Apps

Fortnite skips the Google Play Store

Will come directly to Android from Epic Games

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For several months, Fortnite has taken the gaming industry by storm. Millions of gamers across most platforms have already claimed millions of dollars in sales for Epic Games.

Throughout those months, however, Epic Games lacked the one platform that would catapult them to near-astronomical heights — Android. Still, rumors have continuously hinted that the game will come to Android soon.

Thankfully, that rumor will soon turn into a reality. Sadly, that truth comes with a steep price. According to Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney, Fortnite will not come to the Google Play store.

Instead, Epic Games will turn to their own website and app to distribute their hit game.

The move mimics their strategy on the PC. On that platform, Epic Games skipped the ubiquitous Steam or the alternative GOG.com. Instead, Fortnite uses the developers’ own Epic Games Launcher.

For other platforms, Epic Games was forced to use official stores. For example, Sony and Apple require games to use the PlayStation Store and the App Store, respectively.

Despite the Play Store’s expansive reach, Epic Games has opted out of the store because of Google’s steep tax cut. For all sales through the game, Google has demanded 30 percent for distributor fees. With Fortnite’s current sales numbers, that 30 percent take can result to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

More than Epic Games’ own numbers, the move can also echo across the entire Android ecosystem. Fortnite’s gigantic popularity can push independent distribution as a viable strategy for other apps.

However, the move also exposes Fortnite (and all who follow in its footsteps) to outside threats. For example, malware producers can push their own products disguised as Fortnite.

Even then, gamers might not get the game for a while. Samsung has reportedly entered into an exclusive 120-day contract with the game. With that contract, Fortnite may come to Android exclusively on Samsung’s phone for 120 days.

Other than that, Epic Games distribution strategies are still unconventional. One thing’s for sure: If you want to get Fortnite on Android, you’ll have to go through Epic Games to get it.

SEE ALSO: Fortnite celebrates its first birthday in update

Apps

Google discontinues Datally, its mobile data saving app

It’s gone from the Play store

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Using the Datally app from Google? It’s time to move one and find another as Google officially discontinues its mobile data saving app.

In the official support page of Datally, Google notes that the app is not available on the Play store. True enough, visiting the link to Datally throws the app not found error.

Users of the mobile data saving app can continue using it, but the app will not receive future updates. To speed up its discontinuation, the app is giving a warning that it is incompatible with Android 10. So, users who upgraded to the latest OS can’t use the app anymore.

Datally launched last 2017 to help users control their mobile data usage. The app shows the data usage of every app as well as overall data usage metrics. It also let users block background data.

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Apps

Google Maps will now show you speed traps

You can also report road closures and accidents

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Google Maps is borrowing several features from the company’s other popular navigation app, Waze. Google today announced a series of new features that will allow drivers using the Maps app on iOS to report accidents, speed traps and traffic jams.

Hazard reporting was introduced on Android earlier this year, but this is the first time that iPhone users can also help crowdsource traffic snarls. Google has also expanded the types of road hazards that can be reported through its incident feature to encompass ‘construction, lane closures, disabled vehicles, and objects on the road.

These features have been unique to Waze and many users preferred to use it over Google Maps. It was long-speculated that when Google purchased Waze for US$ 1.1 billion five years ago that the features would be swiftly migrated to Google Maps. The transition has been extremely slow, but it’s finally happening.

To report an incident, open Maps and start navigating to your destination. You’ll see a small location pin with a + sign button on the left side, tap it. Now, you’ll have multiple options that include speed traps, construction, lane closure, and more. Simply select one and you’re done.

Google’s algorithm constantly looks out for these reports and helps in rerouting other riders. These crowdsourced features made Waze a perfect alternative to Google Maps and many users claim they’ve reached faster.

A few months back, Google also added augmented reality support for pedestrian navigation. The feature has been highly appreciated since GPS accuracy may not always be very on-point.

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Apps

Hong Kong protests: Apple succumbs to pressure from China

Trying to please both the sides

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Every international company, whether based in China or the US, is now stuck in the middle of the Hong Kong protests. While the people want pro-Democracy ideals to govern their city, China refuses to back down and continues its passive-aggressive push.

Apple has reportedly removed the Quartz app from the App Store at the request of the Chinese government. Quartz’s Investigations editor John Keefe confirmed the app has been removed from the App Store and even the website has been blocked in Mainland China.

The publication has been covering the Hong Kong protests in detail and this hasn’t gone down well with the government in Beijing. China has a long history of suppressing free speech and it’s not surprising to see them block off content that doesn’t suit their narrative.

Though, users are furious at Apple for not taking a stand and bowing down to pressure. A few days back, the Cupertino-based giant removed the Taiwanese flag from its keyboard for some users to please the Chinese officials.

Apple was also in the news this week due to its initial rejection of an app that kept a tab on police movement in Hong Kong. Back in 2017, Apple removed the New York Times app from App Store after the Chinese government requested its removal because it was “in violation of local regulations.”

It is necessary for Apple to stay on good terms with China because of its business interests. Almost every other product designed by Apple will find its roots back in China, where everything is built — components as well as finished iPhones.

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