Welcome to the 469th edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the highlights from the past week.
- India’s Supreme Court upheld a court ruling this week on how Google handles Android. The ruling forces Google to make OEMs choose which Google apps to include, let users choose their search engine, and make a number of other changes. The changes could also change how Google treats Android in other parts of the world. Click the link to know more.
- It is said that Google currently has more than 20 AI products under development. The company has turned to AI to compete with ChatGPT, which is a bigger disruption than Google envisioned. Some products are for developers, and others will be useful for us users. That includes potential chatbot functionality in Google Search. We will let you know if any of these projects are released to the public.
- Apple is said to be engaged in a silent war against Google. The company is investing in a variety of products to directly combat Google, including an Apple-powered search engine, online advertising, and more. If true, this is a huge deal, and could affect how Google handles some of its products in the future.
- The Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Google. The claim is that Google has a monopoly in the digital advertising space that unfairly favors its own products. The lawsuit alleges that Google has a monopoly on everything from advertising to digital creation tools, and that other competitors are being crushed as a result. With 92 percent of search engine dominance, there’s a case to be made, but competing companies like Meta, Microsoft, and Amazon are taking the ad revenue out of the case.
- Google has wanted to hide old and abandoned apps in the Play Store for a long time and Android 14 could be the beginning of this. The new OS is said to have stricter restrictions on older apps, and may prevent users from installing older apps onto their devices. The idea is that older apps give users a worse experience. However, many people use older versions of apps to get new changes to apps they don’t like. We’ll learn more once Android 14 starts rolling out later this year.
Price: Free to play
Flash Party is a fighting game very similar to Super Smash Bros. where players fight against opponents on a platform until the opponents fall. The game has more than 20 heroes to play with. There are four classes of heroes, and each class is unique in a different style of play. The game includes 1v1, 2v2, and 4-player free-for-all game modes with a soccer mode and some temporary events. It’s incredibly fun to play, and includes controller support. There seems to be a bug where the controls on the screen are not positioned correctly, so hopefully, the developer will fix it soon.
Price: Free trial / $10.99 per month / $109.99 per year
Herc is an audio recorder and text transcription app. It can record anything but the developer designed it for things like speeches. It records the audio, transcribes it and makes the text searchable. So, if you want to see what someone said, you can record the entire conversation and search for the part you want. It’s not a complicated app, and the UI is functional. It worked flawlessly on our tester device. The app also includes a 7-day free trial, after which you must register to continue using it.
Devolver Tumble Time
Price: Free to play
Devolver Tumble Time is a match-three style game with a physics-based tumble mechanic baked into it. You’ll be scratching your head until you find some matches. The matches disappear from the tumbler, and continue until you clear the level. The game includes power-ups and heroic abilities to help you clear Templar quickly. It’s not a complicated game, so once you get the gist of it, you can continue playing. The only criticism we have is that the game definitely needs two coats of polish. It feels like a beta game, especially on low end devices. Once everything is cleared up, it becomes time-wasting fun.
AI assistant widget
Price: Free / $4.99 per month / $9.99 per year / In-app purchases
AI Assistant Widget is a chatbot that uses ChatGPT, i.e. GPT-3. It is not a very complicated application. A small face will pop up on your screen. Click and ask it and the OpenAI bot will answer. It performed well during our testing. I asked him some math problems and recipes, and the bot answered all the questions correctly. But, if you ask him for something longer, he will stop for a while. This is an interesting application because there are many OpenAI applications popping up, and many of them don’t work or are scams. This, at least, seems to work most of the time. The bot answers in natural language, and you can copy and paste the answers if you want.
However, the developer went a little too far. They implemented a weekly subscription fee that no one should buy, and use the phrase GPT-4 even though the app uses GPT-3. Additionally, there don’t seem to be many customization settings, and what settings there are are mostly “personal” themes that cost extra to unlock, either through subscriptions or standalone in-app purchases. If your question has a link in it, it’s best to click the link instead of copying and pasting the link. Small things like this need to be improved. It works promisingly as most applications of this type do not exist. However, the developer should definitely clean it.
Price: Free to play
We haven’t heard much from Niantic lately, so it’s definitely nice to see the Pokemon Go developer release a new game. This revolves around basketball. It uses the classic Pokemon Go-style gameplay loop, but with a basketball twist. In the game, players go through their neighborhoods to find and challenge NBA players. The mechanics are fairly decent, and there are quite a few minigames to keep players engaged. Item management could be better, as you lose items more often than not. However, the game is surprisingly good overall, and while we don’t think it will reach Pokemon Go levels of excitement, it’s another good GPS game in a market that doesn’t have much.
If we missed any great Android apps or games, tell us about them in the comments.
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