Google’s strength has always been providing software and services, but increasingly it seems that the company is building up its hardware portfolio too. At least, that’s the takeaway after the Nexus launch event this week. Instead of just one flagship offering, the company introduced a pair of Nexuses, the smaller Nexus 5X in the mid-range segment and the premium Nexus 6P with a large screen. Along with that, it also took covers off its second-gen streaming stick, the Chromecast 2, as well as the new Chromecast Audio. While most of these devices were expected, Google managed to surprise us by launching a 10.2-inch Android-powered Pixel-branded slate dubbed Pixel C. Tying all its mobile devices together is Marshmallow, the latest iteration of Android, which will be rolled out soon.
That was a look at the key happenings in the world of Google, but let’s bring our focus back to the apps and games that were either released or updated on the Play Store this week. We have some interesting titles ranging from a news app to a family organiser, not to mention some addictive games. Let’s begin.
Buzzfeed is among the pioneers of next-gen media publications and now it has brought its concept of listicles and clickbait-y titles to its mobile app, which offers all the latest updates from around the world. It displays news in an easy-to-follow tab called ‘Catch Up’. Users can also access breaking news via ‘Alerts’ and have the option to receive push notifications for topics of their liking.
Social-networking giant Facebook has been receiving a lot of flak for its Internet.org initiative which violates the concept of Net Neutrality. In a hope to change that, it recently rebranded the initiative to Free Basics, and the new app allows users to access a few services free of charge if they’re on the network of a qualifying telecom operator. Currently, users can visit websites such as AccuWeather, BBC News, Dictionary.com, ESPN and Facebook for free under this program.
At the Nexus launch event, Google also announced a couple of updates to its Photos app, and the update seems to be rolling out for everyone. Earlier the app tagged people automatically, but now it now allows you add a private label to faces, which makes it easier to search for them. The label is private and is only visible to you.
Google has also demonstrated the ability to share albums with your friends, although that feature isn’t available in v1.6 yet.
As the name suggests, this app allows parents to organise the daily schedule of their children. In fact, it can also be used as a family organiser since it allows everyone to share their schedules, set reminders or create to-do lists. The app also provides a list of events, workshops, birthday venues, play schools, etc., for kids in the city. Additionally, the app offers tips from other parents in the form of blog posts.
Freeze! 2 carries forward the legacy of its predecessor with more than 100 levels and an interesting storyline. In the game, the original hero from Freeze! has been abducted by aliens and locked away in a tiny cell on faraway planet. You'll play his little brother, who builds a rocket and sets out to rescue him. The physics-based puzzle requires you to rotate cells around the brothers, and use freeze buttons to arrest gravity and hold them.
Need for Speed is a popular car-racing game franchise, and now it has released its first title that’s specifically made for smartphones and tablets. The game is optimised for touchscreens and offers simple controls and dazzling graphics. The game has several kind of races to fuel your adrenaline rush, and also allows you to collect cars like the Surbaru BRZ and Porsche 911, and then customise them.
While winter is still a few months away, you can experience the season in Ski Safari 2, where you’ll ski through snow and perform stunts like 360 spins, handstands, etc. The game can also be played in multiplayer mode against friends and family. Interestingly enough, you can ski through other locations like a jurassic jungle and a canyon.
Before we sign off, if you use casual dating app Tinder, you’d appreciate its latest feature that allows you to let the other person know that you’re particularly interested with the ‘Super Like’ option.
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