Welcome to the 142nd episode of the Android Apps Weekly show. Let’s take a look at the big news from the last week!
Some stats were released this week that showed the world’s most popular messaging apps. WhatsApp took home the crown and some apps, like Facebook Messenger, Viber, and WeChat, showed well in certain countries. Fun fact, BBM is installed on almost 90% of Android devices in Indonesia. Not bad for a service that most think is entirely irrelevant.
After polemicists went nuts over the last week, the developers of ES File Explorer have decided to roll back the update and remove the abomination that was the charge boost and lock screen advertising. There are still a bunch of cleaner features that are useless but it is a little less bloated than it was before and, hey, score one for the Internet!
After a wildly successful launch, new stats have been thrown out there that suggest that Miitomo isn’t doing as well as it was a month ago. The stats show that download numbers of Miitomo have slowed to a crawl, and only about 25% of people who have downloaded the app open it up on a regular basis. This has some concerned about Miitomo’s longevity.
Last week we told you that Pokemon GO was accepting sign ups for their beta. Well, this week the beta went live. People are getting invites that signed up for the beta and you may be lucky enough to snag a beta invite if you signed up. We imagine the game will be coming out sometime in the coming months, so keep your eyes peeled!
Google is working on a very ambitious project that would remove the need for passwords from apps by 2017. The idea is to use various metrics and sensors along with the Trust API to determine if you are who you say you are. There will be varying security levels depending on the type of app that needs a password, but it seems like the really big stuff will require a bit more than just being in the right GPS location. We’ll know more later this year.
Romancing SaGa 2 is an RPG that was released all the way back in 1993 in Japan only. This last week, the game was released on mobile along with PS Vita and this release included English translations for the first time ever. You’ll play as the Emperor and it’s your job to build up your kingdom and defeat the Seven Heroes that have turned into demons. The game also features new classes, a new game+ mode, and some additional game play features. It’s quite expensive at $18, but that’s pretty normal for a Square Enix release.
Once upon a time, foobar2000 was one of the best audio players on PC. It was lauded for its simple interface, lightweight nature, and support for various codecs. Now, the retro audio player is available on Android. It features a very simplistic design that, we admit, would’ve looked better with some Material Design added in. It supports a variety of formats including flac, Musepack, and others. It’s free with no in-app purchases which definitely makes it worth a try, but do beware that they’re still working on it and there are some bugs.
[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
Crashing Season is a game that is known as a closed runner. It has some charming 3D graphics and you’ll play as a bunch of different animals as you run around, survive wave after wave of bad guys, and defeat bosses. The game includes unlockable content like more animals, boosts, power ups, and accessories. Given that it is a freemium game, you can probably guess that a lot of that can be purchased with real money if you want it bad enough. It’s a fun little time waster and there is even multiplayer support.
Science Journal is a little known Google app that was released during Google I/O. The idea is that it allows you to use to the sensors in your phone or you can connect outside sensors and then use the app to record data, test results, and perform actual, scientific experiments and research. Like most Google apps, this one is entirely free and steeped in a heavy dose of Material Design. It’s a great app for students especially and you can find out more by going to makingscience.withgoogle.com.
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is an adventure game where you play as two kids who are on a quest to find some Water of Life to save their ailing father. In the game, you’ll have control of both brothers simultaneously most of the time which means this is one of those few games that actually plays better on a touch screen than with a controller. The story is emotionally charged, the graphics look good, and aside from some early bugs, it seems to play pretty well. The Google Play listing said there were in-app purchases, but we couldn’t find any.
Okay, so this week’s episode isn’t sponsored, but we did want to take a second to tell you about SmartNews. Over the weekend, Android Authority was added to the SmartNews app as a featured channel and we wanted to tell you about it. It’s a really nice news app that aggregates news from all kinds of popular, reliable, and otherwise relevant sources. Starting this last week, Android Authority joined an illustrious cast of blogs and sites and we wanted to talk about it for a sec. SmartNews if a free app that you should definitely check out!