As part of today's big announcements from Google, the company snuck in a bit of a surprise: Separate from the embargo details we were provided, Google is also announcing that end-to-end encryption for Chat/RCS messages in Google Messages is now out of beta — at least, for one-on-one conversations.
With RCS, Google has positioned its Messages app to take on WhatsApp, Telegram, and any other online chat app aiming for communication domination. Although it has come a long way since its earliest days as Android's default SMS client, Messages is still missing a handful of features found in the competition. Thankfully, you can cross pinned conversations off the list today, as Google is adding starred messages to its app.
Google's been rolling out a new earthquake alert and detection system that harnesses the vast number of Android devices in the wild, and now it's set to expand to more markets after landing on phones in New Zealand and Greece earlier this year. Starting today, the Android Earthquake Alerts System is available in seven more markets: Turkey, the Philippines, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. On top of that, Google promises that "most countries" will get it by 2022.
Android's various voice input methods, from the Google Assistant to the accessibility-minded Voice Access, are all getting an upgrade. The Assistant will let you search for actions or activities inside third-party apps, and Voice Access is getting improved support for password input and a beta "gaze detection" feature that restricts it to work only when you're looking at your phone.
Opera has finally brought its GX gaming browser to mobile with the launch of a beta release. While the browser will roll out in a more official manner in a few weeks, if you're eager to take a look, Opera has provided the APK for today's beta launch. Much like the desktop version of the gaming-centric Opera GX browser, the new mobile release offers a homepage dedicated to gaming news and deals.
Google rebranded G Suite into Workspace last fall, bringing along new icons and some fresh features to help keep users working from home organized and in control of meetings, emails, calendars, and more. Today, Google announced some major changes for Workspace, including an individual plan for small businesses, an introduction to Spaces, and new RSVP options in Calendar — and it's making it available to everyone.
AT&T is shutting down its 3G network next February and is prepared to give its customers a new phone for free lest their current one becomes useless —that is, they can't place calls over LTE. Just don't expect the carrier to go to great costs for your replacement.
Crypt of the NecroDancer is a popular rhythm-based roguelike, and it has finally arrived on Android. The game was initially released on PC back in 2015 and then made its way to iOS in 2016. For some reason, the developer waited five years to bring the title to Android, but now that it's here, everyone can enjoy this challenging roguelike. You can pick it up for $4.99, and this is a premium release, so you won't have to worry about any in-app purchases or advertisements ruining your fun.
At this year's E3, Square Enix has announced the follow-up to its successful casual mobile game Hitman: Sniper. It's called Hitman Sniper: The Shadows, and this time around, Agent 47 has gone missing, which means you'll have your pick from five brand new characters tasked with saving Agent 47. Unlike the original, Hitman Sniper: The Shadows will be free-to-play. It's slated for release on Android and iOS sometime later this year.
Square Enix announced at E3 that it's remastering its classic Final Fantasy games with 2D pixel graphics. Final Fantasy I through VI will see all new releases on mobile and PC, each as a separate title. Clearly, Square is looking to sell these games all over again since many of the previous remasters offer graphics fans don't like, whether that be the dated and undetailed 3D graphics of III and IV or the much-hated redesigned mobile graphics used in V and VI. So even though it's nice to see that Square has finally figured out that its classic pixel graphics are what fans want, it's pretty tiring to see Square constantly reselling its older games over and over.