Android Police

Apps/Games

30

Vulkan API 1.2 gives developers tools to make Android and Stadia games faster

Vulkan is one of the most popular graphics APIs, with cross-platform support, low-level hardware access, and no royalties. Android has allowed games to use Vulkan for years, and Google's new Stadia platform requires all games to use the API. Khronos Group (not to be confused with the Klingon homeworld), the organization responsible for developing Vulkan, has announced a new version that promises to make games even more efficient.

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53

Stadia will soon have 4K on the web, support for additional Android phones, 120 new games, and more

Google launched Stadia late last year for those who bought the Founder's Edition bundle, and not much has changed since then. You still need to buy a spendy Pro bundle to unlock access to the game streaming service, and the feature set is limited. However, Google says it has big plans for Staia in Q1 2020. Many of the promised features will bulk up web support, but you'll also be able to play on more phones.

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61

Spotify swaps like button for album art in the mini player because it hates functionality (Update: New UI fixes it)

Spotify loves messing with its app, and in the latest server-side test, it replaced the like button in the mini player with the song's album art. It looks lovely, but the problem is that it sacrifices function for form.

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2

Google brings clothes shopping directly to search results, making it even easier to spend too much

Google has no shortage of irons in the fire when it comes to e-commerce. The company has consistently added new retail partners to its Shopping (formerly Google Express) app and just acquired a company whose technology allows local businesses to display their inventories with Google search directly. Now, Google has announced upcoming changes that will enable users to browse and compare clothes from multiple retailers with a single Google search.

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24

Yahoo has a new Bing-based search service, and it says it's like super duper private, guys

Yahoo was an internet heavyweight during the early years of the internet—before Google, of course. Today, Yahoo is a shell of its former self as a subsidiary of Verizon with no real search product of its own. It's trying to build one, though. The company's new One Search is available on the web and via an Android app. It's just Bing with some added features, but Yahoo promises it's really secure.

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14

Google Duo doesn't require a phone number (on the web) anymore

Google has silently rolled out a big change for its Duo video calling service, which now allows you to place and receive those calls from the web without needing to link Duo with a phone number. We don't know precisely when this change occurred, but in our own testing, the feature is already live, though it is incomplete: It doesn't appear to work with G Suite accounts, and while you can make calls just fine, it's a little awkward for others to call you.

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2

27 temporarily free and 22 on-sale apps and games for Wednesday

Welcome to Wednesday, everyone. Now that we are well into the month of January, things are moving pretty slow, but that doesn't mean I don't have at least a few sales to share with everyone today. As always, I've highlighted the more interesting titles in bold, and while there aren't too many standouts today, I'm hoping that things pick up for Friday's post. Until then, here are 27 temporarily free and 22 on-sale apps and games for the middle of the week.

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44

The best free and open-source alternatives to Google Maps on Android

We've already covered the best open-source alternatives to Gmail and Google Calendar, but there's still plenty of ground to cover as we head into 2020. Now it's time to take a look at alternatives to Google Maps — something that is widely regarded as being better than every other mapping service.

I won't make you wait for the conclusion: none of these offer the same feature set you get with Google Maps. As sad as it is, Google's advanced traffic detection and point-of-interest data are only possible when you have an install base counting in the millions. However, if all you need to do is get from point A to B, other apps can do the job.

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1

Marvel's Avengers delayed until September on Stadia and other platforms

While not every major upcoming game will be arriving on Google's Stadia streaming platform, quite a few of them will be — including Marvel's Avengers, a title being developed by Crystal Dynamics (same folks behind the Tomb Raider trilogy) and published by Square Enix. However, you'll have to wait a little longer to try out the game, as it has been delayed by a few months.

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9

Square Enix will shut down Mobius Final Fantasy globally on June 30

Square Enix has just announced that it will be shutting down Mobius Final Fantasy, a free-to-play RPG originally released in 2016. The game's servers have been offline in Japan since December, and as of this morning, the studio has made it clear that the global version will be shut down on June 30, 2020. Updates and in-game events will still take place in the coming months, including the conclusion of the Warrior of Despair story, though Magicite (purchasable in-game currency) sales will end in March.

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