Welcome to the 305th edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- YouTube Music has a new in feature in testing and it’s actually an old feature from Google Play Music. It’s basically the ability to upload music and keep there as part of your music collection. The feature should allow Google Play Music subscribers to migrate their music to YouTube Music as well. This is another nail in Google Play Music’s coffin. Hit the link to learn more.
- The police used a location tracking app to find an arsonist this last week. It’s a fairly entertaining story. The arsonist and his son used the Life360 app to track each other’s whereabouts and the police used that data to prove the arsonist was at the fire when it started. On the one hand, it’s a unique story. However, it’s also a little concerned that a location tracking app just gives up its data like that. In any case, hit the link to read the whole story.
- Live Caption is headed everywhere, apparently. The Samsung Galaxy S20 is set to get it and, as it turns out, so is Google Chrome’s desktop browser. At least, it seems to be based on some commits to Chrome’s open source code. The commit included the Speech-On-Demand API (SODA) and that’s basically the framework for Live Caption. However, the desktop version may end being more powerful. Hit the link to learn more.
- Gboard had an interesting update this week. It lets users mash two emoji together to make a fun, third emoji. The Emoji Kitchen feature takes the face on one emoji and superimposes it onto a different emote. For instance, you can take a smiley face and attach it to the standard heart emote for a smiley heart. The feature is out for Android users now and we’re not sure when or if iOS users get the feature.
- The US government purchased the rights to a bunch of location data from a commercial app this week. They made no effort in hiding it either. Apparently, the government uses this information to see smartphone signals near the border to investigate potential illegal immigration. However, the app does track a bunch of people, not just illegal immigrants. Hit the link to learn more.
- Google Play Protect kicked 800,000 malicious apps out of the Play Store last year before any of them received installations. Hit the link to learn how.
Price: Free to play
Lucid Adventures is a new mobile gacha RPG. You start out as a hero with all of his abilities stripped away and you help him recover all of his lost power. The game features side-scrolling battles, a story mode, online PvP, and the usual array of gacha RPG mechanics. We also quite like the ability to create a second team specifically to buff the first team. However, the game does suffer from quite a few translation, grammar, and punctuation errors and the graphics could definitely be better. The pull rates are decent, though, and as long as the game continues to improve after launch, it should be a fun one to play for a while.
Malwarebytes Call Protection
Malwarebytes Call Protection is a new app in beta from Malwarebytes. The name says it all, really. The app tries to identify and prevent spam calls and text messages. It uses crowd sourcing efforts to find the phony callers and block the calls before you ever see them. The text side of the app blocks texts from both spam numbers and also texts with suspected spam links. It’s in early access beta right now and, in the interest in transparency, I actually didn’t get a single spam call while using the app so I didn’t get to see it in action. The app is free so it doesn’t cost anything to try.
Symphogear XD Unlimited
Price: Free to play
Symphogear XD Unlimited is a mobile gacha based on the anime of the same name. It’s another mobile gacha RPG with the usual mobile gacha RPG mechanics. You obtain various characters from the show and do battle against opponents. The game officially launched on February 14th so we didn’t get to test this one out very much before the actual launch. However, there are tons of videos on YouTube of the Japanese version so we have a good idea what to expect. It should be another relatively fun gacha game for fans of the genre and especially for fans of the anime.
Price: Free / $2.99
Steno Notes is a new lightweight note-taking app. It offers a clutter-free UI so there isn’t much between you and your notes. The UI features some basic, but functional and colorful organizational features. Additionally, you can create, edit, or delete notes rather quickly. You also get a light and dark theme, the ability to organize notes with hashtags, and there is a folder system for more granular organization. The premium version is $2.99 if you want to support the developer.
Shadowgun War Games
Price: Free to play
The big release this week is Shadowgun War Games. The game was in beta for months and in closed beta for weeks before launch. It’s an online shooter featuring characters with various special abilities. It plays quite a bit like Overwatch where the entire experience is online PvP and each character has a thing they’re good at. However, the game is quite new and a lot of the future features aren’t there yet (like more characters). Additionally, some players reported some networking issues while trying to get into matches. As long as Madfinger Games keeps improving the title like with the update launched yesterday, this should be a shoo-in for a top 15 game of 2020.