Welcome to the 431st edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- WhatsApp rolled out some new features on May 5th, 2022. The big new drop is the Communities feature where users can create communities to talk about stuff, similar to apps like Discord. Some other new features include emoji reactions, groups with up to 512 people, and 2GB size limits for file shares. Hit the link to learn more.
- Google, Apple, and Microsoft are working together to deploy password-less sign-ins. Some other companies use this technology in varying ways. This new way uses a person’s phone as a sort of hardware key. It would store a FIDO passkey that lets them log into services by confirming the log-in on their phone. It’s kind of like if you combined passwords and 2FA. Hit the link to learn more.
- Android 13 is adding some restrictions to sideloading APKs. It’s not going away. However, Android 13 requires the app to have come from an app store. This could become sticky because the goal is to not give sideloading access to apps from untrustworthy sources. However, it’s not up to Google to decide what is and isn’t trustworthy.
- YouTube Go is being killed off. The app was meant to be a lighter, less intensive app for lower-end devices in areas where mobile data is slow. Google says the regular app has improvements for those very use cases and it should provide a better experience overall.
- Google Play had a pretty big update this last month. Included were a variety of bug fixes along with some new stuff. The update includes account management and system management bug fixes, new Nearby Share functionality, new discoverability features, and enhancements to Google Play Billing. We usually don’t talk about Google Play updates, but this one was rather extensive. Hit the link to learn more.
Gigantosaurus Dino World
Price: Free to play
Gigantosaurus Dino World is a kids’ game with a bunch of dinosaurs. At its core, it’s a puzzle game with a bunch of mini-games to keep kids entertained. There are several dinosaurs to play around with and customize as well. Overall, it’s not bad for kids, but it is a tad slow for adults. There are in-app purchases to unlock stuff and we’re not big fans of that. Make sure your Google Play account is password protected and everything else should be okay.
Price: Free / $4.99
Console Launcher is a neat idea that may be more useful later rather than now. It’s a home screen launcher specifically for devices with gaming controllers connected. It operates in landscape mode by default, full controller support, and even the UI is optimized for controller use. The app looks a little bit like an oversimplified version of the Nintendo Switch’s UI. It has some bugs and was launched with a crash bug that dragged down its Google Play rating, but it’s since been fixed.
Price: Free with in-app purchases
Influent is an educational mobile game that helps teach new languages. The app comes with French, Italian, and Korean out of the box, but more languages are available as in-app purchases. It’s a unique sort of game. Players are dropped into an environment where they can interact with basically everything. The game shows you each object in the language you select and it helps you learn the language by interacting with objects directly. It’s not bad for what it aims to do, and extra languages aren’t that expensive.
Price: Free / $59.99 per 3 months / $119.99 per year / $249.99 once
Lover is an app to improve your sex life without pills or surgery. It aims to help with things like low desire, difficulty reaching climax, reaching climax too quickly, erectile dysfunction, and a host of other issues. Yes, it’s a self-help app. It uses courses and activities to coach people into more active and satisfying sex lives. Of course, this isn’t the most comfortable topic to talk about, but the app does seem like it has some good advice.
The only downside is the price. It asks for $59.99 per 3 months, $119.99 per year, or $249.99 for a lifetime membership. Sex therapy can be a lot more expensive than that, though, so this might be a bargain depending on who you ask.
Nova: Iron Galaxy
Price: Free to play
Nova: Iron Galaxy is a space strategy game. There was a massive supernova and it’s caused a bunch of chaos. You try to harness that chaos into profit by building a ship, building a base, making friends, and exploring the galaxy. You’ll also try to find out more about the supernova that blew everything up. It’s a pretty big and deep game. The mechanics are pretty simple to learn. Unfortunately, there seems to be some connectivity issues upon release, but the developers will likely clean that up.
If we missed any big Android app or game releases or news, tell us about it in the comments.
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