Welcome to the 299th edition of Android Apps Weekly and the first one of 2020! Here are the headlines from the last week:
- Android 11 might have some neat stuff. A couple of features may include the ability to take scrolling screenshots like on web pages for easier capture of more content. However, another potential feature is the ability to record video in longer than 4GB segments. We’ll learn more about Android 11 later this year but it’s nice to see Google fixing some basic problems and adding some fun features already.
- WhatsApp and Telegram had some decent updates this last week. WhatsApp now includes disappearing messages and you can click here to see how those work. Meanwhile, Telegram’s update is a bit more substantial. It includes a new theme editor, the ability to send messages when you return online, better message scheduling control, better location sharing, and support for podcasts and audiobooks.
- The Pixel Launcher is experiencing some weird problems. Namely, the launcher may not display an icon or two on your home pages or app drawer. The app doesn’t disappear or anything and the name is still there. However, its icon space is blank and that makes things look a bit goofy. Google is aware of the problem, though, and it should get a fix soon.
- Video streaming was one of the biggest things of the last decade. We took a dive in to see who the big players are and what impact they had on how we view TV and movies. Of course, Hulu, Netflix, and Disney+ are all there and it turns out that these services are killing the cable TV industry. Of course, the constant fragmentation of options is also driving piracy up, but those are the breaks. Hit the link to learn more.
- We also looked at the best and most iconic Android apps and games of the last ten years. You’ll find old favorites like Nova Launcher and Monument Valley along with some forgotten treasures like Swype Keyboard and The Bard’s Tale. We wanted to not only see apps and games that were popular, but also helped sculpt the modern mobile experience. You can read the apps version here and the games version here.
My Limit launched over New Years to give people an idea of how drunk they are. It uses an algorithm that estimates your blood alcohol levels from how many drinks you had. It’s not a breathalyzer test so it won’t be 100% accurate. However, it can give you a general idea. The app has a few flaws and doesn’t support every type of drink out there. However, it does good enough to make it to a list like this. There are some bad reviews that say the app is too difficult if you’re too drunk. We think that if you’re too drunk to use this app, you should probably take an Uber home.
War Tortoise 2
Price: Free to play
War Tortoise 2 is a unique mix of game genres. It boasts an idle shooter experience with kingdom building and exploration elements as well. You basically ride a massive tortoise and shoot at things from its back. Players build things as you wander and it all feeds back into your ability to kill more stuff. You can also summon heroes, upgrade your various armaments, and explore various areas. It’s an early access beta title so the developers are still working on bug fixes and weapon balances. However, it has a lot of promise.
Playlistmania is a social music app. It plugs into Deezer and Spotify. Basically, the app lets you create and share playlists with friends and other users. You can check out other playlists to discovery new music or build your own to help others. You simply import the playlist into either Spotify or Deezer once you find one and then you start listening. It’s a neat idea and it worked well in our testing. The UI is easy enough to understand and there are a bunch of good playlists there. We’re excited to see support for other music platforms like YouTube Music, Apple Music, and others.
Age of Civilization II Europe
Age of Civilization II Europe is the sequel to the popular Age of Civilization strategy game. This too is a strategy game and it plays a bit old school. Players use maps to intelligently deploy forces in order to take over territories. It’s almost like a mobile version of the board game Risk. You assert your dominance in a variety of ways but you also have diplomatic options like peace treaties. It’s not quite as aggressive as games like Rebel Inc, but it’s a satisfying historical strategy game with a single price tag and no in-app purchases. It usually goes for $4.99 but is currently running for $2.99 at the time of this writing.
Price: Free / $2.49
Flow Desktop is a different type of launcher. It aims to demo Android’s native desktop mode for those who can’t activate it otherwise. The app is in beta so you can almost certainly expect bugs while other features remain in development. In any case, the app lets you connect your phone to your computer and access Android’s native desktop mode. It currently only works on the OnePlus 7T and the Essential Phone, although some users report success on the OnePlus 6 as well. It doesn’t offer much over Samsung’s DeX mode or similar apps yet but it probably will someday. Keep this one on your radar.
If we missed any big Android apps or games updates or releases, tell us about them in the comments, hit me up on Twitter, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with links!