Welcome to the 387th edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- Google Search made a rather large oopsie this week. Hristo Georgiev, a Zurch-based engineer, was misidentified by Google as being a serial killer and rapist. The man shares his name with said rapist and Google erroneously put the innocent man’s photo alongside the serial killer’s biography. Sometimes it’s a good idea to fact check a couple of times, even with Google Search’s own results.
- Google is sunsetting the APK file format in the Play Store. The new format, App Bundles, is the replacement. App Bundles are reportedly smaller in size, easier to update, and better overall for the end user. However, developers still need to use APKs for other services, like Amazon or Samsung’s Galaxy Store, since those places don’t support App Bundles.
- Google is also making it easier to carry your COVID-19 vaccine and test records on your phone. The company updated Android’s passes system to include vaccine passes. Google also assures people that their passes won’t be uploaded to Google servers and used for nefarious purposes. Some say you can just take a photo of your vaccine card, but that is easily faked. This system apparently is not. Read the link for more details.
- There is a new health app in the works from Google. It wants to help people take charge of their medical records and health. The app was leaked earlier this week. It seems to want to store your medical records in a way that is easy to find and share with your doctor. There aren’t a ton of details yet, so click the link to see more for now.
- Windows 11’s ability to run Android apps is a pretty big deal. However, there are some questions. For instance, we found out this week that it’s possible to sideload Android apps if you want to. Of course, the CEO of Bluestacks says things may not work the way people expect at first. Still, a poll we ran showed most of our readers intend to try it anyway. Finally, there are some lingering questions about why Microsoft didn’t go with Google Play. You can read Jon Fingas’ thoughts on that here.
Price: Free to play
Claw Stars is a mix between a gacha, a collector game, and a claw machine game. Players rescue creatures trapped in orbs. You catch the orbs, release the creatures, and go back for more. The core mechanic is the claw machine. You grab orbs out of a spot during levels and collect your various furry buddies. However, you can do some other stuff, like collect coins, steal animals from other players, and more. It’s a cutesy game without a ton of depth, but it’s an interesting little time killer.
AR Canvas by Samsung
AR Canvas by Samsung lets you draw things in photographs with augmented reality. The things you draw in specific locations remain there for others to see later. It’s useful or fun in a lot of instances, like scavenger hunts or housewarming parties. However, we don’t see too much real-world use for something like this. Still, it can be fun for kids, small gatherings, and things like that if everyone is rocking a Samsung phone.
Price: Free to play
Mitrasphere is the latest game from Crunchyroll. It’s a gacha RPG and it’s similar in premise to most gacha RPGs. There is a story to follow, characters to summon, and a PvP mode if you want to play against other players. The game freshens things up with private chat rooms, voice-acted emotes, and five classes to play with. Like most gachas, the combat can get repetitive after a while and it requires a lot of grinding to get all the way through the game. However, it’s a pretty decent and forgiving gacha so it may be worth your time if you’re into that stuff.
OpenSky is an app from Wing Aviation, a subsidiary of Alphabet. It’s a drone app that helps you stay within the law while flying your drone. It lets you know if the area around you is legal to fly in and if not, it helps you obtain authorization to fly. The app definitely needs some polish, but it could be one of the most useful apps for drone owners. The app can also show you your flight history if you want. Most of the complaints revolve around the app’s bugs so we hope that polish comes sooner rather than later.
Price: Free to play
Rogue Land is a hack-and-slash adventure game. It plays like many such games. Players explore the world to uncover all of the various secrets. There is also a story mode and a side quest mode so you can collect and complete the whole game. The mechanics are pretty simple, but effective. It shouldn’t take long for players to learn how everything works. The microtransactions are used for a lot of stuff in the game, but the game lets players earn a small, but steady stream of gems to unlock stuff over time. The other major complaint from players is the inability to shoot and move at the same time. Those who have played Archero will see immediate similarities with this game, for better or for worse.
If we missed any big Android app or game releases, tell us about it in the comments or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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