Welcome to the 439th edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- Instagram is testing a new age verification process in the US. It uses AI to check a person’s face to see if they are actually the age they claim to be. It’s a step in preventing kids from making accounts before they’re old enough to do it. It’s buggy, especially for women and people with darker skin, but we assume those wrinkles will iron out over time.
- The free versions of Google Hangouts began their transition to Google Chat this week. A lot of people are holding out on Google Hangouts for as long as possible. They won’t be able to hold out much longer, though. None of this is a surprise. Google announced the end of Hangouts last year. Hit the link for more details.
- Google is reportedly working on a new feature for Google TV devices. The feature would use your phone’s credentials to automatically sign into apps on the Google TV devices. For example, you would download Crunchyroll and Google TV would borrow the credentials from your phone so you don’t have to log in again. It is just some code in the Google TV Setup app. We’re not sure if it’ll become a full feature.
- Netflix Co-Chief Exec Ted Sarandos has officially confirmed that Netflix is working on an ad-based tier. He didn’t reveal much more than that, but it puts a confirmation on the matter. It’ll be cheaper than ad-free plans and that’s about all we know about it at this time. Hit the link to learn more.
- Arm made some announcements this week, including some new CPUs and a new GPU. You can read more about the CPUs at the link, but the GPU is more interesting for the purposes of this round-up. The Arm Immortalis is the first Arm GPU with ray tracing support. It boasts a 300% performance improvement over software ray tracing. Again, hit the link to learn more, but with more Android gaming consoles in the works, the new GPU could be a big deal.
Three Kingdoms: Hero Wars
Price: Free to play
Three Kingdoms: Hero Wars is a mobile gacha. Players build a team of heroes across a variety of different classes and the game boasts a roster of over 100 heroes at launch. The combat is pretty standard gacha fair where you place your heroes, use their abilities, and defeat the bad guys. There is a story to play through, alliances to join with friends, and the artwork is pretty decent. It relies heavily on the regular gacha formula, but luckily it does so well. The tutorial is awful, but after that, the game is pretty chill.
Price: Free / $2.49
Qlate is a combination of a notepad and a calculator. The notepad side of things is pretty simple. You can take notes, jot down ideas, or even keep lists. The calculator side of things is a bit more complex. You can do quite a lot of things with this from academic stuff to calculating other stuff. It’s definitely not your average calculator app in that regard. The app is free with ads or you can buy the premium version for $2.49. It’s definitely an interesting idea.
Price: Free to play
My Cat is a pet simulator game where you raise a cat. You get the cat as a kitten and then raise it. There are over 40 breeds of cats to choose from. It mainly consists of mini-games where you play with the kitten and just hang out. Players can even take AR selfies with their kittens in them. There are some social elements as well. You can visit your friends and play with your animals together. It’s a cutesy, family-friendly game. Just make sure to password protect your Google Play account before letting your kids play because there are in-app purchases.
Pluma RSS Reader
Price: Free / $2.99 / $2.49 per month / $39.99
Pluma RSS Reader is a clean, minimal RSS reader. It works like many other RSS readers except this one packs some extra features. You can get alerts based on keywords, a read-later list so you can catch up on stuff that interests you, and it supports both Pocket and Instapaper. There really isn’t much to say about it. It’s not necessarily unremarkable, but it’s also an RSS reader and we all know how those work. You can pay $2.99 to remove ads and get a few features or a subscription to get things like account syncing. The $39.99 price tier unlocks all features forever.
Jurassic World Primal Ops
Price: Free to play
Jurassic World Primal Ops is a top-down action-adventure game. Players are tasked with traveling the game world while saving dinosaurs. You’re trained as a dinosaur handler so captured dinosaurs become your companions in battle as well. That’s essentially the gameplay loop. You fight off poachers and other bad guys, catch dinosaurs, and explore the world. The release has been a little rough. The controls are a tad clunky and some buttons are very slow to react. It definitely has the potential to be good, but we’ll have to wait and see if the developers can straighten things out a bit.
If we missed any big Android app or game releases, tell us about it in the comments or tweet me at ThatJoeHindy.
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