Welcome to the 453rd edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the headlines from the past week:
- Google has announced a new privacy and security hub for Android 13. The company announced it at the Pixel launch event earlier this week. The new hub merges privacy and security elements into a single user interface. There are also action cards to help users reduce their security risks. It will first go to Pixel devices later this year, with more devices down the line.
- Elon Musk is buying Twitter for real this time. This is the same price as the original offer. Plus, the documents are filed with the SEC, so there’s no turning back this time. This closes a chapter in one of the most controversial takeovers in recent memory. Click on the link to find out more.
- On a happier note, Twitter is finally releasing an edit button. It’s in testing right now, but there are already people on Twitter who have it. Twitter Blue users are the first to benefit from the new feature. We assume it will roll out to everyone over time. This is something that needed to be done for ages, so we’re glad to see Twitter finally catch up.
- YouTube strives to promote its YouTube Premium service. Unfortunately, this does not mean good things for users. YouTube is toying with the idea of putting 4K content behind its subscription service. We expect this to upset most people. However, most phones don’t have 4K anyway, so it’s not a huge loss for mobile users unless you’re streaming it or streaming it to a TV. Still, it’s not a decision we approve of.
- Google has officially announced the death of Google Stadia. It is not a surprise. The service was not popular, did not compete favorably with existing platforms, and required a constant internet connection. On the plus side, Google is refunding everything people have spent on Stadia. People always lose their backup files, but at least they can get them back. We surveyed our readers and around 50% of them think it’s a good decision. Click on the links to find out more.
Match Puzzle House
Price: free to play
Match Puzzle House is a match-three game. He plays like many others, but with four matching shapes instead of three. You move shapes on the screen to line up similar shapes to clear the board and score points. This one also includes a home decor element. You unlock objects to decorate your small living space. There is also a story to help as motivation to keep playing the game. It also includes leaderboard, races and boost items to help you get through more difficult levels. Not bad as far as match three matches go.
Google Pixel Watch
Google launched the new Google Pixel Watch app in conjunction with its recent Pixel Watch announcement. We haven’t tested the app yet because the watch is currently unavailable. However, we can assume some things. It appears to be Google’s equivalent of Samsung’s Wearables app, where you manage your watch. You’ll be able to change watch faces, change notification settings, manage thumbnails, and more. We’ll have to wait until the watches start shipping to people to see how the app works, but if it’s like the Galaxy Wearables app, it should work as expected.
Masha and the bear: my friends
Price: Free / $2.99 per month / $19.99 per year
Masha and the Bear: My Friends is a Tamagotchi style game. Players feed and dress their little animal companions and do other things to take care of them. There are other smaller mini games like playing harmonica, tennis and other stuff. This is a game for young children, so none of the mechanics are difficult to do. There is also no penalty for not doing things as quickly as possible. It’s not a bad game overall. However, we think some people may be put off by its subscription service. The good news is that it replaces in-app purchases, but we get it if people aren’t thrilled to pay a subscription for a game.
Price: Free / $7.99 per month / $59.99 per year
Readdle essentially relaunched its Spark Mail app earlier this week. The new app adds features, tweaks the UI a bit, and more. One of the biggest new features is support for iOS, macOS, Android, and Windows, so you get good cross-platform support for the app. There is also a new subscription feature for power users. It includes a home screen feature to better manage emails, an access control feature to accept or block incoming emails, a mute feature, and more. Thankfully, most of the signature features, like the smart inbox Spark is known for, remain free.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a free email client go premium. The hapless Newton Mail tried to do the same when it was called CloudMagic. In any case, Spark Mail seems to have at least tried to strike a balance between free and premium features, so we think it will fare better than Newton.
Spiritfarer Netflix Edition
Price: Free (with a Netflix subscription
Spiritfare Netflix Edition is, well, the Netflix edition version of Spiritfarer. You take on the role of Stella, a Spiritfarer tasked with seeing the spirits on the other side. You will encounter and care for these spirits until it is time to officially release them into the afterlife. The game also lets you craft, fish, farm, mine, cook, and upgrade your ferry over time. The game was ported to mobile by Playdigious, even though it is released under the Netflix banner. Playdigious does a good job, and it is indeed one of the best games to launch under the Netflix banner. This one is definitely worth trying out if you have a Netflix subscription, as the game is free as long as you have one.
If we missed any important news or releases of Android apps or games, let us know in the comments.
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