Andrew Grush / Android Authority
Welcome to the 510th edition of Android Apps Weekly. Once again we bring you the latest news and apps from the previous week. Let’s start with some of the biggest headlines from last week, which are very much dominated by Google in this week’s update:
- Fitbit’s latest software update brings back step streaks to iOS, while also introducing the feature to Android users for the very first time. What is Step Streaks? In short, it motivates you to keep your running streak going for as long as possible. Be sure to follow the link to learn more about the latest Fitbit changes.
- A new code dive has shed light on an upcoming Google Message feature: Noise cancellation for voice recordings. This could be a very handy feature in situations where ambient noise is very loud, such as a coffee shop.
- YouTube recently started embracing AI in a big way and has begun by rolling out a variety of AI test features to select Premium Subscribers. This includes a new conversational AI chatbot, AI summaries of the comment sections, and more.
- A few days later Google also revealed another new YouTube AI experiment called Dream Track. This feature lets you type out an idea and then pick from a carousel of artists to create a 30-second Short soundtrack using the artist’s voice. Some of the participating artists include Demi Lovato, John Legend, T-Pain, and Charlie Puth.
- Yet another Google-related code dive! Reportedly, Google Play contains code indicating a new feature called Cubes. This is a WIP feature that would help with content discovery across various categories including what to read, what to play, what to listen to, and more.
- Google first announced plans for Photo Stack earlier this year, but now its new Google Stack photo feed has begun rolling out to some users. The new interface is much cleaner and easier to use, making it a welcome change.
- Google has also begun rolling out Profile Discovery to Google Messages. In short, the feature allows you to create a profile with your name and photo to help those with your phone number or email recognize you in Google products.
Android Apps Weekly: New apps and games of the week
Looking for some new Android apps and Android games to keep you occupied? Below, we take a look at some of our favorite suggestions for the week. This week, we have four games and one app suggestion.
Based on the name, you might think this is some kind of gimmicky Android battery saver like we all foolishly had installed on our devices in the old days of Android. Instead, this is actually a handy tool that was built by a Google Pixel Watch 2 owner who felt that with a few tweaks, battery life could be greatly improved. This app basically helps you quickly enable or disable certain settings in order to squeeze more battery life out of a Wear OS device.
Although you have to pay for it, the app doesn’t even cost a full dollar so it’s a pretty easy impulse buy that could make a huge difference for Wear OS users.
- Price: Free with in-app purchases
Cyber Rebellion is a turn-based cyberpunk arena RPG with solid visuals, unique character designs, and music that slaps hard. I had a fun time with it during my short playthrough but I found the storyline is pretty much generic as all can be, with just a bunch of armies preparing to fight one another. The interface is also a bit clunky, though I started to adjust to it reasonably fast.
It’s also worth noting that while it ran on my Pixel 7 without issue, I tried it on my son’s aging Pixel 4a and found it could get pretty laggy on older hardware during cutscenes and other situations with lots going on at once. Even so it should be playable on most devices, just it may run a little less smoothly for older phones.
Refind Self isn’t your typical game, as it’s a personality test hidden in disguise. Your goal is to make decisions in the game based on how you’d really handle them yourself. The game then picks up and analyzes your decision, ultimately creating a personality profile for you. It doesn’t just factor in what choices you make, but even where you go first and the people you choose to talk to.
This might sound like a simple one-off experience, but the game is much deeper than you’d think and there’s a decent amount of replayability. After all, you could intentionally respond in ways you wouldn’t the first time around just to see what it says about this personality type. I played this one originally on Steam a bit ago, but it’s now available for the first time on Android. It retains the same experience as before, just with mobile-optimized controls built in.
Bid Wars 3
- Price: Free with in-app purchases
The third game in the series, Bid Wars 3 puts you into the Storage Wars life, letting you bid on storage auctions in an attempt to make huge profits. You can sell to pawn shops and much more. It’s a fun game though I felt like there were a lot of menus and sub-menus that you had to endure to get into the action. Sometimes I feel like mobile games are way more complex than they need to be, especially when you want to jump right into the action. Still, it’s a fun game that’s free to try, though there are ads and in-app purchases.
Hade’s Star: Dark Nebula
- Price: Free with in-app purchases
Hade’s Star: Dark Nebula is basically a mobile take on a 4X multiplayer strategy game, as this is nowhere close to the depths of a console or PC 4X game like Stellaris. The research trees and other modes of progress aren’t as fleshed out as they could be. The battles are very simplified. There are a few mini-games thrown in to help it feel a bit deeper, but overall this is a much more shallow experience. Then again, so are most mobile games compared to what you’d find on PC or console. This is designed to be something you play on the fly, and for that, it works pretty well.
The visuals are good and I had a lot of fun, but I don’t see myself engaging in hundred-hour campaigns the way I have in the past for games like Civilization, Europa Universalis, or Stellaris. Still, it could be a nice little time waster for 4X fans as long as they go in with their expectations in check.
Pro Tip of the Week
Starting with our 510th edition of Android Weekly we’re introducing a new Pro Tip of the Week section. While this might not appear in every addition, every so often we’ll share with you a tip or suggestion that we think could benefit our readers. This could include app recommendations for obscure apps that aren’t new, how-to guides for emerging issues, or any advice we think will help you out.
Why pay for premium apps when you can get them for free?
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
This week’s tip is around premium apps. I continually am passing out this simple piece of advice to friends and families, so I thought I’d share it with our readers: Get Google Opinion Rewards.
This app sends you simple surveys sporadically covering topics such as your web browsing preferences, places you’ve visited with your phone, and more. It even lets you share receipts from places you’ve shopped, it’ll ask a few questions, and then reward you.
Yes, you’re basically selling your info and opinions, but this is stuff Google is already tracking. Might as well at least benefit from it. You can easily earn enough to pay for a few premium apps a month, and it’s even possible to pay for Google One Drive with it.