Welcome to the 461st edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the headlines from the past week:
- Google Messages received an update this week. It brought end-to-end encryption for group chats. This is a big deal since end-to-end encryption is an important feature these days. The feature is currently in the beta version of the app, so we expect the full rollout to happen sooner rather than later.
- South Dakota has banned the use of TikTok for all state employees. Additionally, the state urges other states to follow suit. TikTok is almost constantly involved in data sharing controversies. The governor of South Dakota has decided that he does not collect data on his employees. Click on the link to find out more.
- Google took another potshot from Apple for iMessage this week. Google once again touted the benefits of RCS and pressured Apple to re-embrace the technology. 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. Since we’re on the subject, a new app is trying to let Android users actually use iMessage without an iPhone. We tested it, but it still needs a lot of work.
- Spotify and YouTube Music released their year-end stuff 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 in addition to its usual stats and information. YouTube Music Recap launched on November 29 and, aside from some rollout drama, includes things like Google Photos integration. Anyone with either music service can check it out now. For anyone interested, here are also 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 RR Martin’s book Fire & Blood was the best-selling book and Jennette McCurdy’s “I’m Glad My Mom Died” was the most popular audiobook. Click on the link to see all the winners and finalists.
Eminence in the shadows
Price: free to play
The Eminence in Shadow is a new RPG from Crunchyroll. It is based on the anime and light novel of the same name. This ties in somewhat with the anime and light novels, so it’s definitely something fans of the anime might want to play around with. However, it is 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. You summon characters to level up, then use them to advance through the game. Combat is simple, with few buttons. Players mainly try to hit combos to do huge damage. We wish we could say more, but the game had some crashing bugs on launch that the devs are still ironing out. Wait about a week and it should be much more stable.
Lalitham notification widget
Lalitham Notification Widget is a widget that shows you notifications. It’s useful, so you don’t miss notifications, and it also filters notifications. So you only see the ones you want. You basically create the widget, choose the apps you want to see notifications for, and the widget shows you those notifications. There are a variety of ways to customize. The developer gives some examples, like using a full widget just for YouTube or podcast notifications, so you don’t miss any downloads from your favorite creators. Either way, the app performs well in our tests, and there are a few Reddit threads with comments and developer interaction. It’s a 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 franchise. This one is a runner style game, much like Talking Tom Gold Rush. In terms of mechanics, this one is pretty standard. You run along a path while dodging obstacles and collecting items. You use the items to unlock things to help you progress even further. There are also boosts, vehicles, and outfits that players can find and unlock. It’s simple, family-friendly and cute. Overall, it’s not a bad choice for casual mobile gamers or their kids.
Pivot: time tracking
Pivot: Time Tracker is a habit tracking app. You enter what you spend your time doing, then view the graphs to see how you are spending your time. From there, you can change things up 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, choose 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 your whole life, the choice is yours. It is also free at the time of writing this article. The app hasn’t been out for long, but it certainly shows promise.
The King of Fighters Arena
Price: free to play
The King of Fighters Arena is a fighting game. He is also the one who seems to have trouble defining what he wants to be. It has battle controls unless many free fighters play. However, these aren’t the traditional controls that fighting game fans know and love. There’s a gacha element to it with RPG-style leveling, so you can’t really fight your way to a win all the time. So things like online PvP can feel a little out of control if you end up with a bad match. The game is not bad. The controls are fine, the graphics are attractive, and there’s plenty to do. However, we don’t yet know if it’s a gacha RPG or a fighting game, and the developers are still fixing some early game bugs. He has potential, but we don’t yet know how he will shake up.
If we missed any important news or releases of Android apps or games, let us know in the comments.
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