Welcome to the 278th edition of Android Apps Weekly! Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- Black Hat 2019 was a bad week for WhatsApp. The app had a few exploits show up, including the ability to make messages appear from someone else and the ability to decrypt messages over the web. The first allows users to quote others in a group chat and change the identity of the sender. The other intercepts decryption keys during the QR code process of the web version. You can hit the link to learn more about each one.
- Google Search now lets you listen to podcasts straight from the search results. You simply search for a podcast and hit the play button on the Google Search page. You then listen to the podcast as usual. Podcasts have a dedicated Google Search page for each one. It acts a sort of temporary podcast player app.
- Google Maps extended its Live View AR beta this week. It’s now open for basically everybody with a device that supports either Google’s ARCore or Apple’s ARKit. The update should roll out in the coming days and you can enable the feature in the settings. It’s still a beta feature, though, so do expect the occasional bug or two.
- Netflix was caught collecting data on some users. The app was tracking activity data to see how often people got up and moved around while watching Netflix. Netflix released a statement to say it wanted to make the experience better for folks on the go. It discontinued its testing earlier this week and no longer collects data.
- Disney is firing the cannon at Netflix this week with a new video streaming bundle announcement. The media giant is touting ESPN+, Hulu, and Disney+ for $12.99 per month for all three services. It is as you expect. You pay a single price for three services. One covers sports, the other is solely Disney content, and the third is whatever Hulu has these days. You can hit the link to learn everything you need to know about it.
Unbroken Soul is a 2D, retro-style action-platformer. Players jump around on platforms, off of walls, and around obstacles and bad guys to reach the end of levels. There are also some shooter and hack-and-slash mechanics to deal with the bad guys. The game features nine boss fights, a decent number of levels, various character abilities and upgrades, and different virtual controller setups. The runs for a very reasonable $2.49 with no in-app purchases or ads.
Yes, the official creator of Post-it notes now has an official app and it’s a note taking app. It’s actually not half bad, either. You basically create notes like you do in almost any other app. That part isn’t all that unique. However, you can move notes around on the UI in various ways to organize them with cute little Post-it note style icons. It works with handwriting or typed words. You can even export notes as PDF files, in an Excel spreadsheet, or as an image. It probably won’t usurp apps like Google Keep as the kings of the castle, but it’s a unique experience.
Top Speed 2
Price: Free to play
Top Speed 2 is a new drag racing game. It has a lot of the same features as other racers in the category. There are over 70 cars to collect and customize, a bunch of tracks to play through, a story mode, online multiplayer, and extras like leaderboards. The first game was quite popular and this one is already making its way there. However, there are some complaints from players, like the lack of a visible improvement in graphics from the first game and some other style issues. Still, it’s not a bad for a free to play title.
Steam Link isn’t a new app, but it did officially leave beta this last week. The massive update included support for over 200 new Android devices along with some other improvements. For those who don’t know, Steam Link lets you play your PC games on your mobile phone. Your computer still plays the game, but streams the game play to the phone where you can play it there. You simply connect a Bluetooth controller and you’re on your way. The app is entirely free and should work with most Steam accounts.
ROOMS: The Toymaker’s Mansion
ROOMS: Toymaker’s Mansion is a sliding puzzle game with some platformer elements. Players play as Anne, a girl trapped in a mansion of mystical stuff. Your goal is to get her out of there. The game features 144 levels divided into four themes, various special abilities, and all kinds of puzzles. The story has two endings as well. It runs for $4.99 and that’s not bad for a game with over 100 levels in it. There are no additional ads or in-app purchases.
If we missed any big Android apps or games news, updates, or releases, tell us about them in the comments! We also accept submissions for the next Android Apps Weekly!