Welcome to the 272nd edition of Android Apps Weekly! Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- Microsoft has some big plans for Microsoft Edge. For starters, it’s replacing EdgeHTML for the much more popular Chromium. Microsoft claims the change helps them release more updates and work better cross-platform. The good news is that it might allow some serious developments like support for MacOS. However, it also means that Chrome has gobbled up yet another competitor. Opera also uses Chromium as a base for its operation too. In any case, you can hit the link to learn more.
- Google’s chat apps are having a pretty bad week. Google Hangouts is turning into a chat platform similar to the likes of Slack or Discord. The change should take place by 2020. It was once a couple of features away from being the iMessage of Android so it’s a staggering change. Then, Google announced the shuttering of Google Allo. Google is transitioning many of the features to Android Messages, an SMS app with RCS support. It seems like Google believes RCS to be the future. Those are two more Google social platforms to bite the dust in 2018 along with Spaces and Google+.
- Epic Games had an exciting week. Fortnite received a new game feature. There is now a creative mode similar to the creative mode in Minecraft. Additionally, the company announced a competitor to Steam and the Google Play Store. The Epic Games Store houses PC and mobile games in the same place. This could be a big deal because no other store covers both platforms. It’s also not a half bad idea with how many indie games get both PC and mobile releases. We’ll see how that goes.
- Google announced Hummingbird officially this week. The Hummingbird platform is a simple idea with a complicated execution. It lets developers build a single app that runs on a variety of platforms, including iOS, the web, and Android. All-in-one toolkits are usually bogus with support for a single platform with a few features for a second. Hummingbird has the opportunity to be the first of its kind to not be awful. Hit the link for more details!
- Google announced its picks for the best of 2018 in the Google Play Store. There were a lot of winners across a range of categories, including PUBG Mobile (fan favorite and best game), YouTube TV (fan favorite), Avengers: Infinity War (fan favorite), Drops (best app), Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff (best ebook), 12 Rules for Life by Jordan B. Peterson (best audiobook), and The Walking Dead (best TV show). You can hit the link to see all of the selections and check them out on Google Play!
Gorogoa is a new indie puzzle game. It features elements similar to Noodlecake Games’ Framed series. The game features a bunch of comic book style panels that players arrange and combine into a full story. It features hand-drawn graphics, a fun story line, and simple mechanics. The game itself is fairly fun to play. However, the carefully crafted animations and story are the real story here. Those who enjoy thoughtful narratives should enjoy this one quite a bit. The game is a little bit short, but most people don’t seem to mind. It runs for $4.99 with no in-app purchases or advertisements. This is also from the same developer of Florence, a slice-of-life narrative game.
Yahoo Play is the latest app from, well, Yahoo. It’s a pop culture app and has tons of celebrity, pop culture, and entertainment stuff. It also does a bunch of other stuff. At its core, it’s a news app with news about the pop culture scene. However, it also includes original video series along with trivia and quiz games. There is honestly quite a bit to do in this app. However, it does suffer from bugs and slow load times. It definitely needs some work. This could be fun for those enjoy entertainment, but we recommend maybe waiting a bit until Yahoo sorts out the issues.
Command and Conquer: Rivals saw its global launch earlier this week. It’s a duel-style battle game. Players choose a hero, build an army, and battle other players online in one versus one battles. The game mechanics also include strategy elements as well. Players must control the battlefield and resupply their troops in order to win. Of course, your army is customizable as well. The game has some serious balancing issues right now. Low level players get matched up with players significantly more powerful and it’s a little annoying. Otherwise, it’s actually not a half bad game.
Google’s yearly Santa tracker app is live in the Play Store as well as on the web. It has about the same content as it did last year. That includes a bunch of kid-friendly min-games, a countdown timer to the big day, and some other little bits of fun. The app then tracks Santa on Christmas Eve to the delight of young children. The min-games aren’t awe inspiring or anything, but they’re good enough for most younger kids. It’s a colorful, fun way to track Santa every year. It’s also entirely free with no ads or in-app purchases. Thanks, Google!
Absolute Drift is the latest game from Noodlecake Studios. It’s a decidedly mobile game with a racing theme. Players drift around corners, avoid obstacles, and collect little red balls for points. The game isn’t fast, but it’s surprisingly intense anyway. Plus, there’s a relaxing soundtrack to bring it all together. The game also features six cars, three game modes, a night mode, leaderboards, and even Bluetooth controller support. It costs an extremely reasonable $2.99 and has no ads or additional in-app purchases. What’s not to like?
If we missed any big Android apps or games news, updates, or releases, tell us about in the comment section below! Also, check out our weekly podcast here!