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5 Android apps you shouldn't miss this week - Android Apps Weekly
Welcome to the 473rd edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- Google rolled out an update this week that sort of fixes an Android Auto problem. You can’t normally open Google Maps on your phone when Android Auto is active. This latest Google Maps update makes it possible for a small number of users. We’re not sure if this was even intentional, but we certainly hope it was.
- Vivaldi Browser on Android now lets you play YouTube videos in the background. This lets you listen to music, podcasts, or just regular videos without needing to be stuck in the app. The big update also included some performance improvements, UI scaling options, sync reminders, and more.
- Samsung’s Camera Assistant app is now available for more One UI 5.1 phones, including the S22 Ultra and others. The app has several options that the stock camera app does not have, and it even fixes some of the shutter lag on some S23 Ultra phones. Those with older Galaxy phones on the One UI 5.1 update can check the Galaxy Store to see if it’s available for you.
- Mozilla did a study to see if apps were protecting user privacy. It turns out, many of them aren’t. Some examples of the worst offenders include the Google Play Store, Twitter, and TikTok. Hit the link to see the results of Mozilla’s study.
- AI was a big topic of conversation this week. Qualcomm used an Android phone to generate an AI image in under 15 seconds with no Internet connection required. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s ChatGPT-powered Bing and Edge apps came to mobile this week, although you need to be part of Microsoft’s preview program in order to use it. Samsung’s Bixby uses AI to clone your voice to answer phone calls on your behalf, but it’s only available in Korean at this time. Finally, Gboard may give users the ability to generate AI images from text. Hit the links to learn more about each AI product.
Price: Free / $1.49 per month
NoteFor is a journal or diary app. It features a minimal UI that gets out of your way so you can write down your thoughts and life comfortably. There is a pleasing formatting to everything, and it’s also lightly themeable. You can keep multiple diaries if you want to, and it all syncs to the PC version of the app if you want it to. We also like the ability to export your diary as an EPUB, so it’s usable by ebook reader apps. There is a 1,800-character limit, which may irk some folks, but it’s honestly not a big deal. We think this one is pretty good overall.
Starfall Fantasy: Neverland
Price: Free to play
Starfall Fantasy: Neverland is an open world MMORPG. It looks similar to most in the category. You run around, talk to NPCs, do quests, and progress the story as usual. The game world is colorful, and you can do things like chat with the other players. You can also do thing like be a farmer if you want to. As per the norm, you’ll find a mount system here, along with the ability to buy and decorate your own space. The features are too numerous to list here, but it does check a lot of the boxes. The only real complaint is that everything is basically on auto mode all the time, so you spend vastly more time watching the game than playing it. That kind of takes away a lot of the charm, and we hope the developers add a full manual option eventually.
Symposia: Creative Discourse
Symposia is a community app for artists and creative types. It’s almost like a LinkedIn for creative people. You can join the network, connect with people, and network with other artists. The Google Play description says it’s authentic, which is usually a giant red flag that it isn’t. However, the social feed, chats, and all of that can be helpful if you’re trying to expand your reach in the community. It’s not super popular yet, so there aren’t a ton of users, but it’s something to keep an eye on in case it gets bigger someday.
Price: Free to play
Ultimate Sackboy is a mobile take on the Little Big Planet franchise. The game uses characters and design elements from the console games, but that’s about it. The game has players racing through levels to try and take first place. The races are fairly easy at first but scale up in difficulty pretty quickly, as is normal for a free-to-play mobile game. Players upgrade their characters with clothes, and there is also online PvP if you want to try it out. It has the bones of a decent mobile game, but it definitely needs a coat of polish, especially in regards to the wait timers.
Price: Free / $9.99 per month / $69.99 per year
PicSo is an AI art generator app, and one of many new ones on the Play Store these days. It lets you create unique AI images just by asking it what you want. The screenshot above is a bit misleading, though, since you can do way more things than just ask for anime girls. It also does guys too. It worked pretty well in our testing, but there is room for improvement, as there is with most AI generation apps.
The one downside is the price. It’s a bit expensive for monthly use, and it seems to cap how many images a user can make with a credit system. We think a credit system disguised as a subscription system is a bit misleading, but if the developers fix it, this is otherwise good.
If we missed any big Android apps or games news or releases, tell us about it in the comments.
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