Welcome to the 286th edition of Android Apps Weekly! Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- Ad scammers messed with a lot of users. A report this last week showed that some apps stack ads behind other ads. This shows the ads as seen and the developers walk away with piles of money. This sort of ad stacking bilks advertisers out of millions of dollars. It also drains the batteries on user smartphones to a surprising degree. There isn’t a lot that end users can do about it. However, if you notice your battery life draining much, much faster than normal with any app, we recommend uninstalling it and sending a report to the developer.
- YouTube had a big week this week. YouTube TV finally reached the entire U.S. market after a lengthy and tedious rollout. Anyone who wants to try it (in the U.S.) now can. That’s big news because it finally brings YouTube TV in parity with other live TV streaming. Meanwhile, YouTube is working on its YouTube Premium subscription, including its original series. Hit the links for more details!
- Our own Adam Sinicki visited Facebook’s headquarters in London, England. We learned some interesting things about Facebook’s app development practices. For instance, the company prioritizes the most important work and breaks that work into modular pieces for the whole team to work on. In addition, it uses a heavily modified version of Mercurial for its development process. Hit the link if you ever wanted a look at how Facebook does things. Oh, and Facebook also had another security problem this week.
- The Elder Scrolls: Blades launched on Google Play this week, sort of. The game is downloadable. However, there is still a closed beta process in place. Thus, you need to get an email from the developer to get access to the full game. Those invites are rolling out right now. The full game should launch later this year. Any in-app purchases or progress made during the beta should carry over as well.
- BBC pulled all of its podcasts from Google Podcasts, Google Assistant, and Google Search this week. This is rather surprising. However, there is a somewhat reasonable explanation for it. BBC cites poor user statistics with the Google Podcast platform. The two companies met about it and couldn’t come to an agreement. You can still listen to BBC stuff on other platforms. You can also use the iPlayer Radio app on Google Home to continue using that ecosystem for BBC podcasts.
Price: Free / $3.99 per year
Atmosphere Weather is a slightly different weather app. It features a unique UI with a lot of potentially useful info, including a weather radar. You get a quick, simple 24-hour view of the forecast. The developer says that helps facilitate easier decision making about plans and a larger focus on presentation rather than raw information. It takes a minute to get the hang of it. However, it’s quite an eloquent system. You can get more information from other weather apps if you need to see all of that data for various reasons. Atmosphere Weather is a decent, simple weather app. It runs free with ads or ad-free with a $3.99 per year subscription. We have no problems with either option. We would like to see a weather widget or two in a future update, though.
Monsters With Attitude is an online brawler game with heavy PvP elements. It features PvP combat with up to eight players simultaneously. Players smash things, each other, and cause general mayhem as they fight. It also uses a size mechanic. The larger your character grows, the more damage it does to smaller players and the environment around you. It honestly plays a lot like IO games (Agar.io, etc), but with better graphics and a more fun premise. The game has some optimization issues as well as some bugs to fix. However, it has a lot of promise as an online arcade brawler.
Energy Ring is a customization app for Galaxy S10 owners. It turns the front facing camera cutout into a battery monitor. Last week, we talked about Hidey Hole. It has a bunch of wallpapers for the camera cutouts. Energy Ring has a little more functionality, though. You can lightly customize it if you want to. It doesn’t use a ton of battery and you can get some neat animations if you’re plugged in and charging. It currently only works with the S10 and S10e with S10 Plus support coming later. We’re quite happy with how the customization community has embraced the punch hole camera. It’s actually kind of fun.
This War of Mine was our pick for the best Android game of 2017. The developer still has more content for the game and this is a standalone DLC for This War of Mine. You play as a father. You try to get your daughter out of the horrors of war by escaping a besieged city. It features harrowing story line rife with difficult decisions that should leave you feeling emotionally drained. There is also a crafting, cooking, and morale system to make sure everyone makes it out healthy. Spoiler, that’s not going to happen. It’s a great experience for only $1.99.
Firefox Lockbox is a new, free password manager from Mozilla. It works like you would expect. You put passwords and usernames in the app. It remembers these and fills in forms for you on your smartphone or tablet. It syncs with Firefox’s password manager so those who use Firefox should get your stuff available immediately. However, this is very much a work-in-progress. The app has quite a few bugs, including syncing issues and auto-fill issues. It will no doubt get better over time. However, we don’t recommend you hop off of LastPass just yet, though.
If we missed any great Android apps or games news, updates, or releases, tell us about them in the comments! You can also click here for our latest Android Authority podcast episodes!
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