Welcome to the 303rd edition of Android Apps Weekly! Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- Google Play banned predatory loan apps a while back. However, the ban isn’t working as well as intended. The apps not only still exist, but are actually thriving, especially in developing countries like Nigeria, India, Kenya, and others. Apparently, Google Play policies aren’t universally applicable so those types of apps are still available in some markets. We’re not fans of the discrepancies, but it is what it is. Hit the link to learn more.
- Google launched a new app this week. Tangi, the new app, teaches people new things every day with curated video content about that particular topic. The videos are about 60 seconds long and topics include art, cooking, DIY, fashion, beauty, and lifestyle options. The only caveat is the lack of availability. The app is on iOS and the web, but not on Android yet.
- Unicode Emoji 13.0 is launching this year with 62 new icons. Some of the new emoji include a polar bear, a truck, some new flags, a few new smileys, and a tea pot. There are also 55 variations on existing emoji as well. The emoji are available now. However, we likely won’t see them until sometime this autumn.
- Google has yet another messaging app in the works. This time it’s for work oriented folks and challenges established apps like Microsoft Teams and Slack. Unlike most, this one should end up on Google’s G Suite. Hangouts was rumored to turn into this, but it appears as though it’ll be a separate chat app. We don’t know a lot of it yet, but click the link to learn more.
- The Super Bowl is tomorrow and there are a lot of ways to watch it. However, the easiest way is to use FOX’s website and official app. The company is streaming the game for free, in 4k, and with HDR as well. Of course, you need compatible hardware to watch it that way, but it is what it is. Hit the link if you want to see all the ways to watch the Super Bowl this year. Also, Google has their Super Bowl ad on the Internet already.
Disgaea 1 Complete
Disgaea 1 Complete is a mobile port of the classic strategy RPG game from 2003. It is the complete game as the name implies. For the uninitiated, Disgaea is a strategy RPG similar in mechanics to Final Fantasy Tactics or Fire Emblem. You get some characters, play through the story, and enjoy the game in all of its glory. Additionally, the mobile version adds an auto-battle system for easier level grinding, cloud saves, battle speed boosts, and a cheat shop for extra EXP and HL. The price is outrageously expensive, but keep an eye on it to see if it ever goes on sale.
Microsoft Launcher Preview
Microsoft is doing a lot of new stuff with its launcher these days. In fact, they are re-building the entire app from scratch. This new iteration has a bunch of new features such as a legitimate landscape mode, a dark mode, and a bunch of performance tweaks from the original. It is a preview and there are some bugs. However, this should easily usurp the old Microsoft Launcher as long as the improvements keep coming. Plus, the new version looks pretty nice as well. Check out our hands-on impressions here!
Might & Magic: Chess Royale
Price: Free to play
Might & Magic: Chess Royale is an auto-battler with 100-player matches. It’s actually a fairly basic game right now. There is one game mode where you go in and do auto chess style combat against all those other people. However, matches tend to go rather quickly and the loading times are pretty good. You get the usual array of auto chess elements as well. Some people aren’t fans of the game’s singular game mode and there are a few connection issues for some folks. It’s not the best it can be right now, but it should improve over time.
Byte is the literal successor to Vine. The app appeared on the Play Store late last week and people are already talking about it. It works very much like Vine used to. You upload 6-second clips and re-watch them over and over again. It’s set up to be a nostalgia trip back down memory lane for previous Vine users. However, the developers are open to where the app could go. It’s a little basic right now but we expect improvements, additions, and things like better categorization as time goes. Here’s hoping this one is a bit more successful but it has to compete with TikTok and that’s a steep hill to climb. Here’s how to install the app if it’s not available on Google Play for you.
Realm of Alters
Price: Free to play
Realm of Alters is a deck-building duel game similar in its basic premise to games like Hearthstone. Players collect cards, build decks, and duel other players in online PvP matches. Unfortunately, the game launched on the Play Store, but the servers hadn’t launched as of the time of this writing. Thus, I was unable to really test this one out. However, based on context, it’ll likely be similar to most card dueling games where you summon cards gacha-style and obtain free stuff for logging in every day. It should be relatively decent when the servers go live.
If we missed any big Android apps or games news, tell us about it in the comments!