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5 Android apps you shouldn't miss this week - Android Apps Weekly

The 410th Android Apps Weekly talks about a new PS2 emulator, Google Play Games coming to Windows 10, and more apps news.
By
December 11, 2021
best new android apps - AetherSX2 screenshot

Welcome to the 410th edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the big headlines and releases from the last week:

  • Google announced a partnership with Pluto this week. The partnership brings 300 free channels to Google TV. The channels include Comedy Central, Paramount Plus Picks, Showtime Selects, CBS News, and many others. It should roll out in the next few weeks according to Google. That makes Google TV an excellent cord-cutter option if you want a bunch of TV channels.
  • Telegram launched a pretty big update this week. The update includes several new features, including the ability to quickly link your stuff via QR code, a setting that logs you out of inactive devices after a given time period, and more. Telegram has had a renaissance this year after WhatsApp policies drove a ton of users to the platform. Hit the link for more details.
  • Microsoft Teams is getting a fix for a peculiar bug in the near future. The bug only appears on Pixel devices and it prevents users from calling 911. That’s kind of a big deal for obvious reasons. The bug only happens if you install Microsoft Teams and then don’t log in to any accounts. It also only affects devices running Android 10 or newer. The fix is coming at the end of January 2022.
  • WhatsApp had a couple of updates this week. The first allows select US users to send and receive cash through WhatsApp. It uses Novi, a service provided by Facebook. WhatsApp is basically beta testing the feature and you can hit the link to learn more. The other update basically gives you the option to make any message you send disappear. There is an option to make it the default setting that a message disappears. Users can choose between 24 hours, a week, or 90 days at their discretion. Hit both links to learn more about each new feature.
  • Google Play Games is coming to Windows PCs in 2022. This is a big deal because Amazon’s Appstore still isn’t ready for prime time and Google is going to take advantage of it. Play Store games coming to Windows isn’t the result of a partnership. Google was working on this privately in the background so Microsoft has little to do with it. You can already run the Play Store with a series of weird mods to Windows 11, but it’ll certainly be nice to get it for real. 😊

HeyPal

Price: Free

HeyPal screenshot 2021

HeyPal has a similar premise to apps like Tandem and HelloTalk. It helps you practice your foreign language skills by speaking to native speakers through the app. Most of the features revolve around that premise. You link up with a native speaker, practice what you know, and the native speaker can help correct grammar and verbiage.

Since it’s text-based, the app also includes translation and error correction natively in the app. There is also a social media element where you can friend people and chat with the same ones over and over again. You can also read their updates to help you better understand the language. It’s a decent idea and we’ll see if it takes off at all.

Hatsune Miku: Colorful Stage

Price: Free to play

Hatsune Miku: Colorful Stage is a rhythm game revolving around one of Japan’s most popular vocaloids. The basic controls are relatively simple and you basically just tap, hold, and flick the various notes to keep the song going. There is also a storyline to follow, five difficulty levels, a co-op mode, and a virtual show mode where you can watch shows from other players. There is a gacha system where most of the monetization comes from. However, it doesn’t detract from the fun of the game. It definitely has the occasional bug as reported by other players, but we didn’t really experience any during testing.

Plans

Price: Free

Plans is an event calendar and planner. It helps you organize things like get-togethers, parties, and other things like that. The app is capable of making life easier by sending notifications, showing you nearby places to host events, and an integrated calendar to keep track of everything. The app feels like it works best for the occasional big event rather than keeping track of your social life.

This is something to use for weddings, business parties, and stuff like that. It has features to manage an everyday social life but to be honest, I don’t know anybody so social that they need something this intense to keep track of it. In any case, the app’s functions work pretty well and it does scale down decently in case you want to plan a night out with your friends instead of some huge thing.

Fantasy Life Online

Price: Free to play

Fantasy Life Online is a free to play mobile version of the popular Level-5 console game from years ago. It maintains a lot of the mechanics from the game, but adds in a gacha element as well. The game includes 12 different lives for you to live, the usual RPG progression of unlocking and mastering new skills, and you can design and build your own village for other players to come visit.

The combat mechanics are nothing special, but are easy to learn and use. You can even reset and re-roll your first character as many times as you want and it only takes a few minutes. There are some downsides and the game is only moderately friendly to free players. Otherwise, it’s a decent RPG with some good mechanics.

AetherSX2

Price: Free

AetherSX2 screenshot 2021

AetherSX2 is a PlayStation 2 emulator. We’ve written about it in the previous two editions of Android Apps Weekly. It is now available to test in the Play Store as an early release app. The developers recommend at least a Snapdragon 845 or better device and you can find more details about the spec requirements in the Play Store post.

Otherwise, it functions like most emulators. You obtain a ROM, load it into the emulator, and play the game. Some features include upscaling to 1080p or higher, hardware controller support, and you can change the app settings on a per-game basis to find the best mix of performance and looks. This is an early release and it definitely has bugs, so make sure to report anything you find to the developer so the app can continue to improve.


If we missed any big Android apps or games news or releases, tell us about it in the comments or tweet me @ThatJoeHindy.
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