you get the whole package for $0.99 per month or $9.99 per year.
- Google does a big presentation about all of the strides they took in India over the last year. That presentation took place this last week and it was neat to see all of the improvements to Google services in India. Some improvements include features for Google Lens, Discover, and Google Assistant. Additionally, Google Assistant is coming to Android TVs with Hindi support, and you can even call Google Assistant directly. Hit the link to see all the improvements, changes, and new launches.
- YouTube ads on TVs are getting worse. To start, massive new masthead banners will adorn the front page, taking up a very large percentage of the main screen when you open the app. This usually isn’t a big deal, but you should really see how massive these ads are. Hit the link to see for yourself.
For more Android gaming news, check out our latest Android Games Weekly here!
Tropico is a city building simulator and one of the few premium ones on Google Play. You become the president of a woefully underdeveloped Caribbean island. The goal is to modernize it for the 21st century. Players must build up the nation, deal with political issues, and also deal with problematic elements in your population. The mechanics are much deeper than most free to play games in the same genre. Some of the controls are clunky, but the game is a decent port from its 2001 PC and Mac version. It is a bit expensive at $11.99, though.
Free Basics by Facebook
Free Basics by Facebook is a new app for Facebook’s Free Basics initiative. Basically, select mobile carriers give you a sim card and you can browse Facebook and other websites without incurring any data charges. Some of the sites include AccuWeather, BabyCenter, ESPN, UNICEF, and, of course, Facebook itself. It’s not a free Internet connection, it’s a zero-rated app. That means carriers partner with Facebook to provide this service to people. There are some ethical complications as well and you can read more about them here.
Saint Seiya Awakening: Knights of the Zodiac
Price: Free to play
Saint Seiya Awakening is a new free top lay mobile game based on the manga that ran in the late 1980’s. It follows the story from the manga and players can summon various characters from the series. Yes, that means it’s a gacha game. It’s not the most free-to-play friendly one, but fans of the series seem to enjoy it quite a bit. We would’ve liked to have seen fewer level-up mechanics, but the story, music, and combat are all solid. Those with some extra free-to-play game patience may enjoy this one.
Price: Free trial / $9.99 per month
BET+ is a new streaming service from BET and the Android app is also brand new. It works like most channel-specific streaming services and gives you unfettered access to the channel’s content. That includes shows like First Wives Club, Meet the Browns, and streaming access to the BET Awards as well as the BET Hip-Hop Awards. The app is easy enough to navigate and includes Chromecast support. We appreciate the Chromecast support especially since many new streaming services don’t include it. The biggest complaints we’ve seen are a lack of content as well as sign-up bugs.
This Is the Police 2
This Is the Police 2 is the follow up to the reasonably decent first game. It’s a mash-up of a bunch of genres and includes puzzle elements along with simulation, visual novel, and adventure mechanics as well. You play the role of a police officer and you deal out your own brand of justice for better or for worse. Players have to arrest criminals, deal with interoffice politics, bad coworkers, and more. It runs for $7.99 with no in-app purchases or ads. Most of the complaints we’ve seen are for some crashing issues. Aside from that, the game plays quite well.
If we missed any great apps or games releases or news in this Android Apps Weekly, tell us about it in the comments!