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5 Android apps you shouldn't miss this week - Android Apps Weekly
Welcome to the 477th edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- Google Messages has a new feature in the beta version. It lets AI come up with responses to messages you receive. It was found in an APK teardown, and the feature isn’t active yet. However, with the massive surge in AI news this year, we expect it to be an extension of Smart Reply, but with AI.
- Google Calendar is apparently adding better support for birthdays and anniversaries soon. The app lets you add those things now, but with basic reminders that don’t do much. This new feature lets you add additional, customizable reminders. It’s a small thing, but considering that Facebook hasn’t notified me of a birthday in years, this will be nice to have.
- Microsoft’s AI now creates images using only words. Microsoft calls it the Bing Image Creator, and it’s accessible through bing.com/create. You simply tell it what you want to see, and the AI creates it. There are some limitations. For example, we tried asking it to make an image of a Rihanna concert, and it refused, citing Microsoft’s terms of service. Still, it’s a neat tool.
- Google, meanwhile, is giving people access to its Bard AI project. It wants people to start using Bard so that Google can better tune the AI’s knowledge and responses. Some of its early tests were comical, to say the least, but testing with a large number of people is an excellent way to gather more data. Our own C. Scott Brown tried it out and seems cautiously optimistic about its capabilities. You can also join the waitlist if you want to try it out yourself.
- Microsoft is apparently working on a rival game app store for Android and iOS. Its focus is gaming, and Microsoft wants it to have integration with Xbox’s ecosystem, including things like achievements. This, of course, isn’t tenable at the moment. It could do a game store for Android that users can sideload, but it’s not possible on iOS at this time.
BT21 Pop Star
Price: Free to play
BT21 Pop Star is a match-three puzzle game. Players progress through the game by clearing stages like most match-three games. Each completion gets you closer to earning puzzle pieces, which you collect and assemble. That’s the main gameplay loop, and what you’ll spend most of your time doing. You get some traditional match-three elements like power-ups to help you complete puzzles, and it’s really not a bad entrant into the genre. There are some early loading issues, but those should be taken care of in future updates.
Dreamai is an AI art generator app. Much like Microsoft’s Bing Image Creator above, this app lets you create images by describing what you want with words. The app then attempts to create that image with AI. The app is rather new, so there isn’t a lot of data on how well it works, but it seemed to work okay in our testing, although we didn’t get anything quite as nice as the screenshots above. That may be user error, though. In any case, it’s a fun little app that further explores the AI theme of 2023 so far.
EA Sports MLB Tap Baseball 23
Price: Free to play
EA’s annual baseball game is out for Android. This year’s edition features updated rosters, some revamped features, and multiple game modes. At its core, it’s a simulator where you collect players, build a team, and then face off against other players. There are tournaments, events, and special players to collect. In addition, the game’s graphics are reasonably okay. You also get to play some baseball, but it’s nowhere near as in-depth as a console baseball game. It should provide fans of the sport with some distraction while commercials run during games, and it’s not terrible to play overall, despite its aggressive in-app purchases. It’s a shoo-in for the best Android baseball games.
Prosper is a mental wellness app. It’s much like a modern mobile diary app where you can check in daily with your mood. The app then helps you deal with negative moods with a variety of little tips and tricks, along with things like relaxation activities. You can track your mood over time and see if you’re trending up or down. The UI is clean and easy to use. There’s a modern feel to it as well. We don’t have any real complaints with this one, but its effectiveness is based on the user, not really the app. If it works for you, that’s great. If not, that’s okay, better luck next time.
Price: Free to play
Mighty Doom is the latest game from Bethesda. It’s a top-down adventure shooter where you mow down hoards of enemies with various weapons. It has that arcade feel, and it’s really fun when you unlock one of the truly powerful weapons. Who doesn’t like watching tons of enemies up and vanish? The game doesn’t feel or play much like its namesake, Doom, and that’s a solid knock against it. Fans of the elderly shooter won’t find their Doom kicks with this one. However, if you take away the Doom aspect of it, it’s a nice little time waster, and we think it’s alright.
If we missed any big Android apps or game releases, tell us about them in the comments.