Welcome to the 275th edition of Android Apps Weekly! Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- Facebook is paying for one of its many privacy scandals. The $5 billion fine is the result of the Cambridge Analytica scandal from 2018. Facebook had $3 billion set aside for the verdict so it’s hardly a surprise. Facebook needs $2 billion more but it shouldn’t be a problem for the tech giant. The fine is the largest fine for a tech company in the FTC’s history.
- Minecraft Earth is inching closer and closer to release. The first wave of beta invites went out this week. Unfortunately, the beta hit iOS devices first so Android users have to wait a little while. Testers have a week to try the beta. After that, the developers give the test spot to someone else. The game is an AR title similar to games like Pokemon Go, but with Minecraft elements instead. Hit the link to learn more.
- Google banned a developer this week for malware use. The Chinese developer CooTek had all of its apps removed. That’s good news, though, because they all had the BeiTaAd malware. The malware notably hid from Google Play’s security for a good long while before exposure from an external third party security company. One of the biggest apps was TouchPal Keyboard. It no longer exists on Google Play at the time of this writing.
- World Emoji Day was this last week and Google helped celebrate the event. The company added 65 new emoji to Android Q, including a sloth, a new dog emoji, garlic, waffles, a skunk, and an orangutan. We’ll see the new emoji in the next release of Andorid. Until then, hit the link to see all of the new emoji.
- LG is finally hitting the mobile payment market in the United States. The company launched LG Pay in the U.S. this week after years of waiting. Unfortunately, the app only works on the LG G8. We do expect support on future LG devices, though. LG Pay’s most notable feature is the ability to function on non-NFC terminals like Samsung Pay does. It could be a big deal for LG moving forward.
Cessabit is a simple puzzle game. It boasts itself as a stress relief style game so you won’t get all excited playing this one. The game features simple graphics, fun puzzles, and plenty of hints. You tap to find the various clues and hints to solve the puzzles. For $0.99, you get 24 levels, the ability to play offline, and no in-app purchases or ads. The puzzles can be a bit challenging in later levels. However, there is no violence and the game is a good family-friendly experience. We don’t know if we’d call it super relaxing, but it’s definitely a chill game.
Price: Free / $0.99 – $18.99
Ceri Launcher is a new, lightweight launcher. It has a simple UI, easy controls, and it looks different. You get the main home screen and you can customize it in a honeycomb style pattern. You swipe down from app search and swipe up for settings and other functions. It’s surprisingly clean. However, it’s not quite as customizable as some other launchers. The app is in early beta. Thus, you can expect bugs, new features, and various changes before its first stable release. The app is free for most of its features. You can pay as little as $0.99 or as much as $18.99 for the full app. The developer lets you choose.
Price: Free to play
ELGO Tower is the latest LEGO game. It’s a tower builder similar to games like Tiny Tower. In fact, Tiny Tower is by the same developer as LEGO Tower. You build your own LEGO Tower and populate it with LEGO figures. Players add various levels, make the figurines do various things, and even customize the figurines to their liking. The LEGO version is obviously family friendly, but it is a free to play game so keep an eye out for in-app purchases.
Philips Hue Bluetooth
Philips Hue Bluetooth is the latest app from Philips Hue. It works basically exactly like the normal app. However, this one works over Bluetooth instead of WiFi. That includes the built-in lighting scenarios and all of the various options. However, you do need Bluetooth-compatible lights and Bluetooth-compatible devices in order to make it work right. Those with normal Philips Hue lights should continue to use the normal app.
The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot
Price: Free to play
The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot is a newer hack-n-slash adventure game from Ubisoft. The game features one-handed touch controls, simple mechanics, and plenty of bad guys to hack and slash. Players build their character, customize it with gear, battle other players in PvP, and battle through 100 environments. There is also RPG style progression and you can pick your various skills and abilities. Most reviews like the game play elements and quests. However, the monetization strategy is quite aggressive. We hope Ubisoft tones that down in future updates, but it’s a notable flaw as is.