Welcome to the 293rd edition of Android Apps Weekly! Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- WhatsApp patched a fairly dangerous exploit this last week. The flaw used a flaw in WhatsApp’s VoIP feature to inject spyware into people’s phones. Thankfully, a cyber security firm found the exploit before anything bad happened. The update is rolling out now, so get it as soon as you can if you use WhatsApp.
- Android Q’s desktop mode is better than we originally thought. It will support third party launchers on both the desktop mode and regular mode. This means you won’t get some bland desktop mode UI that you can’t change much. We’re excited to see what prominent launcher developers do with this.
- A new Pokemon Rumble game is coming soon. It’s a top-down beat-em-up game with some other gaming elements. It was originally beta tested as Pokeland in Japan back in 2017 and this is the official launch. The game is only available in Japan and Australia right now. It should launch worldwide eventually.
- Google Shopping is replacing Google Express. The new Google Shopping works across all of Google’s services so your shopping cart follows you everywhere. The Google Express store is still there, but is changing its name to give Google Shopping to better fit the new changes.
- Several countries banned PUBG Mobile over violence and addiction concerns. Tencent is doing something about it. A few feature mimics Google’s Digital Wellbeing. The game now tells you how long you’ve been playing and suggests that you take a break every now and then. It’s kind of weird to see a time management feature in a game, but welcome to 2019!
- The Google Play Store had two announcements this week. The first is a new feature that notifies you of apps you installed but don’t actually use. It’s fairly self-explanatory. The other is Pending Transactions. This allows you to queue up a bunch of apps or games, go to a retail outlet, and pay for those transactions in cash. This is especially helpful for people who don’t use debit cards and people in countries where debit cards aren’t common.
Artwalls is one of two new wallpaper apps for this week. This one is friendly for people with AMOLED displays. It features a variety of colorful wallpapers with plenty of black for that battery saving goodness. In addition, most wallpapers are around 6K in resolution. That is more than enough for basically any smartphone these days. The selection is a bit small, but growing.
Ailment is a rogue-like action game with retro style graphics. It's also features top-down shooter and adventure mechanics as well. You explore an abandoned ship to find out its secrets. Players can get a variety of weapons while they fight hordes of bad guys. The narrative isn't half bad either. The controls could use a little polish, but everything else worked fine for us. It's a decent little action shooter.
Drivetime is a unique premise. It's a driving app similar to apps like Android Auto. However, this one is actually a trivia game. You start it up and play trivia games while you drive. It asks questions and you deliver your answer with your voice. Thus, you don't need to even look at the screen while playing and it has multiplayer. However, this one also requires a subscription to get all of the content. We don't like that for a game like this.
Unrd is a new text-puzzle game. The name is a shortening of the word unread. The game plays similarly to other text-puzzle games in this genre. You have control of a fictional person's device. Players receive and respond to messages, view photos and videos, and even check out the fictional character's social profile. There are actually multiple stories to play through. This is also a subscription game and we're not crazy about that, but you can try out the three-day trial at least.
Abstruct is the second new wallpaper app for this week. This one has 300 exclusive wallpapers and they all have 4K resolution. The app automatically scales the wallpaper to your device no matter its aspect ratio. In addition, it has every OnePlus wallpaper from the OnePlus 2 all the way up to the OnePlus 7. The app features the work of Hampus Olsson, an artist for OnePlus. The app says that all future wallpapers for OnePlus should end up here as well.
If we missed any big Android apps or Android games updates, releases, or news, tell us about it in the comments!