Welcome to the 423rd edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- Google updated several of its apps over the course of the last few weeks. Some of the features include better iMessage support in Android Messages, a grammar correction feature in Gboard, a portrait blur mode in Google Photos, and Live Transcribe now works offline. Click the link to see the full list.
- Color OS gained a pretty neat feature paired with an app. It uses an app to detect hidden cameras in a room. The app seems to use Wi-Fi to detect if a camera is transmitting video. It’s not available globally just yet so for now it’s restricted to the Find X5 in China.
- Google is working on a new Android feature for archiving unused apps. It basically lets you archive an app without uninstalling it. The feature is currently under development so we don’t know all of the details. However, this could be a neat way to save some space.
- We did a poll asking our readers if they actually subscribe to YouTube Premium. As it turns out, many of our readers do. About 60% of respondents said they do, in fact, use YouTube Premium versus about 40% who said they did not. Hit the link to read more about what our readers think of YouTube Premium.
- Last week we talked about Samsung throttling over 10,000 apps through its Game Optimization Service (GOS). This week, things escalated. Samsung confessed to throttling, but says it’s only restricted to games. Geekbench banned Samsung flagships from using its app for benchmark manipulation a few days later. Finally, Samsung began rolling out GOS updates for the S22 series on March 10th for more granular management instead of automatic management. The update is only available in South Korea for now.
NJPW Strong Spirits
Price: Free to play
NJPW Strong Spirits is a New Japan Pro-Wrestling game. It has a unique premise. You wrestle characters like any other wrestling game. However, this game incorporates live-action video into the mix. Basically, it’s a turn-based fighter where you select moves. It then shows a real video of the actual wrestlers performing the moves with some gameplay elements laid over top.
This is definitely one of those games where the presentation is more fun than the gameplay, but you really haven’t played a game like this before. It’s free to play, but it’s not too big of a deal.
Price: Free / $10.99
EasyCanvas turns your tablet into a digitizer for animation use in other apps. An example of a use case is connecting your tablet to your PC with this app and then using your tablet to draw in Photoshop. Dedicated drawing tablets can cost quite a bit. However, devices like the Samsung Galaxy Tab have built-in support for things like pressure levels, palm rejection, and other such features. This app helps you use those to make art. It’s a newer app, but it seems to work pretty well.
Price: Free to play
Mini Basketball is an arcade basketball game. You play the role of manager as you build out your dream team and face various opponents. Most of the game is centered around collecting, upgrading, and customizing your team. However, you actually do get to play basketball. The touch controls are pretty basic, but effective. You can move, shoot, pass, and defend. There is also a sprint button for short bursts of speed.
This one is free to play and, unfortunately, you can buy your way into a pretty good team. However, since you do have to actually play the game, there is at least some skill involved in winning matches.
Alpha KWGT is a theme pack for KWGT users. The app includes 45 widgets and over 50 wallpapers. There are a variety of home screen setups to choose from and they can look pretty slick. It uses a minimalistic style with clean colors and simple widgets to create its effect. The app runs for $0.49. You also need to have KWGT installed as well, otherwise, none of it will work.
Price: Free to play
Phobies is a card dueling game. You collect cards with characters that represent common fears. You use those cards to duel opponents and win battles. There are over 120 Phobies as of launch. There is also a solo mode, online PvP, and you can face off against friends in private battles.
The animations and graphics look pretty good. However, the game does ask you to pay an exorbitant amount for cards. You can grind them out if you play long enough, but it still doesn’t feel good that you can buy your way to better decks if you want to. Hopefully, Smoking Gun Interactive balances this out a little bit before it gets out of control.
If we missed any big Android apps or games releases, tell us about them in the comments.
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