Welcome to the 476th edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the headlines from the last week:
- TikTok claims the US is threatening to ban the app if it doesn’t separate ByteDance. This is part of an ongoing drama that started a few years ago. In short, TikTok is owned by a Chinese company, making US regulators nervous. The app is already banned on government devices in 30 states, so this is going to reach a climax eventually.
- A report this week shows that some YouTube videos are directing people to install malware. This isn’t necessarily new, but the scammers upped the game by using AI-generated people and voices to add a sense of legitimacy to the videos. The result is a 200-300% increase in malware installs over the last year. Hit up the link to learn more.
- India is currently fighting to remove pre-installed applications. The Indian government is mulling over some new rules that would require phone manufacturers to make all pre-installed apps uninstallable. However, some apps, like the camera app, are essential to the phone’s use, so OEMs are asking the government to make distinctions between what is and isn’t critical.
- Microsoft’s Chief Technology Officer in Germany, Andreas Braun, sat down and talked about the upcoming GPT-4. You’ve no doubt heard of GPT-3, which Microsoft now uses in Bing and Microsoft Edge. The next one is said to be even more powerful and better than the previous generation. Hit the link to learn details.
- Samsung is in some hot water this week. Users are accusing the tech giant of faking its hallmark moon shot feature by using AI to generate details the camera lens isn’t picking up. Samsung responded by saying, basically, that the AI only enhances what’s already there and doesn’t invent details on the fly. We polled our readers, and the majority agree that they want good moon shots without the need for AI tomfoolery. This is an ongoing debacle, so we’ll keep an eye on it.
Price: Free to play
Immortal Rising is a mobile RPG with 2D dash-and-slash mechanics along with idle mechanics. The graphics in this one are actually quite nice to look at, and it does the 2D silhouette thing pretty well. Your hero farms goods and gets stronger as you play. It adequately scratches that itch to collect things and level up, and you can definitely play this one for a while.
Price: Free / $1.99 per month / $18.99 per year / $28.99 once
Momentory is a journaling app with a lean toward mindfulness. IT encourages users to express positive emotions while also giving them daily and weekly goals with reminders. In addition to that, the app has a fairly decent journaling process that doesn’t ask a million questions. After a while, you can see your mood trends and work toward living a happier life. The app is free to use, but there is a subscription if you want to unlock all 50 mood categories. Alternatively, you can also just buy the app once for $28.99.
Drift CarX Racing
Price: Free to play
Drift CarX Racing is an arcade racer with simple controls and a simple premise. You fly around tracks to beat your opponents. There’s a focus on drifting to get higher scores as well. On top of that, you can customize and upgrade your car with various parts to give you an edge in any given race. The top down view and the one-finger controls work together well to make the game feel fun, and there are plenty of things for players to do. However, the game has some sloppy presentation around the edges, and the ads are a bit annoying.
Kiwi is a music app that lets you share your music tastes with your friends. It’s not a complicated app. You and your friends all connect through the app, and then post what you’re listening to. Your friends can rate your music and vice versa. This feels like a niche app, but it’s a nice way to discover some new music. It also gives you and your friends something to talk about. It has some bugs in terms of usability, but the idea is pretty neat. We also got a chuckle that the developer references one’s iPhone screen in the Google Play description.
Price: Free to play
Ace Racer is a new racing game from Netease. It’s an arcade racer that doesn’t put too much emphasis on realism. You get a car, customize it, and upgrade it like most racing games on mobile. However, the game lets you go over the top in terms of customization, and some of the animations are very colorful. It competes with games like Asphalt 9, and is better in some ways. Most of it is a preference, though. This is a fun racing game, even with the free-to-play elements.
If we missed any big Android app or game releases, tell us about it in the comments.
Thank you for reading. Try these out too: