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5 Android apps you shouldn't miss this week - Android Apps Weekly
Welcome to the 461st edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the headlines from the last week:
- Google Messages received an update this week. It brought end-to-end encryption for group chats. This is a pretty big deal since end-to-end encryption is a big feature these days. The feature is currently in the app’s beta version, so we expect the full rollout to happen sooner rather than later.
- South Dakota banned the use of TikTok for all state workers. In addition, the state is urging other states to follow suit. TikTok is almost constantly embroiled in data-sharing controversies. The governor of South Dakota decided that it wasn’t collecting data on her employees. Hit the link to learn more.
- Google took another potshot at Apple for iMessage this week. Google once again touted the good things about RCS and is pressuring Apple to adopt the technology once again. We hope Apple listens, but it probably won’t. Google compared Apple’s approach to messaging to the 1990s, which is a pretty good burn. Since we’re on the topic, a new app is trying to let Android users actually use iMessage without an iPhone. We’ve been testing it out, but it still needs a lot of work.
- Spotify and YouTube Music released their end-of-the-year stuff this week. Spotify’s Wrapped launched on November 30th, and you can access it now if you have Spotify. Spotify also includes a music personality on top of its usual stats and insights. YouTube Music Recap launched on November 29th and, aside from some rollout drama, includes things like Google Photos integration. Anyone with either music service can check it out now. For anyone interested, here are the most popular YouTube videos from 2022 as well.
- Google announced the winners of the 2022 Google Play awards this week. The winners include Dream by Wombo, Apex Legends Mobile, and BeReal. George R.R. Martin’s book Fire & Blood was the top-selling book and “I’m Glad My Mom Died” by Jennette McCurdy was the most popular audiobook. Hit the link to see all the winners and runner-ups.
The Eminence in Shadow
Price: Free to play
The Eminence in Shadow is a new RPG from Crunchyroll. It’s based on the anime and light novel of the same name. It somewhat ties into the anime and light novels, so it’s definitely something fans of the anime may want to play. However, it’s presented in such a way that people who haven’t seen anything can still enjoy it. In terms of mechanics, it’s an RPG through and through. You summon characters to level up, and then use them to proceed through the game. The combat is simple, with few buttons. Players are mostly just trying to hit combos to do massive amounts of damage. We wish we could say more, but the game had some crash bugs on launch that the developers are still sorting out. Wait a week or so and this should be much more stable.
Lalitham Notification Widget
Lalitham Notification Widget is a widget that shows you notifications. It’s helpful, so you don’t miss notifications, and it also filters notifications. Thus, you only see the ones you want. You basically create the widget, choose the apps you want to see notifications for, and the widget shows you those notifications. There are a variety of ways to customize. The developer gives some examples, like using a whole widget just for YouTube or podcast notifications, so you don’t miss an upload from your favorite creators. In any case, the app works well in our testing, and there is couple of Reddit threads with feedback and developer interaction. It’s niche, but it’s still good.
Talking Tom Time Rush
Price: Free to play
Talking Tom Time Rush is the latest game in the venerable Talking Tom franchise. This one is a runner-style game, much like Talking Tom Gold Rush. In terms of mechanics, this one is pretty standard. You run along a path while avoiding obstacles and collecting items. You use the items to unlock things to help you progress even further. There are also boosts, vehicles, and outfits for players to find and unlock. It’s simple, family-friendly, and cutesy. Overall, not a bad choice for casual mobile gamers or their kids.
Pivot: Time Tracker
Pivot: Time Tracker is a habit-tracking app. You input what you spend your time doing and then see the charts to see how you spend your time. From there, you can change things up to spend more time doing what you want and less time doing what you don’t want. It works by letting you create a library of things that you do. Then, when you do them, you pop open the app, choose the activity, and say how long you did it. The app then generates reports based on your input. You can use it for small stuff or for your whole life, the choice is yours. It’s also free as of the time of this writing. The app hasn’t been out long, but it definitely has some promise.
The King of Fighters Arena
Price: Free to play
The King of Fighters Arena is a fighting game. It’s also one that seems to be struggling to define what it wants to be. It has fighting controls unless many free-to-play fighters. However, they aren’t the traditional controls that fighting game fans know and love. There is a gacha element with RPG-style leveling, so you can’t really skill your way to a victory all the time. Thus, things like the online PvP can feel a little out of control if you wind up with a bad matchup. The game isn’t bad. The controls are decent, the graphics are appealing, and there are plenty of things to do. However, we’re not sure if this is a gacha RPG or a fighting game yet, and the developers are still hammering out some early game bugs. It has potential, but we don’t know how it’s going to shake out yet.
If we missed any big Android apps or games news or releases, tell us about them in the comments.
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