Welcome to the 266th edition of Android Apps Weekly! Let’s get right into it with the big headlines from the last week:
- YouTube experienced a rare outage earlier this week. Thankfully, it didn’t last long. However, the real news is YouTube has a beta app now. It works a lot like other beta apps from Google. You can sign up, experience new features early, test some stuff before it hits the general population, and other stuff like that. You likely won’t get too much of a different experience from the stock YouTube app. There may be the occasional big feature that hits the beta first, though. You can sign up for the beta with this link if you want to.
- Pokemon Go received some big updates this last week. Fourth generation Pokemon are now available in the game. That gives trainers a ton of new Pokemon to catch and level up. Additionally, the new update added some functionality for devices with ARCore support. Trainers can now sneak up on Pokemon and catch them more easily if they are sneaky enough. The update also makes Pokemon appear better in the real world when viewed through your camera. It’s one of the biggest updates for Pokemon Go in a while and one of the few this year that added new game play mechanics.
- We have more information about the big Facebook data breach. The initial reports showed 30 million compromised accounts. Of the 30 million, 29 million had emails and names stolen. Of those 29 million, 14 million had more specific data stolen such as birthdays and employment information. A lot of that stuff is fairly sensitive and could lead to fraud. We recommend keeping an eye on your credit scores for a while just in case. Thankfully, no one got anything like your password. So there is a silver lining there. In any case, stay on your toes just in case.
- Adobe launched a new video editing app this week. Adobe Premiere Rush is a lot like Premiere but with specific features for YouTube videos. You can start and edit projects and add stuff like transitions, animations, and music. You lose a lot of the granular controls with Rush, but the cross-platform experience is actually pretty decent. It has its own subscription in the Adobe Creative Cloud and we’re not a fan of that. In any case, Premiere Pro is still the best video editing experience that Adobe has. Adobe Premiere Rush is on PC, Mac, and iOS right now. The Android version is coming sometime in 2019. We’ll keep you posted.
- Google wants smaller app sizes and they want to help make it happen. It’s not secret that apps are bigger now than they ever were before. Some apps, like Facebook and Chrome, ask you to connect to Wi-Fi first to avoid any data fees in the Google Play Store. That’s massive. Google’s new system helps developers re-use parts of the app over and over again. It’s supposed to result in a smaller app size. The process is a little technical and we recommend checking out the link to see how it works. In any case, apps need to get smaller. Just because we have faster data doesn’t mean we want to use it on 50-100MB apps like Facebook and Chrome.
Town of Salen is similar to the board game One Night Ultimate Werewolf. Each game consists of seven to 15 players. There are two phases in the game. Players use their abilities during the night phase. Everyone then guesses who everyone else is during the day phase. Then, players have a round to defend their innocence or otherwise face the gallows. Players who are normal townspeople must flush out the evil characters or otherwise lose the game. It’s a fun little board style game.
Poco Launcher is the official launcher app of the Pocophone. Xiaomi was nice enough to launch it to the general public. It’s actually not half bad. The app comes with a clean UI, a minimal set of features, third party icon support, and some neat stuff like hiding icons that you don’t want seen in the app drawer. Xiaomi boasts a fast experience without a bunch of clunky animations or things like that. It could use a little more customization, but it’s otherwise not bad. The launcher is entirely free with no in-app purchases.
Reigns is a popular card game series with simple mechanics. You get a situation and decide whether you want it or not. This variant has elements from the Game of Throne series. There are nine playable characters from the GoT universe. Each one has its own story and set of decisions. The mechanics remain unchanged from prior titles. You simply swipe left or right Tinder style to make decisions. This game runs for $3.99 and, like its predecessors, it’s an exceptionally fun little puzzle-card game.
Hyperion Launcher is a new launcher from the developers of Substratum. It features a lightweight, stock-Android style UI with a bunch of customization features. That includes theming, third party icon support, support for fonts, and various tweaks and customizations for things like the dock, wallpaper, and other stuff. It aims to eventually be a lighter, but still very versatile launcher compared to larger, heavier options like Action Launcher and Nova Launcher. We expect true greatness from this one.
NBA 2K19 is 2K Games yearly refresh of their mobile basketball franchise just in time for the NBA season. It features excellent graphics (for a sports game), decent controls, and a few different play modes. The launch is marred with some fairly glaring issues, like a lack of game sounds or an online multiplayer mode. However, we expect 2K to improve things as time progresses. We might not recommend it right now, but check it out in a few weeks once some updates roll in. It is a freemium game and a fairly aggressive one at that. It’s otherwise not bad.
If we missed any great Android apps or games news, updates, or releases, tell us about it in the comments! You can also click here to check out our weekly podcast!
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