Welcome to the 319th edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- Facebook purchased Giphy this week for $400 million. Facebook plans to extend its functionality within its services, specifically Instagram. The move makes sense because half of Giphy’s traffic comes from Facebook and half of that traffic comes from Instagram. A ton of other companies use Giphy’s API (such as Slack, Discord, Twitter, etc). For now, Facebook says everybody gets to keep access and everything should stay the same.
- Netflix is slowly returning to normal. The company is returning normal streaming quality to customers in Europe this week as the pandemic starts to slow down a little bit. The move affects people in Denmark, Norway, Germany, and other markets. Netflix is working with other Internet ISPs to improve quality to other people as well. The company also announced a cleaning of its inactive profiles. Those who haven’t used Netflix in over year may get their subscription canceled automatically. Hit the various links for more details.
- Strava, the popular fitness app, removed a few big features from its free version this week. The first is full leaderboards for various times. Free users can only see top tens in those categories now. Additionally, all 44,000 apps with integration with Strava lost leaderboard access as well. Free users can no longer access the “People I’m following,” “My results,” or “This year” segment breakdowns either. Hit the link for more details.
- Google Play Music to YouTube Music transfers are taking longer than expected. Google announced an early transfer program for folks who want it done now or people can wait for the official transfer tool to roll out later. People who sign up get moved up the list and may receive access sooner than most. Hit the link above for more details. A lot of folks still aren’t happy with the change, though, as over 40% of our readers say they don’t actually want to.
- Google and Apple launched the exposure API this week to the public. The two tech giants issued a massive rule book a few weeks ago and the apps with it have to follow those rules or API access is revoked. Google says several US states as well as 22 countries across five continents are using the API in apps to help track the COVID-19 outbreak.
Frontier Justice – Return to the Wild West
Price: Free to play
Frontier Justice – Return to the Wild West is a town building simulator with a Wild West theme. Players build saloons, railway stations, hotels, stables, and stuff like that. The town building is most of the game play but there are some other elements as well. You can hunt for animals, raise horses, duel people in town, and take bounty jobs as well. It probably would be better if they has focused around the mini-games and made the town building part the mini-game, but it is what it is. The game is a little above average and it should do well to pass the time for a little while.
Price: Free / ????
TruePick’s is an Android customization app with a ton of promise. It’s broken up into two main categories. The first is the wallpaper provider side. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before, but it has a decent selection of wallpapers for an app this new. You can set backgrounds and browse through various categories. The real story, though, is the setups portion of the app. That section shows you some nice looking home screen setups and then tells you the launcher, wallpaper, icon pack, and whatever other elements are necessary to achieve the effect (usually KWGT) along with credit to the creator of the setup. You simply tap each element in the list to install the appropriate app from the Play Store. This app is still insanely new so there are some issues. For instance, there is a premium version coming eventually so this app will cost something. For the time being, you can’t download wallpapers (only set them as your own) and all of the credits page stuff goes to Telegram when we really wish it went to Twitter instead. Otherwise, this app has potential as long as it keeps expanding with new content.
Virtual Sim Story: Dream Life
Price: Free to play
Virtual Sim Story: Dream Life is a life simulator similar to The Sims but with some extras. This one lets you buy clothes, adopt pets, and do all the usual life sim stuff. However, there is also a mystery brewing on your little island and you must figure out everything that’s happening. The story element adds something extra to the usual sim experience and there are some good social elements here as well. Most of the complains revolve around making money in-game and there are some elements players can’t control that they really should be able to control. It’s not perfect, but it’s good to kill some time.
Action Blocks is a new Google app and an add-on for Google Assistant users. It takes common commands and puts them on the home screen with icons. Thus, you can have it do a thing immediately with the tap of a button instead of asking it every single time. Google markets the app as an accessibility feature for folks with disabilities, including dementia, autism, cognitive dysfunction, Parkinson’s Disease, etc. However, basically anyone can use it if they want to. It worked fine in our testing, but some people have reported bugs here and there so it’s not the cleanest experience yet.
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc Anniversary Edition
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is the first game in the Danganronpa series and the Anniversary Edition is a full port of the game for mobile. For the uninitiated, Danganronpa is a visual novel series with mystery, thriller, and horror elements. A bunch of high school kids end up in a class where the rules are simple. One of them must murder one of their other classmates and get away with it to win the game. Yeah, it’s one of those kinds of games. The controls were redone specifically for mobile and all of the content is there in all of its glory. It’s a bit expensive at $17.99, but at least there are no additional in-app purchases to mess things up.
Check out these Android app and game lists too:
- 10 best Android customization apps
- 10 best life simulator games for Android
- 15 best simulation games for Android
- 10 best accessibility apps
- 10 best visual novel games for Android
If we missed any big Android app and game news, updates, or releases, tell us about it in the comments or hit me up on Twitter!