Welcome to the 320th edition of Android Apps Weekly! Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- Whatsapp received a new feature update this week. It now lets you add friends to the service with QR codes, similar to Snapchat. Each user gets their own QR code and can share those QR codes with other people. Plus, you can reset your QR code in case it becomes a little too public for your tastes. Hit the link for more details on the feature roll-out and more information.
- T-Mobile and Google partnered up this week for better RCS messaging support. People with T-Mobile can text people on other services with RCS and it’s actually functional. RCS is still a giant mess and the roll-out is a minor disaster. Still, this is good news and it’s one step closer to full support.
- Zoom launched its 5.0 update this last week. The popular video conferencing app shored up a lot of its security woes with this one. In fact, Zoom plans to lock out anyone who doesn’t update to this one by May 30th. The update itself comes with stronger encryption and stronger security measures to prevent things like Zoombombing. Hit the links for more details.
- YouTube Premium users can score a free Nest Mini (formerly the Google Home Mini). It’s actually a simple process. You follow this link, claim your prize, enter your details, and place an order in the Google Store. Mine should be here around June 9th or 10th, according to Google. There are some caveats. Those with family plans can only get one for the whole family and you absolutely must have YouTube Premium to get one. Hit the link above to see the whole process.
- Spotify launched an update this week. It removes the 10,000 song limit for personal libraries. This is a fairly arbitrary limit and we’re honestly not sure how many people hit this limit before its removal. In any case, Spotify libraries are now uncapped. You can add as much music to your library as you want.
Microsoft Family Safety
Microsoft Family Safety is a digital wellbeing style app with some parental control features. It lets you keep track of what your family does, including mobile, Xbox, and Windows PC use. You can also set limits for certain apps. For instance, you can restrict Minecraft to a couple of hours a day and the app notifies you when the limit was reached. Some other functions include filtering content by age group, a location feature, and some other nifty stuff. This app is in early access beta so there are most certainly bugs. Make sure to report any you find to Microsoft so they can fix them if you decide to try it.
Price: Free to play
Word Show is a trivia style word game. Players get a set of letters and then swipe between them to form more words. There isn’t a time limit so players can take their time. Additionally, there are over 250 levels and players can use each letter as many times as necessary to complete the puzzle. That means if you get L, T, E, and R, you can make the word “letter” despite only having one T. In any case, the game ran fine during our tests. There are a bunch of ads and some minor bugs here and there, but otherwise it’s a solid time waster.
Google launched an official Pixel Buds app earlier in May. The company continues the trend with Soli Sandbox, an app specifically for Pixel 4 (and Pixel 4 XL) users. It lets you connect to experimental Soli chip prototype commands on the web. This is a very niche application because it only works on Soli-enabled Pixel 4 devices and you have to provide your own URLs for Soli interactions. Still, you can devise your own if you want to and test them with this app. Frankly, this app should have existed back when the Pixel 4 series launched and not midway through its production life. Still, it’s a neat idea if you’re really into the Soli chip.
Price: Free to play
Griddie Islands is an idle style game with a goofy premise. You put a bunch of little critters (Griddies) on an island. Fleas jump around on them and produce money. You use that money to create even more Griddies. You see how this works. Progress is a bit slow at times, but it scales up quite nicely and Griddies can reach level 50 or higher. Idle games are by definition time killers so don’t expect a huge amount of depth. However, for an idle game, this one is actually pretty decent.
Price: Free / $4.99
Citra Emulator is a new emulator for the Nintendo 3DS. This release is actually kind of exciting because new emulators don’t launch very often and it’s the first good 3DS emulator Android has ever seen. The app supports hundreds of 3DS titles and includes support for things like the 3DS camera, motion, and microphone functions. Additionally, the app works with external game pads and includes texture scaling and other graphic features for better looking games. This one is in early access beta right now so don’t expect a flawless experience yet. However, with a few updates, it should be a top tier emulator on mobile.
Check out these excellent Android app and game lists!
- 10 best security apps that aren’t antivirus apps
- 10 best word games for Android
- 5 best Nintendo DS emulators for Android
- 10 best idle games for Android
- 15 best emulators for Android
If we missed any great Android apps and games news, releases, or updates, tell us about it in the comments or hit me up on Twitter!