Welcome to the 237th Android Apps Weekly! Here are the big headlines from this week:
- Google Play received a number of big updates this week. The first is a new bookmark feature for audiobooks. Another is a Smart Resume that continues reading books after something like a phone call. Finally, the Google Family Library is available in 13 new countries, including many European, South American, and African countries. Google Play Movies & TV got a big redesign as well. Hit the links to learn more!
- The Room: Old Sins is coming to mobile devices in April. It’s the fourth game in the popular room escape series. Previous games featured an arcane story line, intricate puzzles, and outstanding graphics. We expect nothing less from the fourth iteration as well. It launched on iOS devices in January 2018. The developer gave bug fixes and spec disparity as reasons for the delay. April 19th is the game’s official launch date.
- Google Play is hosting its big spring sale. The sale includes multiple parts of the site, including apps, games, and books. Some of the big names include Lumino City, Samorost 3, Monument Valley 2, Reigns: Her Majesty, and, of course, Square Enix’s Hitman Sniper. Additionally, some of the apps include Runtastic and Memrise. There are movie and TV deals in some countries (not the US) as well. It’s a great chance to stock up on some good stuff.
- Facebook isn’t using third party data anymore for advertisers. This is an effort to improve privacy in the midst of the controversy of the last few weeks. It’s common practice to use third parties for this kind of thing. Ironically, this section of Facebook isn’t responsible for the big controversy. Facebook is likely hoping that locking down user data even more helps restore some semblance of trust. This is another great reminder to read the ToS for big sites like Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo, etc. People are actually suing Facebook over this. Additionally, Facebook is under federal investigation.
- Google closed up access to their apps a little more this week. Devices that are uncertified can no longer run Google apps. Those attempting to do so will see error messages. Basically, the apps won’t let you use them. ROM developers can get around the problem by registering their ROMs with Google. However, devices that aren’t Google certified will simply not work.
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DanMachi – Memoria Freese is a new mobile RPG. It’s based on the show of the same name. It’s a fairly typical freemium mobile RPG. You collect characters, explore various dungeons, and play through a story. It also features other usual fair such as online PvP, various challenges, and more. It’s not unique, really. However, it is competently put together for a mobile RPG. It should serve well as a fun game for fans of the series. We wish it weren’t freemium, but it could be worse.
Amazon joins the lightweight app fray with Amazon Kindle Lite. It works like the normal app. People can sync books, read them, and organize their books. However, this app clocks in at roughly 2MB (according to Amazon) and should work better with patchy and slow Internet connections. Otherwise, it’s basically the same as the normal Amazon Kindle app. You can shop for books, buy them, download them, or browse the free books collection. Of course, the Kindle Lite app is free.
Pocket Knight 2 is a new action RPG. It follows the same archetype as many other mobile action RPGs. That means it has a ton of quests, a bunch of hero customizations, tons of loot, online PvP, and more. The graphics and mechanics are both serviceable as well. Players have a few complaints in regards to mechanical issues. However, most seem to enjoy the game. It’s a freemium title. Thus, beware of those typical freemium pitfalls. Otherwise, it’s not half bad.
Smart Launcher 5 is a long time coming. Development began quite some time ago. The app is out now in beta. It boasts Adaptive Icons, an ambient theme engine, app sorting, gesture support, hotkeys, and even a built-in applock. The UI looks clean and we appreciate the minimal look. It seems like this one is going to be good in the long run. The update messed with some people, but otherwise most seem to enjoy it. The app is in beta right now, though. Expect some bugs in the short term.
JYDGE is a new action shooter. It follows a fairly familiar story line as well. You play as a JYDGE. Your goal is to exterminate all of the crime, ever. The game includes customizable character growth through mods, items, and even companions. It also features a bunch of weapons, clean mechanics, decent graphics, and more. Yes, this does seem to be a slight riff on the Judge Dredd franchise with its futuristic style. This one goes for $9.99. However, it’s on sale for $5.99 right now. It otherwise has no in-app purchases or advertisements.
If we missed any big Android apps or games news, releases, or updates, tell us about them in the comments below!
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