Welcome to the 468th edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the big headlines from the last week.
- Sony is working on a monitoring app for its Android TVs. The monitor app works to prevent piracy. It would basically block sideloading of apps known to show pirated content. You can read more at the link, but here’s hoping it doesn’t interfere with normal sideloading.
- YouTube is testing live TV with a small subset of its users. It lets you view live TV for free with advertising support. The service should compete with Tubi, Pluto TV, and Roku. All of those services also offer free live TV. We expect it to roll out later this year.
- Google updated its official clock app this week. The new clock app makes it easier to create a custom alarm. It records a sound right from the app and gives you the tools to make it an alarm sound. It’s not a huge update, but it makes the app more useful.
- Google Podcasts is not having a good time. Recently, it stopped showing up in Google Search results, and it’s being minimized in other areas. A Google spokesperson said these changes are normal. It doesn’t spell good news for Google Podcasts.
- Google Stadia officially died this week. We wrote a eulogy for the service, so we won’t go into huge detail here. Google also launched a tool to convert a Stadia controller to a regular Bluetooth controller but warns that it removes Wi-Fi functionality. Hit the links to learn more. Goodbye, Google Stadia.
Dragon Siege: Kingdom Conquest
Price: Free to play
Dragon Siege: Kingdom Conquest is a kingdom-builder with some extra mechanics. Players focus on building up a kingdom and then defending it against attackers. There is also the option to build an army and attack with them. The game includes real-time battles, dragons, and some other stuff as well. For example, you can also grow food, although it’s not a super-intensive activity. It’s been a while since we’ve seen a game like this one, and it’s nice to see the genre still in development.
Price: Free / $2.99 per month / $29.99 once
One Sec is a digital wellbeing app that helps you use distracting apps less often. It makes you do a short breathing exercise before opening distracting apps. Apparently, that helps regulate your usage, relieve stress, and has other benefits. We only tested it for a few hours, so we may not have seen the long term benefit, but some people do. You can try it out for free, or buy it for $2.99 per month or $29.99 as a single payment. We recommend giving it a demo and see if it works before buying anything.
Price: Free to play
Design Diary is a match-three puzzle game. The game includes a bunch of levels for players to get through. Once done, they unlock things they can use to decorate their in-game houses. That’s more or less the gameplay loop. More things unlock the more you play, and you decorate as you see fit. It’s certainly not the deepest game, but it’s family-friendly, provided you have a password for in-app purchases. It is playable offline as well, a rarity for a free-to-play game.
Myne is a FOSS app that lets you download ebooks from Project GutenBerg. For the unfamiliar, Project GutenBerg is a library of free ebooks. Myne lets you access them in app format. The app also uses Google Books as a source of book data, which is a nice touch. From there, it’s pretty simple. You download books from the library, read them, and that’s about it. The selection is pretty decent for an entirely free collection, and it’s a good source of free reading material. The only downside is that Myne is only available on GitHub, so you have to sideload it.
Price: Free to play
Sort Master is a puzzle game where you move water from one container to another. The goal is to unmix the colors and get each container full of water from one color. It’s not a difficult premise, but it does increase in difficulty over time. The developer makes the game a bit more relaxing by not giving the player penalties for failure and also allowing for unlimited attempts. It’s also a family-friendly game, and we think younger kids, in particular, would find something like this fun.
If we missed any big Android apps or games news, tell us about them in the comments.
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