Welcome to the 400th edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- YouTube Music finally made its way to Wear OS 2.0 this week. It had previously made it to Wear OS 3.0, but heavy backlash told Google that there was more work to do. It won’t roll out to every watch on the onset. To start, only the Fossil Gen 6, Michael Kors Gen 6 Bradshaw, Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 GPS and LTE, and Mobvoi TicWatch E3 get it first. The app seems like it works well enough. You can view some music stations and offline music tracks. Hit the first link to learn more.
- Samsung is removing ads from some of its apps starting this week. The first to go are Samsung Pay and Samsung Health. Samsung promised to remove more from other apps over the course of the rest of the year. The only other one we know about is Samsung Themes. The changes rolled out in Korea first. Hopefully, this change rolls out to even more Samsung apps and in more countries as well.
- BlueStacks launched its BlueStacks X platform this week. It’s a browser-based version of the app that runs in the cloud. You can log in from anything from a Raspberry Pi to your Xbox One via the Edge browser. You create an account and you can log in and start playing Android games. This is a separate release from the main BlueStacks so people can still use the regular version if they don’t like the cloud version. Hit the link for more details.
- In 2018, Google was slapped with a $5 billion fine for abusing its Android dominance. Google is still appealing the decision and is doing so in a creative way. They told the EU that the most popular search term on Bing (the second most popular search engine) was Google. It shows that Google would be the most popular even if it didn’t pair Search with Android. It probably won’t work, but it’s worth a shot.
- Researchers discovered a new type of malware. It was found in over 100 Android apps. The malware, GriftHorse, uses user phone numbers to sign up for subscriptions. It doesn’t use Google Play for it. Instead, it charges your carrier account. Google Play has already removed the apps. We have a full list at the link. Give the list a look, especially if you use third-party app stores.
Axis & Alles 1942 Online
Axis & Allies 1942 Online is a mobile port of the popular Hasbro board game. Players choose their scenarios and conditions for victory. They then try to make all of that happen. The game contains a bunch of tutorials and everything to teach you all of the rules. It also features the ability to track your stats and see how well you play. Games take place online asynchronously. A player takes their turn and then you have up to 24 hours to reply or you forfeit. There are also some mechanics like weighted dice rolls and bad luck protection. It’s a decent overall game. There was a bug that prevented the game from loading, but the developers seem to have fixed it.
Price: Free / $1.49
Sky Weatherman is a weather alert app. It works like a regular weather app with things like your forecast and stuff like that. However, the app specializes in sending you alerts for various weather phenomena. You can set it for the usual stuff like hurricanes or tornadoes. There are also options for extreme heat, beach weather, tides, rain, UV alerts, and more. It uses Dark Sky as its weather provider. However, with it closing down its API at the end of 2021, we’re not sure what Sky Weatherman is going to switch to. Still, it’s a cheap solution and it worked well in our testing.
Garena Free Fire Max
Garena Free Fire Max is a new battle royale shooter. It features 50-player rounds and above-average graphics for the genre. Players can create squads with up to four players for a social advantage over solo players. Games last around ten minutes and it features most of the same features as other battle royale games. It’s a competent overall competitor to the big dogs like PUBG Mobile and Fortnite. However, the game does have some performance issues on midrange and low-end devices. It might get some optimization later, but for now you’ll have the best experience on higher end phones.
D23 The Official Disney Fan Club
D23 is the official fan club for Disney and this is the official app for it. The app is kind of a vehicle for member perks. It lets you buy tickets, tells you when things are on sale, and gives you the latest news on Disney and all of its various properties (Pixar, Star Wars, etc). You can even listen to the D23 official podcast. There are some other little things like a camera that adds stickers, but the big part of this is managing and enjoying your D23 membership. The app is free, which is good given how expensive the subscription is for a D23 membership.
DQ Dai: A Hero’s Bond
Price: Free to play
DQ Dai: A Hero’s Bond is the latest release from Square Enix. This one is an action RPG that uses Dragon Quest themes and characters. Players form parties with up to three characters and take on endless hoards of bad guys. The story mirrors the Dragon Quest: The Adventures of Dai and the art design is similar to the anime. Otherwise, it’s a pretty typical mobile RPG. You upgrade your characters and their equipment to take on increasingly difficult opponents. There is also a Friendship mechanic that unlocks cutscenes with specific characters. It’s going to be a popular game no doubt and Square Enix should solve bugs rather quickly.
If we missed any big Android apps or games releases, tell us about them in the comments or email us at [email protected]
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