Welcome to the 461st edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the highlights from last week:
- Google Messages received an update this week. It brought end-to-end encryption for group chats. This is a big deal as end-to-end encryption is such a big feature these days. The feature is currently in the beta version of the app, so we expect the full release to happen soon.
- South Dakota has banned the use of TikTok for all state employees. The region also urged other regions to follow suit. TikTok is constantly embroiled in data sharing controversies. South Dakota’s governor has decided not to collect information on her employees. Click the link to know more.
- Google took another shot at Apple this week for iMessage. Google once again has good things to say about RCS and is pushing Apple to use the technology again. Hopefully Apple will listen, but maybe not. Google compared Apple’s messaging system 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, but it still needs a lot of work.
- Spotify and YouTube Music released their year-end products this week. Spotify’s Wrapped launched on November 30, and if you have Spotify, you can access it now. Spotify also includes music personality on top of the usual stats and insights. The YouTube Music revamp launched on November 29th and includes things like Google Photos integration, in addition to some planned dramas. Anyone with any music service can now watch it. For anyone interested, here are the most popular YouTube videos of 2022.
- Google announced the winners of the 2022 Google Play Awards this week. Winners include Dream by Wombo, Apex Legends Mobile and BeReal. George R. R. Martin’s book Fire and blood It was a best-selling book and Janet McCurdy’s “I’m Glad My Mother Is Dead” was a popular audiobook. Click the link to see all the winners and runners-up.
Eminence in the shadows
Price: Free to play
Eminence in the Shadows is a new RPG from Crunchyroll. It is based on the anime and light novel of the same name. It’s somewhat related to anime and light novels, so it’s definitely something anime fans will want to play. However, it’s presented in a way that people who haven’t seen anything can still enjoy it. In terms of mechanics, it’s an RPG through and through. Summon characters to levels and then use them to continue the game. The combat is simple, with just a few buttons. Players are mostly trying to hit combos to deal a lot of damage. We wish we could say more, but the game had some glitches at launch and the developers are still sorting it out. Wait a week or so and it should be very stable.
Lalitam notification widget
Price: 2.86 dollars
Lalitham Notification Widget is a widget that shows you notifications. It’s useful so you don’t miss notifications, and it filters notifications too. So, you only see what you want. You basically create a widget, select the apps you want to see notifications for, and the widget will show you those notifications. There are different ways to customize. The developer provides some examples, such as using the full widget only for YouTube or podcast notifications, so you don’t miss uploads from your favorite creators. In any case, the app works well in our testing, and there are two Reddit threads with feedback and developer interaction. It’s good, but still good.
Talking Tom Time Rush
Price: Free to play
Talking Tom Time Rush is the latest game in the acclaimed Talking Tom franchise. This one is a runner type game like Talking Tom Gold Rush. In terms of mechanics, this is pretty standard. You run through the streets avoiding obstacles and collecting items. You use them to unlock items to help you progress further. There are also boosters, vehicles and costumes for players to find and unlock. It’s simple, family-friendly, and cute. Overall, it’s not a bad choice for casual mobile gamers or their kids.
Pillar: Time Tracker
Pivot: Time Tracker is an experience tracking app. You enter what you spend your time doing and you see the charts to see how you spend your time. From there, you can shift things around to spend more time doing what you want and less time doing what you don’t. It works by allowing you to create a library of objects. Then when you do them, pop up the app, select the activity, and say how long you did it. The app generates reports based on your input. You can use it for small things or for your whole life, the choice is yours. This article is free at the time of writing. The app hasn’t been around long, but it certainly has some promise.
King of Fighters Arena
Price: Free to play
King of Fighters Arena is a fighting game. He seems to be struggling to decide what he wants to be. It has combat controls, except for many free fighters. However, they are not the traditional controls that fighting game fans love. There’s a gacha element to the RPG-style leveling, so you can’t always perfect your way to victory. So, things like online PvP can get a little out of hand if you have a bad matchup. The game is not bad. The controls are good, the graphics are attractive, and there’s plenty to do. However, we’re still not sure if this is a gacha RPG or a fighting game, and the developers are still hitting some early game bugs. It has potential, but we don’t yet know how it will pan out.
If we’ve missed any big Android apps or games news or releases, tell us about them in the comments.
Thanks for reading. Try these too: