Welcome to the 310th edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- Android 11’s second developer preview dropped this week. It had a few features on the app side of things, including a tweaked notification panel, an easier way to look at the notification history, and improvements to the native screen recorder. We did a whole video about the topic here if you want to see what each improvement looks like. There were also improvements to developer APIs like Scoped Storage and that’ll have some ramifications with apps like file browsers later.
- COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on the mobile industry and that includes apps and games. For starters, the government wants to use Facebook and Google to track users to see if people actually practice social distancing. Additionally, Google is launching a website to help track the COVID-19 outbreak. Finally, there is a new ransomware disguised as a coronavirus information app. Hit the links to learn more about each thing.
- A variety of streaming apps are limiting streaming quality during the pandemic in the EU. It’s mostly because so many people are at home and there is only so much Internet to go around. The services include Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon Prime. The problem stems from so many people staying home and streaming. The infrastructure just can’t take all of it so the streaming services lower quality to ensure everyone can still use it. Hit the link to learn more.
- Google announced Advanced Protection this week. It’s an initiative to keep Android phones safer. It changes a lot of stuff on your device. For instance, it forces Google Play Protect to remain on, it prevents installation of apps from outside the Play Store, and some other security measures. You can learn more at the link above if you don’t mind sacrificing a little bit of functionality for more security.
- Finally, Google cancelled Google I/O 2020. Initially, the company wanted to do an online-only version of the event. However, with the pandemic, the event was canceled entirely. Google intends to replace I/O with developer blogs to announce new things so be prepared for that in the next month or two.
Price: Free to play
Dragon Raja is one of the most unique MMORPGs we’ve seen in a while. It has an outstanding character customization engine as well as excellent combat mechanics. The game also features a story to play through, plenty of social elements, a few different game modes, and a large open world to explore. There is definitely less of an emphasis on the RPG part and a much larger emphasis on the open world, MMO part. There are some flaws here and there, but nothing too major.
Dr. Seuss’s ABC
Dr. Seuss’s ABC is an AR educational game for kids. It uses your camera lens and viewfinder to bring Dr. Seuss to life in a bunch of interactive lessons to teach children how to read. There is a story mode that goes from A to Z along with an open world mode where players can add characters to the game through AR. It’s a neat experience overall, although a few people reported some bugs. If you try it, give it a good test run inside the refund time since there is no demo version.
Price: Free to play
RaceCraft is a little reminiscent of old arcade racers from older generation game consoles. For the most part, the game centers around its track design, racing elements, and car customizations. Players can design their own tracks with a bunch of customization and race elements. You can put in loops, huge jumps, and decorate it with various items for a fun look. There is also an option for single and two player races across your newly built track. It’s not perfect and there are some bugs. However, this one has some real potential and it’s different from most mobile racers.
Price: Free / $7-$75 per month
Vimeo Create uses a lot of bold words in its Google Play description. However, at its core, it’s a simple video editor specifically for sharing on sites like Facebook or Instagram. It features a smart editor, the ability to use stock music, and you can add things like a logo, various fonts, and various colors to spice things up a bit. It’s definitely not as powerful as Adobe Premiere Rush, KineMaster, or other mainstays in the video editor space, but it’s a nice entrant for simpler stuff. It does require a subscription to upload to Vimeo and that’s probably going to chase a lot of people away.
Price: Free to play
Teamfight Tactics is an auto-battler by Riot Games, developers of League of Legends. This is one of the bigger releases in 2020 so far. It started life as a game mode in League of Legends and now has its own mobile game. Players engage in eight-way free for all games with the winner being the last person standing. It’s a fairly standard auto battler in terms of mechanics and combat, but makes up for it by having cross-platform support for both mobile, Mac, and PC. The game is a little light on player incentive, but the quick games and addictive nature make it a fun entrant into the genre on mobile.
If we missed any big Android apps or games updates, releases, or news, tell us about it in the comments or hit me up on Twitter.