expo start bug: "Manifest string is not a valid JSONObject only in apk

System OS: Windows 7
Expo CLI: 3.11.3
Expo sdk: 36.0.2
Bug Screenshot: (attached)

Trying to run expo start on an expo-bare project. Was working fine couple days ago but getting this error.

Tried to run expo start on another project, and getting the same error - think it’s something with configuration.

Checked after running expo start, going to http://172.31.99.86:19000 to confirm it’s returning a JSON object and it is: http://prntscr.com/qhyao7

Checked out similar question: Manifest string is not a valid JSONObject only in apk ----- but I couldn’t find the android/app/src/main/assets/shell-app-manifest.json inside of my directory. No ‘assets’ inside of android/app/src/

Anyone know how to fix this?

PS. seems to be working for Android on my Mac environment, error just on my Windows.

Thx

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