This week's Friday 5 includes the long-waited Android version of Super Mario run, Alexa on Amazon's iOS app, video calling in Signal, and two surprising fun new apps from Google's Area 120 incubator.
Super Mario Run (Android)
This week, Nintendo released the Android version of Super Mario Run. The one-handed side-scroller game first arrived on iOS devices in December, and Android users have been clamoring for their chance to play. In the game, you'll run and jump your way across six worlds to rescue Princess Peach. You can play the first world for free. The remaining five unlock for $9.99.
With the Amazon app, you can search, read product reviews, and buy. With the latest iOS update, Alexa can help. Ask Amazon's voice assistant to find or reorder products, narrate your Kindle e-books, or play music. You can also ask general questions about people, TV shows, geography, sports scores, and more.
Signal, the end-to-end-encrypted messaging app, now has encrypted video calling. Select a contact, then tap the telephone icon to start a call. You can choose whether to have a secure voice or video chat. And, of course, you can just send a text. While recently leaked CIA documents spurred concerns about the security of encrypted messaging apps such as Signal, the documents show alleged CIA hacks of Android and iOS devices, not of secure messaging apps.
From Area 120 -- a workshop for experimental projects within Google -- comes Supersonic Fun Voice Messenger. The voice-messaging app not only transmits the audio of your conversation but also converts your spoken words to text and substitutes emoji whenever it can. You can hold one-to-one or group chats, and messages disappear after they've been received. It's a bit cartoonish but much more fun and useful than we would have thought.
Uptime is another app from Google's Area 120. With Uptime, you can watch YouTube videos with friends in real time and chat and react to the videos together. You can add friends, share videos, and then pick from stickers or bring up the keyboard to show responses to the video.