Welcome to the 314th edition of Android Apps Weekly! Here are the big headlines from the last week.
- A new Google Play Store update came out this week. The new update helps protect against predatory apps. In particular, it focuses on preventing fleeceware. Basically, fleeceware is a type of app that exists solely to charge subscription costs to users for super basic things like calculator apps or QR code scanners. Additionally, the new update adds some more protections for location data. Hit the link to learn more.
- We saw a couple of neat voice assistant things happen this week. The first is WorldGaze, a virtual assistant that uses an extra piece of hardware to detect what you look at and provide context for just about everything. The demo was really cool. Additionally, someone made a HAL 9000 with Google Assistant and a Raspberry Pi. Both stories are pretty fun.
- PUBG Mobile introduced a new game type this week. It’s the same 100-player battle royale people know and love. However, the developers add an actual survival element with frigid temperatures. Players must start fires and find other ways to restore body temperature or else they die. Plus, the game added snowboards for quick treks across the winter landscape.
- Zoom’s troubles continued again this week with two new problems. The first is a ban in Singapore after a child endangerment situation where two people got into a school meeting and sent obscene images to students. Additionally, 530,000 Zoom accounts were stolen and sold to a security firm. This one isn’t actually Zoom’s fault as it appears to be data obtained from previous breaches. Remember, use different passwords for different accounts! TikTok was also hacked this week, but it was a white hat hacker job. Hit the links for more details
- Google and Apple are working together to stop the spread of COVID-19. They’re doing it by using location data and Bluetooth LE. Basically, your phone keeps track of where you’ve been and who’s phone you’ve been around. You can then, with consent, send that data to Google and Apple should you be tested positive for COVID-19 so the other people you were around can be made aware. It’s a bit convoluted, so hit the link to learn more.
Dead by Daylight Mobile
Price: Free to play
Dead by Daylight Mobile is a mobile version of the unique player-vs-player game on PC. In short, you play either alone as a savage monster or in a team of four to hunt the savage monster. It’s definitely one of the more unique horror games. The mobile version seems to be pretty decent. It keeps the core game play mechanic intact while adding some mobile-friendly extras. Each map is randomly generated for maximum confusion and each character gets a set of perks to give them a boost. The game is new so there are some bugs and issues here and there. By and large, though, it’ll be truly excellent once the developers clean it up a bit.
Price: Free (requires Plex Pass at $4.99 per month)
Plexamp is Plex’s new music player. It works with existing Plex Media Servers and, for the time being at least, you need the premium subscription to use it. It lets you stream your music from your Plex server to your phone through a dedicated music player. The player comes with some neat features, such as loudness leveling, a very attractive UI, and a Sweet Fades transition for some neat effects. You also get a preamp, an EQ, and some other stuff. This is an excellent solution for audiophiles because you get your music in the best possible quality but you can also stream it to your phone from your computer to avoid storing it on your phone. The app is in public beta right now so expect some bugs here and there.
Price: Free to play
Idle Mafia is the latest game in the idle genre. It’s an idle simulation game with a surprisingly large number of elements. You build stuff to generate money, duke it out with rivals in the streets of town, and even steal from people. The game lets you decide what crimes you want to commit, when, and where. The game starts you out by making $10,000 per second selling candy so there is very little realism there. Otherwise, it’s a perfectly serviceable and enjoyable idle game.
Price: Free / Up to $7.49
Volume Styles is an Android customization app for your volume panel. It lets you emulate a bunch of different volume panels, including the ones from stock Android, iOS, MIUI, Oxygen OS, and even Android Oreo’s horizontal sliders. Additionally, you can further customize by showing only the volume sliders you want and you can change the colors, add in a dark mode, and even change the position on the screen. This is surprisingly popular for a customization app and it seems to work well for most people.
Aura Kingdom 2
Price: Free to play
Aura Kingdom 2 is a mobile version of the PC MMORPG. It plays a lot like most other MMORPGs with four classes to choose from, a huge open world to play around in, an auto-mode for quick quest grinding, and plenty of accessories to customize your character. This one also adds a card-collecting mechanic with 40 Eidolons to collect. A lot of people didn’t like that the game pre-loaded but didn’t actually let people play on launch day. Otherwise, aside from some lag and some bugs, most people seem to be enjoying this one. It is free to play, though, so prepare yourself mentally for it.
If we missed any great Android apps or games news or releases, tell us about it in the comments or hit me up on Twitter!