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- Google was initially going to auction off space for search engine options in Europe. This came after the EU told them they had to give users a choice in search engines. Now, after pressure from the EU, Google is scrapping the whole auction idea and letting search engines participate for free. It’s a weird and complicated situation, so I recommend you check out the link for more details.
- Android and PC users are finally getting access to Apple’s FaceTime. It won’t be a native app, unfortunately. Instead, users have to use a web browser to do it. It’s good news for basically everyone since FaceTime is basically ubiquitous among Apple users. FaceTime is also getting new features that will be available starting with iOS 15.
- A CDN provider called Fastly had some internet issues this last week. This resulted in a ton of websites going down, including Reddit, The Verge, Pinterest, Twitch, Stack Overflow, and several other large sites. A fix was eventually rolled out so the outage didn’t last very long. However, it was a rather large outage that a lot of people noticed.
- Samsung launched a huge revamp for its SmartThings app this last week. The new revamp includes an overhauled UI that should help be easier to use. SmartThings is a fairly powerful platform, but it was always powered by an underperforming app. Hopefully this is a step in the right direction for Samsung and SmartThings.
- The Android 12 beta was launched this week and with it came a preview version of the color picker. This lets you pick a wallpaper and the OS creates a theme using similar and complementary colors. It’s in its very basic stages. However, Google also updated its messages app to support the new features so you can see how it looks in an app. Check it out!
- Another big feature to come with the new beta is the new Privacy Dashboard. This feature tells you what apps use which permissions, when, and in some cases, how often. It wasn’t available in the beta that launched shortly after Google I/O, but it’s there now. People with select Pixel devices can download the beta and check it out now.
Lost in Blue (Global)
Price: Free to play
Lost in Blue is an interesting game with a neat premise. You end up stranded after an airplane wreck and must survive the wilderness. The game has elements of adventure, survival, strategy, and social gaming. You can team up with people, defend yourself against other people, explore various things, and build your survival shelter. The game just launched so there are some bugs and glitches. However, assuming the developer gets those ironed out, this should be one of the better free to play games of the month.
Phi Metronome is a simple metronome app for musicians. It works like most metronome apps where you can set it and use it to play music. What makes Phi Metronome different is the ability to create custom time signatures. This gives musicians a lot of flexibility and customization to expand and practice with a lot of different signatures. It is also one of only a few that lets you use irrational numbers in the time signature. It’s obviously a lot more than most musicians need, but those who demand more can get it here.
The Chest: A Cursed Hero
Price: Free to play
The Chest: A Cursed Hero is an idle RPG with similar mechanics to most idle RPGs. This one sets itself apart by making the protagonist a loot chest thanks to a witch’s curse. Players travel across the game world, do battle with bad guys, and level up their abilities. Most of the combat is done automatically with minimal player input. Of course, the game continues in the background when you’re not playing. The game seems to run rather poorly on lower-end or older devices. Hopefully the developers optimize a bit later on down the line, but it’s something to be weary of for now.
Time Rise is a timer app with a very simple UI and premise. It functions like a digital hourglass. You set a time, flip your phone upside down, and watch the timer do its thing. This is great for basic stuff like exercising or as a kitchen timer since you can see the time remaining without needing to read small numbers. The developer is also working on adding more features in future releases. This app is entirely free at the time of this writing.
Price: Free to play
OneBit Adventure is a roguelike dungeon crawler with pixel art graphics. This one has a lot going for it. There are multiple character classes to choose from and each one has its own style of play. You level up and get more powerful as you dungeon crawl and kill monsters. The mechanics are easy to learn. You simply swipe in the direction you want to go and then swipe into an enemy multiple times to attack them. The game also features infinite level generation, leaderboards (with in-game rewards), and more.
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