Welcome to the 437th edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- WhatsApp had a couple of announcements this week. You can now control who can or can’t see your profile. This is obviously a security feature, and you can click the link to learn more about it. Additionally, you can now transfer data from your Android phone to your iPhone directly, and that helps people who are switching from one to the other.
- We asked our audience if they use any other app stores besides Google Play. Most of our readers don’t. That part was predictable. However, 48% of our readers actually do use alternate app stores. That’s a bit higher than expected. Hit the link to view the poll.
- Google dropped Android 13 beta 3.1 this last week. It wasn’t a scheduled drop and appears to be a bug fix. It enables the Feedback app to folks who might not have it. There was a second rollout later in the week to fix some other bug issues, including a problem with the back button not working right.
- Samsung got caught cheating on benchmarks once again. This time, it’s for TV benchmarks. The company has its TVs juice their color and brightness specifically for benchmarks, so the numbers appear better. Samsung says it’ll update the TVs to fix them. The company also announced Samsung Wallet, an apparent upgrade to Samsung Pay. It supports payments like always but also includes support for digital car keys along with cryptocurrency investments.
- Adobe is tinkering with the idea of making its web version of Photoshop free for everybody. This could be a big deal for Chromecast users who don’t have a full Photoshop version available to them. Adobe is testing this in Canada right now. We’ll see if they keep going with it.
Artery Gear: Fusion
Stories: Free to play
Artery Gear: Fusion is a mobile RPG with gacha elements. It plays like a pretty typical mobile RPG, but the gacha elements are similar to Epic Seven or Azur Lane. All of the characters are mech girls, and that’s a surprisingly popular premise. The mechanics are pretty easy to grasp. In particular, the combat is kind of neat. Players have the ability to tune their auto-battling to prevent excessive resource usage and we liked it a lot. You get the usual stuff like banners, various characters to pull, PvP, and more. You can also interact with your characters a bit more than your standard gacha. It has potential, but you have to be into the whole chibi thing to really enjoy it.
Stories: Free / $ 4.99
Calendar Notification lets you view your calendar and agenda as a persistent notification in your notification panel. It lets you view up to a whole month or as little as a single day. You also get some customization options, although it’s nothing too major. In short, it basically puts a widget in your notifications. Of course, the usability of it is limited, and you really have to lean on your calendar to make it work. Luckily, it’s not too expensive, and you can try it before you buy it.
Stories: Free to play
Kingdom Maker is a strategy game where you run a kingdom. That includes building, combat, and all of that stuff. There is actually a story with this one where you take on bad guys and defend your realm. Additionally, there are upgrades to unlock, and buildings let you do a bunch of different things. It has a lot of potential, especially since it’s reminiscent of older kingdom builders. A common complaint is the amount of time it takes to do just about anything, and upgrades can take forever. It’s flawed, but there’s nothing seriously wrong with it.
Glimesh: Live Streaming
Glimesh is a live streaming service that tries to put a focus on interaction and discoverability. You can stream plenty of things, including gaming, art, and music. You can even hang out and just chit-chat with your followers if you want to. The company is also part of the Open Company Initiative for transparency. It even works with OBS if you stream from PC. There aren’t a lot of people there yet, but it has potential.
Ensemble Stars Music
Stories: 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 show up for the mechanics, so let’s talk about those. The UI has a half-moon shape where you tap one of seven nodes to hit the note. There is tapping and holding along with double taps and swiping. Some of the songs are pretty easy, but it does ramp up in difficulty as you play. The free-to-play elements aren’t friendly, and we really don’t like it when games have separate “premium” gems versus regular, in-game gems. The story and mechanics are good, though, so you might have a good time as long as you can get passed the free-to-play stuff.
If we missed any big Android apps or games news, tell us about it in the comments.
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