Welcome to the 324th edition of Android Apps Weekly! Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- India wants to ban several dozen Chinese apps over border tensions between the two countries. Some of the apps include TikTok, WeChat, ES File Explorer, basically everything from Cheetah Mobile, UC Browser, APUS Browser, and Clash of Kings. Additionally, the country wants Xiaomi out of the country as well. It’s a huge political thing and you can read more about it at the link.
- Google Photos received a hefty update this last week. Included is a new design, new logo, and a new map view. The map view is especially interesting. You can view your photos in the form of a map to see where you took them all. It’s a pretty big update. Additionally, there’s a scam for Google Photos. Make sure you click this link to read more about it so you don’t get caught with it.
- Scammers take advantage of everything, including the COVID-19 pandemic. ESET uncovered a new ransomware scheme this week. The app (CryCryptor) disguises itself as a contact tracing app like you would see from a government. It would encrypt your phone and not unencrypt it unless you pay money. It was shut down rather quickly and no apps on the Play Store had the ransomware.
- The IRS tried to use smartphone location data to find tax criminals. The government agency purchased a bunch of anonymous location data and tried to use it to find criminals. It didn’t work out so well and the agency gave up after a short time. The data purchased was actually perfectly legal. It usually goes to advertisers to see demographic data so they can advertise better in those areas. The IRS was just using it for something else and doing it poorly.
- Nintendo and The Pokemon Company announced a new game this week. Pokemon Unite is a five versus five competitive game that plays a bit like a MOBA. It won’t have every Pokemon, but it’ll have a decent selection. Players select their Pokemon, team up with others, and duel it out with an opposing team. That’s about all we know right now. Nintendo didn’t announce a release date, a price (although we suspect free to play), or anything else like. We do know it’ll be on Switch. Android, and iOS.
ARCore Depth Lab
ARCore Depth Lab is a demo application for augmented reality experiences with ARCore. The app doesn’t really do anything productive and it’s not a game. However, it does properly showcase a bunch of the really cool (and some new) ARCore APIs. One of the examples that is particularly cool is throwing a ball down the stairs and ARCore knows where the walls are. Another fun one is the snow demo where it’ll snow on your stuff. In any case, it’s free to use and it’s a neat way to see how ARCore is slowly, but steadily evolving.
Hatsune Miku – Tap Wonder
Price: Free to play
Hatsune Miku – Tap Wonder is a new free to play rhythm game featuring Japan’s more successful Vocaloid. The game features easy controls. Players just tap on the screen at various points to light up Hatsune Miku’s concerts. Additionally, there are a bunch of customizations to unlock and you can dress Miku up however you want. Some other game play features include skill trees, boost items, and cameos from other popular characters. It’s definitely a must for Miku fans or anyone who enjoys Vocaloids.
Oto Music is a new local music player app with a lot going for it. The app supports the expected features like Chromecast support, playlists, a dark theme, a slick (and somewhat customizable) UI, and an equalizer. There is also gapless playback and some other decent stuff. The app boasts a small install size at 3.9MB and some other fancy stuff like a sleep timer. It won’t blow your socks off, but it’s a solid local music player that hits most of the right notes and it’s entirely free with no in-app purchases or ads (as of the time of this writing).
Romancing SaGa Re;univerSe
Price: Free to play
Romancing SaGa Re;univerSe is the latest free-to-play game from Square Enix. It takes place in the Romancing SaGa universe and features a new story in the franchise. This is a surprisingly F2P (free to play) friendly game with excellent strategy RPG mechanics, various characters to get, and plenty of other stuff to do. The game has a 3.5 rating on the Play Store. However, 90% of those complaints are due to an extended maintenance that temporarily locked players out of the game. That rating will go up over time.
Price: Free trial / $99.99 per year
HEY Email is a new email app with some neat features. The app works like a normal email app. You can send and receive email, archive things, and all of that typical stuff. However, you can also use the app’s many tools to keep your inbox clean and minimal. For instance, the app’s “imbox” (not a typo) only shows you important stuff and automatically sifts out things like receipts, spam, and other such things. We especially liked the ability to view all attachments in one spot and the app’s clever use of categories like The Paper Trail (receipts), Notes to Self, and Set Aside. You get your own email address when you sign up, but you have to pay $99.99 per year to keep it. Even with the cool features, that’s a hard sell since most email is free and signing up for a whole new email account is a bit of a bother. We’ll let you decide if you like it or not, but it’s definitely not terrible aside from the price tag.
Thank you for reading! Read more here:
- 10 best AR apps for Android
- The 10 best rhythm games for Android
- 10 best music player apps for Android
- The 10 best strategy RPGs for Android
- 10 best email apps for Android
If we missed any big Android apps or games news, tell us about it in the comments or hit me up on Twitter!