Welcome to the 309th edition of Android Apps Weekly! Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- The Google Play Store may get an Easter egg. It’s a simple little arcade game with similar graphics to the dinosaur game on Google Chrome. You simply slide left and right to avoid obstacles and collect things. It’s been an Easter egg type of week because of this Google Search Easter egg in honor of the Holi festival. Hit both links to check out each Easter egg.
- Google, Adidas, and EA Sports joined together to create a neat little gadget. The gadget tracks you while you play soccer and then syncs your stats to an app on your phone. From there, you sync it with FIFA Mobile to get in-game rewards. This is very similar to Pokemon Go’s hardware accessories, but it’s a little more expensive and there are more steps between the hardware and FIFA Mobile. The device itself goes for about $35.
- Last year, Google made a big deal about John Legend’s voice and its inclusion with Google Assistant. That is ending soon so enjoy it while you can. Legend’s voice is available until March 23rd. There isn’t much else to the story. There’s a good chance it was just a temporary deal to get some headlines for Google Assistant and the deal is up in March. In any case, enjoy it while you can!
- Disney Plus is finally launching in India. The official release date is March 29th. However, it looks like it’s available now via the Hotstar app if you have it. There doesn’t seem to be any extra charges for existing subscribers, but new subscribers may have to eventually. In any case, check out your Hotstar app if you have it.
- It is impossible to do both Android TV and Amazon Fire TV on the same television. A report this week indicated that Google has super strict rules for Play Store access on Android TVs and it basically prohibits forks of Android. Fire TV just so happens to be a fork of Android and, thus, Google won’t allow the Play Store on a Fire TV. It’s an interesting report, check it out at the link.
Opera News Lite
Opera News Lite is a surprisingly robust news app. The app supports news in 60 countries and various languages at the same time. That’s already rather impressive. You also get a news selection from a bunch of sources, AI curation, and optional push notifications. The app also has a download size of less than 1MB and the actual news you download is optimized to use a little network data as possible. There are some bugs here and there, but nothing too serious considering how new the app is.
Om Nom: Run
Price: Free to play
Om Nom: Run is the latest game from ZeptoLab, developers of the popular Cut the Rope series. They took their adorable little green monster and put him in an endless runner. The game isn’t too special or different from other endless runners. However, it does have most of the desirable features, including various missions to complete, multiple playable characters, a leaderboard, and multiple locations to play through. It’s also family friendly, but remember to lock your Play Store purchases so your kids don’t accidentally spend all of your money.
Firefox Private Network VPN
Mozilla is making its own VPN service. The app is in early release beta with a waitlist. However, we can discerns some of the features now. Some of them include over 100 servers to choose from in 30 countries. Some other features include no bandwidth limits, support for video streaming, and support for gaming. We didn’t get to try this one because we are on the waitlist still. We’ll probably revisit this later when it receives a wider launch, but Mozilla does good stuff so we’re hopeful for this one.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is a mobile port of the original PlayStation classic. The game features everything from the original, including the story, game play mechanics, exploration elements, and the game’s excellent soundtrack. In addition, the mobile version has excellent hardware controller support, a new continue feature, unlockable achievements, and support for six languages. Castlevania fans know what to expect here because many of them probably played this game before. However, those who haven’t are in for a retro treat that is both challenging and fun. The game goes for $2.99 with no in-app purchases or ads.
Socratic by Google
Socratic is a math app with a neat premise. You input a problem and the app helps you solve it. Google purchased the app from the developers and released it under Google’s own name. This new version works almost exactly like the previous one. You input a math problem and the app gives you a step-by-step tutorial on how to solve it. It’s excellent because you get the answer you need, but also instructions on how to get it next time. This should compete well with Microsoft Math and, to be honest, it’s nice to see the big companies get into the education space.
If we missed any great Android app or game releases, tell us about them in the comments or hit me up on Twitter!