Welcome to the 223rd edition of Android Apps Weekly. It’s also the last one of 2017! Here are the headlines:
- Amazon may compete with Google’s YouTube. Amazon apparently called dibs on AmazonTube and OpenTube this week through trademark filings. This seems to indicate that Amazon may be looking into a video sharing service. Of course, most of this is speculation at the moment. However, the YouTube problems could push Amazon into such a space. We can only wait and see at this point.
- Apple is doing something awesome that Google should copy. Apple is forcing developers to reveal percentages of item drops. That way users know what their odds for the good stuff. This is a great idea. Loot boxes and random drops can be potentially predatory. Many games intentionally bottleneck the game in order to sell that stuff. Some Android games, like Nintendo’s Fire Emblem Heroes already have that. However, this should be mandatory for everybody.
- Google announced a few big changes. For starters, all apps must support 64-bit by August 2019. Additionally, developers have to target a specific API by August of 2018. The idea is to prevent developers from using old API levels to circumvent new features. For instance, Facebook uses an old API in order to bypass Android’s Doze Mode. Google decided that it’s time for developers to stop that. There are also more changes coming down the pipeline.
- Zooper Widget mysteriously disappeared from the Google Play Store this week. To date, no one knows why. The developers are also not saying much. The developers have other apps still available such as Themer, their launcher. We can only speculate as to why. Apps and games have a habit of going down for a bunch of reasons these days. It’s one of the more popular widget creation tools out there.. We won’t know until the developers say something.
- YouTube is inching closer to a music service. The company locked in the proper deals for a paid music service this week. This new service will likely supplant Google Play Music. We still don’t have a ton of details on the upcoming service. However, we do know that YouTube has deals with Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group, and Sony Music Group.
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Arena of Valor is already a popular MOBA on mobile. However, it saw its North and South American release this week. It’s a five on five MOBA with over 40 leaders, multiple game modes, ten minute matches, alliances, and more. It even has voice chat. There are also three vs three and one vs one game modes available. Extra heroes cost real money. However, many are unlockable as you progress. It stacks up fairly well to many current MOBAs.
PK Fitness is a new fitness tracker app. It does the basics, including fitness tracking, goal setting, and social networking features. It works quite well as a workout journal of sorts. The app also supports some Bluetooth heart rate monitors. The app attempts to measure your effort with its various stats. It wants to eventually help you put more effort into your workouts. It’s a relatively new app. That means it probably has some bugs. However, it looks nice and it’s entirely free to use.
Sonic Runners Adventure is a unique Gameloft release. For starters, it’s a pay-once game with no in-app purchases. We know, it’s like a holiday miracle. The game plays mostly like a classic sonic game with various levels to complete, bad guys to stomp, and rings to collect. It features four locations of play, unlockable characters, and various power ups. It’s a little weird to see a Sonic game not by SEGA. However, this one is pretty good, even if it’s a riff off of an older Sonic game.
Favorites Lock Screen is a new app from the Microsoft Garage project. It shows a pretty image and a Bing search bar on the main lock screen. The app also lets you see a feed of news, sports, trends, and more. That way you get news and pretty images on your lock screen. The app also features PIN, pattern, or password unlocking, quick access to the camera, notifications, and more. It’s only available in a few countries and, rarely, one of them isn’t the US. It may be pretty good for some people.
NBA 2K18 is the latest big sports game from 2K. It features many of the same things as NBA 2K17, but with improvements across the board. That includes a better MyCAREER mode, improved game play controls, an Association mode, and more. Unfortunately, this release isn’t great. The controls are a tad buggy. Additionally, the game costs $7.99 and then also has in-app purchases. The latter is going to be annoying for its entire release cycle. However, we do hope they work out some of the bugs sooner rather than later. As usual, big studios still don’t know how to do a really good sports game.
If we missed any big Android apps or games news, releases, or updates, tell us about them in the comments! Happy holidays and happy New Year! Check back next year to see more!