5 Android Apps You Shouldn’t Miss This Week
Welcome to the 461st edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the headlines from last week:
- Google Messages received an update this week. It brought end-to-end encryption for group chats. This is a pretty big deal since end-to-end encryption is a big feature these days. The feature is currently in the app’s beta version, so we expect the full rollout to happen sooner rather than later.
- South Dakota banned the use of TikTok for all state workers. In addition, the state encourages other states to follow suit. TikTok is almost constantly embroiled in data sharing controversies. The governor of South Dakota decided not to collect data on her employees. Click on the link to learn more.
- Google took another potshot at Apple for iMessage this week. Google once again highlighted the good things about RCS and is pushing Apple to adopt the technology again. We hope Apple is listening, but it probably won’t. Google compared Apple’s approach to messaging to the 1990s, which is a pretty good burn. While we’re on the subject, a new app is trying to let Android users actually use iMessage without an iPhone. We’ve tested it out, but it still needs a lot of work.
- Spotify and YouTube Music released year-end releases this week. Spotify’s Wrapped launched on November 30, and you can access it now if you have Spotify. Spotify also includes a music personality on top of its regular stats and insights. YouTube Music Recap launched on November 29 and, aside from some rollout drama, includes things like Google Photos integration. Anyone with a music service can check it out now. For anyone interested, here are the most popular YouTube videos of 2022 as well.
- Google announced the winners of the 2022 Google Play Awards this week. Winners include Dream by Wombo, Apex Legends Mobile and BeReal. George RR Martin’s book Fire and blood was the best-selling book and “I’m Glad My Mom Died” by Jennette McCurdy was the most popular audiobook. Click on the link to see all the winners and runners-up.
The Eminence in Shadow is a new RPG from Crunchyroll. It is based on the anime and light novel of the same name. It ties in a bit with anime and light novels, so it’s definitely something fans of anime might want to play. However, it is presented in such a way that people who haven’t seen anything can still enjoy it. In terms of mechanics, it’s an RPG through and through. You summon characters to level up, then use them to progress through the game. The combat is simple, with few buttons. Players mostly just try to hit combos to do massive amounts of damage. We wish we could say more, but the game had some crashes at launch that the developers are still sorting out. Give it a week or so and this should be much more stable.
Lalitham Notification Widget
Lalitham Notification Widget is a widget that shows you notifications. It is useful so that you don’t miss notifications and it also filters notifications. This way you only see the ones you want. You basically create the widget, select the apps you want to see notifications for, and the widget shows you those notifications. There are a number of ways to customize. The developer gives some examples, like using an entire widget just for YouTube or podcast notifications, so you don’t miss an upload from your favorite creators. At least the app works well in our testing, and there are a couple of Reddit threads with feedback and developer interaction. It’s niche, but it’s still good.
Talking Tom Time Rush
Price: Free to play
Talking Tom Time Rush is the latest game in the venerable Talking Tom series. This is a runner game, much like Talking Tom Gold Rush. In terms of mechanics, this one is pretty standard. You run along a path while avoiding obstacles and collecting items. You use the items to unlock things to help you progress. There are also boosters, vehicles and outfits for players to find and unlock. It’s simple, family friendly and sweet. All in all, not a bad choice for casual mobile gamers or their kids.
Pivot: Time Tracker is a habit tracking app. You enter what you spend your time on and then view the charts to see how you spend your time. From there, you can change things to spend more time doing what you want and less time doing what you don’t. It works by letting you create a library of things you do. Then, when you do them, you open the app, select the activity and say how long you did it. The app then generates reports based on your input. You can use it for small things or for life, the choice is yours. It is also free at the time of writing. The app hasn’t been out long, but it definitely shows promise.
King of Fighters Arena
Price: Free to play
King of Fighters Arena is a fighting game. There is also one that seems to be struggling to define what it wants to be. It has combat controls minus many free-to-play fighters. However, they are not the traditional controls that fighting game fans know and love. There is a gacha element with RPG-style leveling, so you can’t manage to win all the time. Thus, things like online PvP can feel a little out of control if you end up with a bad matchup. The game is not bad. The controls are straightforward, the graphics are appealing, and there are plenty of things to do. However, we’re not sure if this is a gacha RPG or a fighting game yet, and the developers are still hammering away at some early game bugs. It has potential, but we don’t know how it’s going to shake out yet.
If we missed any great Android apps or gaming news or releases, let us know about them in the comments section.
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