Welcome to the 488th edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- WhatsApp is allegedly working on multi-account support. This is a big deal. For a long time, people would need to install multiple copies of the app. It’s a feature that is only available on some Android phones. Hit the link to learn more.
- The EU is working on the AI Act as it moves to regulate AI. The AI Act is in its final phase as we speak. Broadly speaking, the act puts restrictions on the riskiest uses of the tech. One such example is limiting the tech from creating illegal, racist, or biased content. The US is working on a similar bill, and we should see more widespread AI regulation over the next year or two.
- Google Home’s script editor is now available to all users. Its functionality is pretty simple. It lets you create more advanced smart home automations using the Google Home platform. It’s currently available to anyone via the web app. You can do some pretty powerful stuff, but as usual, we expect functionality to improve over time.
- Google Bard isn’t appearing in the EU anytime soon. Europe has, more or less, temporarily banned Google’s AI tool over concerns about user privacy. The Irish Data Protection Commission questioned Google about all of this, and didn’t get the answers they wanted out of the tech giant. It’s a temporary roadblock, though, and we expect Bard to launch in the EU eventually. On the plus side, Google rolled out AI-powered features in Search, Maps, and other apps this week.
- The Reddit controversy continued this week as many subreddits intentionally went dark in protest. Unfortunately, before it even took place, the CEO issued an internal memo saying that the company wasn’t going to back down. Among those was r/Android, which extended its outage until June 20th. Most of the Reddit protests are over now, but don’t be surprised if some subreddits remain dark for a little longer.
Lack-Back Camp All-in-one
Price: Free to play
Laid-Back Camp All-in-one is game that centers itself around the Lack-Back Camp anime universe. It’s a narrative-driven game where you progress the story by watching cut scenes. Between those, you build a camp, eat food, and make friends within the game. It’s a surprisingly chill game where there isn’t a bunch of action. You’ll spend the majority of your play time watching story cut scenes and playing around with your camp and cast of characters. It’s a nice homage to the anime, and we think fans will enjoy it.
Stippl is a travel planner that aims to do more than the average travel planner. It does the basic stuff such as planning your itinerary, choosing your accommodations, and planning your budget. It also has some extras like a notes section as well as a sync function to the desktop version so you can continue planning on your computer. It checks the right boxes, and the functions seem to work well for the most part. However, like most new apps, there are some bugs the developers still need to work out and some of the features could use a few improvements. Overall, it’s not bad.
Static Shift Racing
Price: Free to play
Static Shift Racing is a surprisingly competent racing game. Players race around tracks where drifting is a major part of the mechanics. As per the norm in this genre, there is also car modification and customization. The customization isn’t quite as clean as some of the bigger names, but the modifications are surprisingly deep. There is an open world for players to drive through, reminiscent of the old Need for Speed games, and there are plenty of races for you to play through. The graphics aren’t quite as crisp as some competitors, but it’s so fun to play that we’ll give it a pass.
Price: Free / $6.99 per month / $35.99 per year
Insight Journal is, well, a journal app with AI built in. You record the events of your day, and the AI part of the journal helps you review the day through the scope of focusing on the good things. You can tune it to focus on other positive emotions to help you find the good in your day-to-day life. The app also includes a collection of over 3,500 books that you can read and reflect upon. Overall, it provides the same functions as other journal apps, but it does so in such a way that it helps you focus on specific things. It’s not bad, but it is expensive.
Pokemon TCG Live
Price: Free to play
Pokemon TCG Live has been in open beta for a long time, and officially launched just this last week. It offers cross-platform play between mobile, PC, and Mac OS. In terms of mechanics, it plays like most card dueling games, except with the unique Pokemon spin. You collect cards, build a deck, and duel it out against opponents. In addition to the main mechanic, the game also features battle passes so you can earn extra rewards, and more. Interestingly, it also has support for the old Pokemon Trading Card Game. You can import your collection from that game to this one, and even use old codes from the previous game. It’s still quite buggy, and that’s a primary complaint among players, but we’re sure it’ll improve with time.
If we missed any big Android apps or games releases, tell us about them in the comments.