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5 Android apps you shouldn't miss this week - Android Apps Weekly
Welcome to the 469th edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the big headlines from the last week.
- India’s Supreme Court upheld a court ruling this week in regard to how Google handles Android. The ruling requires Google to allow OEMs to choose which Google apps to include, lets users choose their search engine of choice, and a host of other changes. The changes may change how Google handles Android in other parts of the world as well. Hit the link to learn more.
- Google reportedly has over 20 AI products in development right now. The company shifted to AI to compete with ChatGPT, which is a much larger disruption than Google thought. Some products are for developers, and others are going to be useful to us consumers. That includes a possible chatbot function within Google Search. We’ll keep you updated if any of these projects release to the public.
- Apple is allegedly in a silent war against Google. The company is apparently investing in a variety of products to combat Google directly, including an Apple-powered search engine, online advertising, and more. This is a pretty big deal if it’s true, and it could impact how Google handles some of its products in the future.
- The Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against Google. The claim is that Google has a monopoly on the digital ad space that unfairly favors its own products. The lawsuit alleges that Google has a monopoly over everything from advertising to digital creation tools and that other competitors are being squeezed out because of it. With its 92% search engine dominance, there’s a case, but with competing companies like Meta, Microsoft, and Amazon also making bank off of advertising revenue, the lawsuit may fall flat.
- Google has wanted to hide old and abandoned apps in the Play Store for a long time, and Android 14 may be the start of it. The new OS is said to have stricter restrictions against older apps, and may even prevent users from sideloading old apps onto their devices. The idea is that older apps provide a worse experience for users. However, a lot of people use older versions of apps to get around new changes to apps that they don’t like. We’ll learn more once Android 14 starts releasing later this year.
Price: Free to play
Flash Party is a fighting game that is very similar to Super Smash Bros. Players square off against opponents on a platform arena where they battle until the opponents fall off. The game features over 20 heroes to play with. There are four classes of heroes, and each class specializes in a different play style. The game also includes 1v1, 2v2, and 4-player free for all game modes along with a soccer mode and some limited-time events as well. It’s surprisingly fun to play, and it includes controller support. There seems to be a bug where on-screen controls aren’t saved properly, so hopefully, the developer fixes that soon.
Price: Free trial / $10.99 per month / $109.99 per year
Heark is an audio recorder and transcription app. It can record anything, but the developer designed it for things like lectures. It records the audio, transcribes it, and makes the text searchable. Thus, if you wanted to see something that someone said, you could record the whole conversation and search for the part you want. It’s not a complicated app, and the UI is functional. It worked on our tester devices without issue. The app also includes a 7-day free trial, after which you have to subscribe to keep using it.
Devolver Tumble Time
Price: Free to play
Devolver Tumble Time is a match-three style game with a physics-based tumble mechanic baked in. You tumble heads around the tumbler until you get some matches. The matches disappear from the tumbler, and you continue until you clear the level. The game includes power-ups and hero abilities to help you clear the tumbler faster. It’s not a complicated game, so once you get the gist of it, you can just keep playing. The only criticism we have is that the game definitely needs a couple of coats of polish. It feels a bit like a beta game, especially on lower-end devices. Once it’s all cleaned up, it’ll be a fun time waster.
AI Assistant Widget
Price: Free / $4.99 per month / $9.99 per year / in-app purchases
AI Assistant Widget is a chatbot that uses ChatGPT, namely GPT-3. It’s not a very complicated app. It puts a little face pop-out on your screen. You click it, make an inquiry, and the OpenAI bot answers. It worked okay during our testing. I asked it some math problems and for a recipe, and the bot answered all the questions correctly. However, if you ask it for something longer, it’ll hang for a while. This is an interesting app because there are a lot of OpenAI apps popping up, and many of them don’t work or are scams. This one, at least, appears to work most of the time. The bot answers in natural language, and you can copy and paste its responses if you need to.
However, the developer did go a bit too far. They implemented a weekly subscription cost that nobody should buy, and use the phrase GPT-4 even though the app uses GPT-3. Additionally, there don’t appear to be a lot of customization settings, and what settings do exist are “personality” themes that cost extra to unlock either through the subscription or as standalone in-app purchases. If your inquiry has a link in it, it would be nice to click the link instead of copying and pasting it. Little things like that need to be improved. It does work, which is promising since most of these types of apps don’t. However, the developer definitely needs to clean it up.
Price: Free to play
We haven’t heard a lot from Niantic lately, so it’s definitely nice to see the Pokemon Go developer releasing a new game. This one revolves around basketball. It uses the familiar Pokemon Go-style gameplay loop, but with a basketball twist. Players walk around their neighborhoods to find and challenge NBA players in the game. The mechanics are fairly decent, and there are little mini-games to keep players engaged. The item management could be better, as you often lose items if you cap out on them. However, the game is overall surprisingly good, and while we don’t think it’ll reach Pokemon Go levels of hype, it’s another good GPS game in a market where we don’t have many of those.
If we missed any big Android apps or games releases, tell us about them in the comments.
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