Welcome to the 344th edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- Google Assistant had a couple of updates this week. The first includes some improvements to its daily agenda feature. Recommendations now change during the time of day so you’ll get stuff like restaurant suggestions around dinner time. The second is a new shortcuts feature similar to Siri’s on iOS. Hit both links to learn more.
- Google and Apple are improving the Exposure API. It is now usable without an app in some cases. People can enable the feature without downloading anything specific and still get notifications when they come into contact with someone with COVID-19. This is still rolling out so Android folks still need an app, but it’s new so it should improve over time.
- Russia may force Google and Apple to take a smaller cut of app and game sales in the Play Store. A new piece of legislation in the country may cap the amount the companies can ask for to 20% from 30%. This lets developers keep more of their earnings and the government says it’s for developer support.
- Amazon Music received a new feature this week. It now includes Twitch streams from music artists as part of its library. This is similar to features already available in YouTube as well as Spotify and Apple Music. This is a great idea since so many artists are live streaming instead of touring due to the pandemic. The update is rolling out now for those interested.
- India pulled the trigger on another round of Chinese app and game bans. The ban includes 117 apps and games from China, including PUBG Mobile and most of APUS’ apps. Those apps join the 59 already banned, including WeChat, TikTok, and others. Hit the link to check out the full list.
PulledOver is a resource for folks who are afraid of being pulled over by the police. It includes a lot of desirable features all in one place so scared people don’t have to keep switching between various apps. The features include a notify button that notifies a person you care about that you’re being pulled over. Additionally, there is a video record feature, and the videos are uploaded for viewing by the PulledOver community if you want. This is obviously in response to the turmoil in the US right now and even if you don’t agree with that stuff, it never hurts to have an app handy to protect you just in case.
Price: Free to play
Trivia Cars is a neat spin on the trivia genre. Players compete head to head to answer questions. Correct answers move players toward a finish line in a race while missing a question causes you to wreck your car and start over. The game also includes weekly PvP events, various unlockables, and over two million questions. The questions are user generated so they aren’t always worded well. Additionally, the game has some connectivity issues and it affects the game’s energy system in a negative way. Still, it’s new so some bugs are to be expected and the idea is kind of fun.
Take Care of Yourself
Take Care of Yourself is a new app from Philips that focuses a lot on taking care of yourself. It has a variety of tips and tricks along with articles and other stuff about getting better sleep, dealing with stress, and managing your bad habits. You select the kinds of things you want to work on and the app sends you little to-do lists, reminders, and notifications to remind you to do it. It’s a bit boring in terms of app design and functionality, but the app’s heart is in the right place.
Price: Free to play
Zoo Guardians is a simulation game where players build and maintain a zoo. You can build various exhibits and keep various animals there. The game encourages you to care for them and make sure they’re at peak wellness at all times. The game really hammers on the ins and outs of zoology and taking care of endangered species. Additionally, it has some augmented reality features to interact with animals. Of course, there are things like missions and objectives to complete as well. The game has some loading issues, but we expect those to clear up sooner rather than later.
Firefox released a huge revamp of its Android app this week. It’s very similar to when Mozilla redid the Firefox desktop browser when they released Quantum last year. This release, dubbed “Daylight”, includes a massive revamp of the UI, enhanced tracking features, and it integrates some of the more desirable features of Firefox Focus into the privacy mode. Some other features include an easier toggle for day and night modes, enhanced picture-in-picture features, and a revamped extensions experience. You can read about all the new features in the company’s official blog post here.
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If we missed any big Android apps or games news or releases, tell us about it in the comments below.