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5 Android apps you shouldn't miss this week - Android Apps Weekly
Welcome to the 485th edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- YouTube is adding longer, unskippable ads in the near future. These ads are upwards of 30 seconds long. However, this does replace the current model of two unskippable ads that are 15 seconds long each. In addition, YouTube is experimenting with showing ads while videos are paused. Google is also deleting old, unused accounts starting in December, including old YouTube accounts.
- Android 14 may have some tricks for split-screen mode. It’s actually an old trick, but it allows users to pair apps together to open in split-screen mode. Microsoft and Samsung devices have this feature already. It’s not confirmed, but it’s a nice quality-of-life improvement. Hit the link to learn more.
- WhatsApp is adding a Chat Lock. It lets you lock your extra private messages behind a password and effectively separates them from your other chats. The platform says this is for folks who share devices with their family members. However, we think it’ll be mostly used for more private stuff.
- Google Drive is adding a spam folder. The intention is to clean up your Google Drive space from erroneous shares that are either actual spam or from people you don’t know. It’s a fairly self-explanatory feature, so hit the link to learn more.
- T-Mobile is gracing its customers with another opportunity to get MLB.TV. This is one of my favorite personal services that T-Mobile offers, and it gives you an entire season of MLB.TV for free. The promotion begins May 23rd, and it’ll be your last chance to get it this season.
Weatherian is a weather forecasting app. Its main draw is that you’re supposed to look at it quickly and glean all of the information needed for the day. Everything takes place on a single screen with minimal clicks and scrolling. It works in about a half a dozen countries, and also sources weather data from multiple sources. We don’t think it’ll usurp the big dogs in this space, but it’s definitely useful for folks who don’t want to spend extra time moving around a larger weather app.
LotR: Heroes of Middle-earth
Price: Free to play
LotR: Heroes of Middle-earth is a new Lord of the Rings game. It’s a gacha game, so you’ll spend a significant percentage of your time collecting heroes from the movies and books. Once you form a team, you can choose to progress through the story or take on people in PvP. The combat is turn-based and not complicated so you should be able to get it fairly quickly. The only real gripe for this one is that the game progresses pretty slowly after a while, with long grinds necessary to complete some stuff. It happens with western gachas in particular, but we wish maybe it didn’t happen so often.
Price: Free trial / $15.99 per month / $99.99 per year
Imprint is an educational app that offers courses and information about modern stuff. It teaches users using the tried-and-true bite-sized lessons so that you can digest content over the course of the day instead of sitting around for hours. The course library is a bit different from a traditional educational app, and includes things like NFTs, blockchains, and some more typical stuff like philosophy and history. It’s a bit expensive, but similar apps have courses that can cost $100 or more, so we think the overall cost levels out over time. However, whether or not this is effective for you depends on what kind of learning you want to do. There is a free trial to check it out, which we recommend using before signing up for the expensive subscriptions.
Sid Meier’s Railroads
Sid Meier’s Railroads is a train tycoon game. You construct your train business by building railways and stations, delivering goods, making money, and using it to upgrade your business. There are 16 levels to complete along with a Train Table Mode where you can basically do what you want. Between the scenarios and the free play, there’s plenty of content here for you to play. It’s a bit expensive, but it’s just as good, if not better in some ways, as the PC version.
Artifact is a news aggregation app. You open the app, select the topics you care about, and then it populates a newsfeed with news articles about that thing. It has the same upsides and pitfalls as other apps like it. The app relies on established media brands for its news, and the personalization topics are fairly vague. What this one does nicely, though, is that it integrates any paid subscriptions you may have from many popular websites. It’s okay to use overall, and it doesn’t provide too much that Google Discover doesn’t already do on many Android phones.
If we missed any great Android app or game releases this week, tell us about it in the comments.