Welcome to the 437th edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the big headlines from last week:
- WhatsApp has a few announcements this week. You can now control who can or can’t view your profile. This is definitely a security feature, and you can click on the link to learn more about it. Also, now you can transfer data from Android phone to iPhone directly, and that helps people who switch from one phone to another iPhone.
- We asked our audience if they used any other app store besides Google Play. Most of our readers don’t. That part was predictable. However, 48% of our readers actually use alternative app stores. That’s a little higher than expected. Click on the link to view the poll.
- Google dropped Android 13 beta 3.1 this past week. It’s not a scheduled drop and appears to be a bug fix. This enables the Feedback app for people who might not have it. There’s a second rollout later in the week to fix several other bug issues, including an issue with the back button not working properly.
- Samsung has been caught cheating on benchmarks once again. This time for TV benchmarks. The company has TVs that do their color and brightness specifically for benchmarks, so the numbers seem better. Samsung says it will update the TV to fix this. The company also announced Samsung Wallet, a real upgrade to Samsung Pay. It supports payments as usual but also includes support for digital car keys along with cryptocurrency investments.
- Adobe tinkered with the idea of creating a free web version of Photoshop for everyone. This can be a huge problem for Chromecast users who don’t have the full version of Photoshop available to them. Adobe is testing this in Canada right now. We’ll see if they keep it up.
Artery Equipment: Fusion
Price: Free to play
Artery Gear: Fusion is a mobile RPG with gacha elements. It plays like a normal mobile RPG, but the gacha elements are similar to Epic Seven or Azur Lane. The characters are all mech girls, and it’s a very popular premise. The mechanics are pretty easy to understand. In particular, the combat is pretty neat. Players have the ability to tune their auto-combat to prevent resource overuse and we really like that. You get the usual stuff like banners, various characters to drag, PvP and more. You also get to interact with your characters a bit more than your standard gacha. It has potential, but you have to like the whole chibi thing to really enjoy it.
Price: Free / $4.99
Calendar Notifications lets you view your calendar and agenda as a persistent notification in your notification panel. This lets you see up to a full month or as little as one day. You also get some customization options, although they aren’t huge. In short, it’s basically placing a widget in your notifications. Of course, its uses are limited, and you really have to rely on your calendar to make it work. Luckily, they’re not too expensive, and you can try them before you buy them.
Price: Free to play
Kingdom Maker is a strategy game where you run an empire. That includes buildings, combat, and all that. There’s actually a story with this one where you take on the bad guys and defend your turf. Plus, there are upgrades to unlock, and buildings let you do lots of different things. It has a lot of potential, especially as it is reminiscent of older empire builders. A common complaint is the amount of time it takes to do anything, and upgrades can take a long time. It’s flawed, but there’s nothing wrong with that.
Glimesh is a live streaming service that tries to focus on engagement and discoverability. You can stream a lot of things, including games, art, and music. You can even hang out and chat with your followers if you want. The company is also part of the Public Company Initiative for transparency. It even works with OBS if you’re streaming from a PC. Not many people there yet, but has potential.
Music Star Ensemble
Price: Free to play
Ensemble Stars Music is a new rhythm game with some potential. The game has a story like many mobile rhythm games, but people are turning up for the mechanics, so let’s talk about that. The UI has the shape of a half moon where you tap on one of seven nodes to hit a note. There is a tap and hold along with a double tap and swipe. Some of the songs are quite easy, but the difficulty increases as you go through them. The free-to-play element isn’t friendly, and we really don’t like it when games have separate “premium” gems compared to the regular in-game gems. The story and mechanics are great, so you might have fun as long as you can get through the free-to-play stuff.
If we missed any major Android app or game news, let us know in the comments.
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