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5 Android apps you shouldn’t miss this week! – Android Apps Weekly – Android Authority

AAW Runelords Arena screenshot

Welcome to the 345th edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the big headlines from the last week:

  • There have been a lot of questions about Incognito Mode in browsers lately. We decided to do a deep dive and find out what it’s really all about. You can read our analysis of it here and see if Incognito Mode actually protects you from anything other than just other people with your phone.
  • Three years ago, Google Maps was removed from Apple Watches in favor of Apple Maps. This week, the world’s most popular navigation app made its triumphant return to the platform. It’s not quite as powerful as Apple Maps. However, it is one of the precious few real alternatives to Apple’s navigation app in this space.
  • Samsung added a new module to its Good Lock application. The new module lets you create custom live wallpapers. It’s a pretty basic function. You choose a base image and then add effects and motion to achieve a desired effect. Still, it’s a free product for Samsung owners who use Good Lock. It’s called Wonderland in case you want to check it out and you can get in the Samsung Galaxy Store.
  • Google’s new Phone app was a pretty big deal when it first came out a while ago. This week, Google announced it would make its way to more devices outside of just Pixels. Additionally, its Verified Caller function is rolling out to users in a few countries, including US, Brazil, India, Mexico, and Spain. Hit the link to learn more.
  • PUBG Mobile is trying to make a comeback in India after its ban a while back. The mobile game quit Tencent in order to shed its Chinese app tag and make its way back onto the Play Store in that country. The company in charge is PUBG Corporation and future updates are handled by South Korean video game company Bluehole. The developers hope this gets the game unbanned in India.

Bella Villa

Price: Free to play

Bella Villa is a free to play match-three game with fashion game elements. Players go from level to level solving the match-three puzzles and then follow the story line as they progress. The game boasts thousands of stages, a house that you can decorate and build as you play, an actual story, and some unlockables as you go. It’s definitely something a bit different in the match-three space even if its free to play price tag gets in the way sometimes.

Bella Villa screenshot


SlideScan

Price: Free / $5.99 per month / $19.99 per year

SlideScan is an app for digitizing old photographs. The app lets you scan old slides. It then applies some auto photo editing magic and you are free to share or store them anywhere you want. It works fairly well. You put the slide in front of something with a backlight so the camera can see what’s on it. The app then scans the image, applies some auto enhancements, and that’s it. The app worked well in our testing, but some people had issues getting it to focus on the slide and, thus, some images came out blurry. The only thing we don’t like is that this is a subscription service for some reason. We recommend paying for a month when you’re ready to digitize your slides and then cancel when you’re done.


Lord of Heroes

Price: Free to play

Lord of Heroes is a new mobile RPG and people seem to really like it so far. The story is nothing special, but it’s well executed and the mobile RPG elements seem relatively fair for free to play players. Even the Google Play description on this one is pretty cool. It’s a message from the game director and he talks about wanting to make the game fun and not an obstacle in your life. We only tested it for a bit, but this one has a lot of promise for a free to play mobile RPG.


Yuka

Price: Free / $20

Yuka isn’t the newest app on the block, but it did recently launch in the US. In Europe, it’s a reasonably popular health app with a simple premise. You scan barcodes and the app literally just tells you if the item is good or bad for you. It’s a bit broad so there isn’t a ton of context. However, if you scan a vegetable, the app says it’s good and if you scan a soda, the app says it’s bad. So it gets the basics right at the very list. The premium version is rather expensive for how simple the app is, but we suppose it’s probably pretty expensive to keep a database for all this stuff.

Yuka screenshot


Runelords Arena

Price: Free to play

Runelords Arena is a turn-based strategy game with some RPG elements. Players collect and level up heroes, group them in teams of five, and duke it out against other players. It focuses primarily on the PvP aspect of things but there are some other things you can do. For instance, there is an idle game element where you get loot even when you don’t play along with a campaign mode and a few other game modes. It’s pretty decent, but we thought the English translation was kind of bad and the campaign story is a little unimaginative. You’re definitely here for the PvP stuff if you decide to try it.


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Android shouldn't

5 Android apps you shouldn’t miss this week! – Android Apps Weekly [316] – Android Authority

AAW Legends of Runeterra screenshot

Welcome to the 316th edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the big headlines from the last week:

  • Android handles background apps rather well these days. Adaptive battery basically shuts down any app you don’t use. Android 11 is adding to the management with another neat feature. It not only shuts down apps you don’t use, but also revokes permissions for the app. It’s a manual setting at this time in the App Permissions section of any app, but it may become automatic eventually.
  • Google and Apple launched an exposure notification API to a select number of developers this week. Most of them include health organizations, professionals, and companies. The API lets developers create apps that keep track of who you come into contact with and if that person becomes ill, they can opt to allow the app to notify anyone they came into contact with. It’s a bit complicated, but it’s a nifty idea during this COVID-19 pandemic. Hit the link to learn more.
  • Google is joining the virtual meeting space with its Google Meet platform. The app will soon be free for use by anybody even if they don’t have a G Suite account. It should roll out to everybody in the next few weeks. This is obviously in response to Zoom and its nearly weekly meltdown when it comes to security. However, the free tier isn’t without restriction. After September, the service is limited to 60 minute meetings in the free version along with some other restrictions. We’ll see if it pulls anybody away from Zoom.
  • Google Stadia had a rough launch, but it’s trucking right along. The service announced some more games coming out this year, including PUBG, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Madden NFL, and FIFA. These are all excellent additions, especially Madden, FIFA, and PUBG as they account for a very large number of players on other platforms. It may be the boost Stadia needs to get off the ground.
  • Plex made a surprisingly good move this last week. It partnered with Crackle to bring free, ad-supported movies to its service. It gives people instant access to a whole ton of movies and TV shows as long as they don’t mind some adverts to pay for it. The service doesn’t have the biggest titles, but it has more than enough good movies to keep you busy for a while. Plex users can take advantage whenever they’re ready to do so.

Mass For the Dead

Price: Free to play

Mass For The Dead is a mobile game from Crunchyroll. It takes place in the same world as the Overlord anime. It has the same premise as well. You, the player, are trapped in a defunct MMORPG and must make the best of things. The main characters from the show all make appearances as either side characters or main characters while you go off on your own adventure. In terms of mechanics, it’s a fairly basic mobile RPG. You assemble a party, do battle with the bad guys, and advance the story with a smattering of extra events and other things to do. The game also includes auto attacking and a fast forward mode for easier grinding. It’s surprisingly decent for an anime spin-off game.


Google Pixel Buds

Price: Free

Google launched the official app to accompany its new Pixel Buds product. The app is fairly basic. You can see the battery charge in the left and right buds independently along with the charge case. You can also use it to turn Adaptive Sound on and off, view tutorials on gestures and use, control Google Assistant, and, the most valuable feature, the ability to ring your Pixel Buds if you lose them. The app is free to download and use. However, Google’s execution of this one has left more than one person confused and angry about it, hence the low Google Play rating.

Google Pixel Buds screenshot


Levelhead

Price: $6.99

Levelhead is a new platformer from the same developers of Crashlands. This is one entertaining little platform game. You build levels, share it with others, and play levels other people made. It’s almost like an indie version of Mario Maker. There is a campaign mode of sorts with 90 levels by the developers as well as a surprisingly good level creation process. You can even build a working calculator. The game is smooth and the mechanics are simple. It’s also free if you use Google Play Pass, which makes it one of the best games on Google Play Pass. As usual, Butterscotch Shenanigans has a hilarious trailer for the game, visible below. This is one of the best releases of 2020 so far.


TVUsage

Price: Free

TVUsage is a digital wellbeing app for Android TV owners. The app is fairly simple to use. It installs and then keeps track of your usage over three day increments. You can view your usage, set usage limits, and it even acts as a launcher of sorts. Additionally, it comes with an applock function in case you don’t want the kids to use a particular Android TV app. The app works perfectly on an Nvidia Shield TV device, but may have problems on Mi devices and Sony TVs. It’s free at least, though, so it doesn’t hurt to try it out.


Legends of Runeterra

Price: Free to play

Legend of Runeterra is a new card dueling game from Riot Games, developers of League of Legends and Teamfight Tactics. It plays a lot like other card dueling games like Hearthstone, Magic: The Gathering, and others. You assemble a deck, duel with other players, and try to be the last player standing. It includes a mix of classic card duel mechanics. For instance, you build decks around champions and that’s fairly normal. However, the champion levels up when certain conditions are met and cards can attack the same turn they are put into play, which is not normal. It’s an interesting entrant into the genre and you can learn a lot more in our guide here.


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