Opera, Freedom, Proactio, and other apps to check out this weekend

Welcome back to the weekend everybody! It’s time for another edition of our Apps of the Week roundup. This week we have some great picks for you including an AI-infused web browser, an app for blocking apps (oh the irony), and a task manager with a fun twist. And as always we’ve selected a great game for you to check out.

Opera Browser with AI

People forget about Opera when it comes to web browsers, and especially mobile web browsers, but it’s a competent alternative to Safari and Chrome. The latest update makes it even more intriguing by adding Aria, a new in-browser AI companion. I realize AI has become a bit of a gimmick these days, but there are some good arguments for combining it with web browsing and returning real-time search results. There’s also a good argument against it, as laid out by John Connor in the Terminator franchise. Anyway, if you haven’t checked out Opera lately, now is a good time to do it.

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Freedom: Focused Screen Time

I’m sure I’ve made this joke before, but who cares: oh the irony of featuring an app, that blocks the use of apps, on an Apps of the Week roundup. That’s essentially what Freedom does. You tell it which apps to block out, and it creates ‘Freedom sessions’ to help you concentrate on more important tasks. Think of it like Apple’s Focus feature, but instead of blocking alerts, it blocks the entire app. The developers say users on average gain 2.5 hours of productive time every day. Honestly, this was more for me than anything. I’ve been watching way too much TikTok lately. Seriously, I’ve opened it twice just in the short time I’ve been writing about this app.

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Did the developers forget to put an ‘N’ at the end? Is the app really called Proaction? Proactio just reads weird. I ran it through Google Translate and it actually means “suburb” in Greek, but that doesn’t really make sense in this context. ANYWAY, whatever it’s called, it’s billed as a task manager for kids, but I see no reason why adults can’t use it. The thing that caught my attention is the unique interface — your tasks are separated into blocks that are sized based on the amount of time allotted, and these blocks disappear like sand in an hourglass as the timer counts down. It’s a clever visualization, and as a full-grown adult I think it’s worth checking out.

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Merge Circle

What time is it? GAME TIME! Ok maybe that’s a little too much hype for this week’s game, which is a very chill, hyper-casual puzzle game. Perhaps that intro would be more appropriate for a AAA first-person shooter, or a sports game. Anyway, Merge Circle offers brain-teasing puzzles, combined with mesmerizing visuals and addictive gameplay. Each level presents a unique and thought-provoking challenge, requiring you to analyze the board, plan your moves, and execute them with precision. You can collect stars and unlock rewards, and compete against friends as you climb the leaderboards. Ok, see, that’s more like it. It’s GAME TIME!

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App-related news and tips from this week

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