Welcome to the Friday 5! Every week, we'll bring you the most noteworthy apps for Android and iOS. This week, we have a new Pokemon game, a new streaming service from the Smithsonian, and notable updates of the Roku, Hulu, and Snapchat apps.
The Pokemon gods dropped a surprise on the world this week with the unexpected launch of Pokemon Duel (Android, iOS). This tactical board game is a much different beast than the augmented-reality Pokemon Go, requiring a 10-minute tutorial to explain all its mechanics. On the other hand, it's free to play, and you may dig it if you're still hungry to catch 'em all.
Smithsonian Earth is like the Netflix of nature documentaries and history specials. You pay $4 per month for commercial-free, on-demand viewing on iOS (but not Android yet), Roku devices, Amazon Fire TV, and desktop Web browser. You can also pause on one device and continue watching on another. Roku offers a full 30-day free trial. The Smithsonian Institution plans to add new videos several times a week and has over 100 films listed in its Documentary category.
Roku's mobile app (iOS, Android) recently got an overhaul that greatly improves discovery and navigation. The What's On feature captures a cross-section of popular streaming options; tapping one gives you a list of installed apps that have that content. Or you can use the search function to find specific movies, TV shows, and actors. You can also search within apps on the Roku using the virtual keyboard on your mobile device -- or even its microphone -- instead of having to wrangle the Roku keyboard on your TV screen with a remote control.
Snapchat (iOS, Android) got a few low-key but important changes to navigation. Now when you search for a contact, you can tap the search result to open a chat with that person. Or you can long-tap to view their profile. Your own profile page can also contain shortcuts to your most frequent contacts.
Hulu (iOS, Android) has finally added support for multiple user profiles, so now your roommates or family members can have their own recommendations and watch lists separate from yours. Hulu offers next-day streaming for a bunch of popular shows for $8 per month, or $12 per month for the nearly commercial-free version.