Welcome to the 316th edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- Android handles background apps rather well these days. Adaptive battery basically shuts down any app you donâ€™t use. Android 11 is adding to the management with another neat feature. It not only shuts down apps you donâ€™t use, but also revokes permissions for the app. Itâ€™s a manual setting at this time in the App Permissions section of any app, but it may become automatic eventually.
- Google and Apple launched an exposure notification API to a select number of developers this week. Most of them include health organizations, professionals, and companies. The API lets developers create apps that keep track of who you come into contact with and if that person becomes ill, they can opt to allow the app to notify anyone they came into contact with. Itâ€™s a bit complicated, but itâ€™s a nifty idea during this COVID-19 pandemic. Hit the link to learn more.
- Google is joining the virtual meeting space with its Google Meet platform. The app will soon be free for use by anybody even if they donâ€™t have a G Suite account. It should roll out to everybody in the next few weeks. This is obviously in response to Zoom and its nearly weekly meltdown when it comes to security. However, the free tier isnâ€™t without restriction. After September, the service is limited to 60 minute meetings in the free version along with some other restrictions. Weâ€™ll see if it pulls anybody away from Zoom.
- Google Stadia had a rough launch, but itâ€™s trucking right along. The service announced some more games coming out this year, including PUBG, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Madden NFL, and FIFA. These are all excellent additions, especially Madden, FIFA, and PUBG as they account for a very large number of players on other platforms. It may be the boost Stadia needs to get off the ground.
- Plex made a surprisingly good move this last week. It partnered with Crackle to bring free, ad-supported movies to its service. It gives people instant access to a whole ton of movies and TV shows as long as they donâ€™t mind some adverts to pay for it. The service doesnâ€™t have the biggest titles, but it has more than enough good movies to keep you busy for a while. Plex users can take advantage whenever theyâ€™re ready to do so.
Mass For the Dead
Price: Free to play
Mass For The Dead is a mobile game from Crunchyroll. It takes place in the same world as the Overlord anime. It has the same premise as well. You, the player, are trapped in a defunct MMORPG and must make the best of things. The main characters from the show all make appearances as either side characters or main characters while you go off on your own adventure. In terms of mechanics, itâ€™s a fairly basic mobile RPG. You assemble a party, do battle with the bad guys, and advance the story with a smattering of extra events and other things to do. The game also includes auto attacking and a fast forward mode for easier grinding. Itâ€™s surprisingly decent for an anime spin-off game.
Google Pixel Buds
Google launched the official app to accompany its new Pixel Buds product. The app is fairly basic. You can see the battery charge in the left and right buds independently along with the charge case. You can also use it to turn Adaptive Sound on and off, view tutorials on gestures and use, control Google Assistant, and, the most valuable feature, the ability to ring your Pixel Buds if you lose them. The app is free to download and use. However, Googleâ€™s execution of this one has left more than one person confused and angry about it, hence the low Google Play rating.
Levelhead is a new platformer from the same developers of Crashlands. This is one entertaining little platform game. You build levels, share it with others, and play levels other people made. Itâ€™s almost like an indie version of Mario Maker. There is a campaign mode of sorts with 90 levels by the developers as well as a surprisingly good level creation process. You can even build a working calculator. The game is smooth and the mechanics are simple. Itâ€™s also free if you use Google Play Pass, which makes it one of the best games on Google Play Pass. As usual, Butterscotch Shenanigans has a hilarious trailer for the game, visible below. This is one of the best releases of 2020 so far.
TVUsage is a digital wellbeing app for Android TV owners. The app is fairly simple to use. It installs and then keeps track of your usage over three day increments. You can view your usage, set usage limits, and it even acts as a launcher of sorts. Additionally, it comes with an applock function in case you donâ€™t want the kids to use a particular Android TV app. The app works perfectly on an Nvidia Shield TV device, but may have problems on Mi devices and Sony TVs. Itâ€™s free at least, though, so it doesnâ€™t hurt to try it out.
Legends of Runeterra
Price: Free to play
Legend of Runeterra is a new card dueling game from Riot Games, developers of League of Legends and Teamfight Tactics. It plays a lot like other card dueling games like Hearthstone, Magic: The Gathering, and others. You assemble a deck, duel with other players, and try to be the last player standing. It includes a mix of classic card duel mechanics. For instance, you build decks around champions and thatâ€™s fairly normal. However, the champion levels up when certain conditions are met and cards can attack the same turn they are put into play, which is not normal. Itâ€™s an interesting entrant into the genre and you can learn a lot more in our guide here.
If we missed any big Android apps or games news, updates, or releases, let us know in the comments or