• Google announced the 2019 Google Play Awards nominees this week ahead of Google I/O. There are some excellent Android apps and Android games on the list, including Shine, Asphalt 9: Legends, Shadowgun Legends, Khan Academy Kids, Old School RuneScape, and many others. Hit the link to see all of the nominees through all of the various categories.
  • Facebook announced a number of new things this week. The first was a major Facebook redesign with a focus on Groups and Events. Facebook Messenger is also getting a desktop app, group viewing, and more new features. Finally, Facebook is creating a dating service later this year. It’s been a busy week for Facebook. Hit the link to see more details!
  • Wear OS received a new feature this week. A new Tiles widget shows users a bunch of new and useful information, including headlines, heart rate, forecast, next calendar event, and other stuff. It’s a little basic right now. However, we can see this becoming a feature that app developers can use eventually.
  • Instagram Stories is finally getting a redesign. The feature hasn’t seen a change in aesthetics in a very long time so this is good news. It should get a couple of new features along with some visual changes as well. Instagram is also making a new create mode. It doesn’t require pictures or video like Instagram Stories usually do.
  • YouTube made a splash twice this week. The first was a blog post about how YouTubewants to make the platform better for creators. It received mixed reactions because YouTube has a long history of doing the opposite of that. YouTube Music also received an audio file browser for your local music. However, it’s limited and you can’t mix local music with your online playlists for right now.

Star Nomad 2 and Nomads of the Fallen Star

Price: $7.99 each DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY   Nomads of the Fallen Star and Star Nomad 2 are new releases from Halfgeek. They are both strategy games with survival, sandbox, and RPG elements. Players scavenge for supplies, gear, and other items and there is a trading system to get those things as well. The combat is turn-by-turn strategy style without a ton of surprises. You can also level up your characters and make them more powerful. The games are a bit expensive, but strategy sandbox fans may enjoy them quite a bit.


Splash and Bubbles

Price: Free DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY   Splash and Bubbles is a companion app by PBS Kids. The app has a bunch of videos and songs directly from the show. In addition, the app syncs with episodes of the show for a more immersive experience for parents. Underneath that is a swath of various factoids about the ocean, including plant and animal life. It works okay as a standalone app, but you don’t get the full experience unless you watch the show as well. The app is entirely free with no in-app purchases.  


Reality Clash

Price: Freemium DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY   Reality Clash is an augmented reality arcade combat game. The unique premise has you hunting down and dueling other real life players in the real world. You find such players, challenge them to a duel, and then engage in combat. You can do this in the comfort of your own home with friends or at the park with strangers. Players can also fight bots in case you can’t find anyone around you. We’re not sure if it has everything it needs to make it big, but it’s definitely an interesting concept.


Pixtica

Price: Free / Up to $3.99 DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY   Pixtica is a camera app with a bunch of nifty features. Some of the features include live filters, an above average manual mode, exposure control, a slew of photo options like a panorama mode, and even stuff like slow motion (if your phone supports it). You can even record GIFs with this one. The HDR mode is acceptable and the image quality is decent. It probably won’t replace your stock camera app in most scenarios but it’s not a bad third party option.  


SpellForce

Price: $7.99 DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY   SpellForce is a made-for-mobile version of the critically acclaimed PC game. It’s a strategy game with RPG elements, above average graphics, and tons of content to play through. Players explore the game’s world, create an empire, and do battle with the forces of evil like most high fantasy style games. It’s also a premium game with no freemium elements whatsoever. It has a few bugs here and there and players complained about the lack of variance in different campaigns. Otherwise, people seem to like it.


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