Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps the latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications and the overall app economy.
The app industry continues to grow, with a record 218 billion downloads and $143 billion in global consumer spend in 2020. Consumers last year also spent 3.5 trillion minutes using apps on Android devices alone. App usage has risen faster than the amount of time that Americans spend watching TV. Currently, the average American watches 3.7 hours of live TV per day, but now spends four hours per day on their mobile devices.
Mobile apps are more than a means to kill time. They’re also big business. In 2019, mobile-first companies had a combined $544 billion valuation, 6.5x higher than those without a mobile focus. In 2020, investors poured $73 billion in capital into mobile companies — a figure that’s up 27% year-over-year.
The Week in Apps is a place to stay on top of this rapidly-changing industry. It includes news updates, funding, mergers and acquisitions as well as suggestions for new games and apps.
App store dominance could be ended by a new Senate bill
Three bipartisan U.S. senators, Richard Blumenthal (D–CT), Amy Klobuchar(D-MN), and Marsha Blackburn—introduced a piece of legislation known as the Open Markets Act that could alter the distribution of mobile software. Developers would be able to inform customers of lower prices in the app store (without fear or punishment) and allow alternative payment methods, sideloading, and third-party apps stores that could help developers avoid paying platform fees. The bill would prohibit platform developers like Apple or Google from using any non-public data they obtain via the app stores for building out competitors products and ranking those products higher.
The bill is being applauded by Apple critics, including the Coalition for App Fairness and its members, Epic Games, Spotify, Tile and others, who are now urging Congress to swiftly pass the legislation to level the playing field.
The companies sought out ways to cater to small developers, including lowering commission rates and increasing privacy and security. This could increase their argument that platform-maker platforms are a good fit for consumers.
This bill represents a significant first step towards market reforms, however, it is still premature to predict if and when it will become law.
Google, YouTube, and TikTok are following Instagram’s lead with enhanced protections for minors
Google and YouTube (as well as TikTok) this week rolled out a series of changes to their products and services to increase the privacy and security of accounts belonging to teenaged users under the age of 18. Although the specifics of these changes differ from one service to another, they are all focused on making young people’s accounts less private by default. They also make it clear that users have made an informed choice about whether to allow content or accounts to be publicized. This will limit how advertisers can target them. TikTok took it a step further and restricted push notifications for teens after their “bedtime”. YouTube, however, chose to disable its “take a rest” reminders and “bedtime” reminders.
The changes follow similar moves announced just weeks ago by Instagram, and follow increased pressure from the U.S. Congress to do more to protect younger users from the harmful impacts of using technology.
Tech companies might be trying to outdo the law by updating COPPA to expand protections for children younger than 13. However, all of these efforts do not include any plans to verify the ages of children on apps. It’s not clear how long-term these measures are going to be effective as many children already lie about their birth years at registration.
Samsung Unpacked Wrap-Up
Samsung this week hosted its Unpacked event, where it debuted the company’s latest mobile products. The smartphone manufacturer showed off new foldables including the Galaxy Z Fold 3 (clamshell! This will allow app developers to choose from a wider range of device types and sizes when creating their apps. Well, if these foldables ever gain market traction that is, instead of existing in consumers’ minds as a gimmick. (For what it’s worth, Microsoft hopped on the bandwagon.)
Samsung has also launched a smartwatch that uses Google’s WearOS.
- Apple has released iOS 15 beta 5 and iPadOS 15 beta 6Developers can offer minor adjustments and stability enhancements as platforms move towards a fall release.The following are new additions An updated weather icon with shading around Safari’s tab interface on iPad. A new warning popup reminding you that the iPhone can still be found when turned off. New splash screens for Apple apps. The integration of TestFlight information in the App store.More.
- Apple released a new developer tool that allows app makers to test how their app behaves when the device is connected to 5GInstead of Wi-Fi. This tool is required because iOS 15/iPadOS 15 devices automatically prioritise 5G over WiFi when Wi-Fi’s performance slows down.
- Apple settled a 2019 lawsuit with Corellium, a company that builds virtual iOS devicesSecurity researchers use it. Apple claimed Corellium infringed on its copyright by selling the product without restriction and breaching platform security. Apple’s claims were dismissed by a judge, who noted that Corellium had established fair use. The terms of the settlement agreement weren’t disclosed.
- Apple’s Find My app in iOS 15 will use Bluetooth technology to precisely locate AirPods AirPods will be tied to Apple ID (Pro or Max) devices.
- Google launched Android 12 beta 4,The platform’s biggest feature has been its stability. App developers can test their apps prior to the official release without worrying about any future changes. Android 12 features a major redesign with an improved “Material You” design language, and enhanced privacy protections.
- Google banned the location data firm SafeGraph, Funded by an ex-head of Saudi intelligence. This was to pay developers to incorporate their data collection tools into their apps in order to resell them the data to other agencies or companies. SafeGraph apps will need to delete the code.
- DoorDash held discussions to purchase Instacart recentlyAccording to a report byInformation. Talks fell apart between the $40 billion and $50 billion deals that would have combined two of the most popular food delivery services — one for grocery shopping, and one for restaurant dining.
- Weedmaps added in-app cannabis purchasing for iPhone usersThis is a. App Store is now more flexible. There are restrictions Weedmaps customers can browse and select cannabis, and order it or have it shipped to them directly from the app.
- Instagram is testing ads in its Shop tab These allow brands to use either an image or image cartousel. These ads will be launched with an auction-based design and only available on mobile devices.
- Snap has hired Joe Darko, a Facebook AR executive, Information reported. Snap’s AR Developer Relations will be overseen by the new AR leader. He was previously responsible for setting up Spark AR Partner Network.
- Venmo announced it would allow its credit card holders to automatically buy cryptocurrency with their card’s cashback Cash Back to Crypto is a brand new feature that allows you to purchase Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash. The cardholders have the option to choose between Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash. There are no transaction fees.
- Snap Creators are moving to other platformsAs the bonuses for company founders dried up CNBC discovered This is Snap used to pay $1 million per day for creators who posted on its TikTok rival, Spotlight. It now pays “millions of dollars per month” to creators who post on its TikTok competitor, Spotlight.
- Instagram’s TikTok competitor, Reels, added a new feature that allows users to search for audio to include in their short-form videos, and the pages for the tracks will show the other videos that used them — like TikTok offers.
- A report circulating this week claims TikTok surpassed Facebook’s downloadsIn 2020 which um?We already knew Many months ago? It did.
- Instagram rolled out new anti-abuse featuresAfter high-profile racism incidents took place following the Euro 2020 finals, angry fans assaulted players. The new tools are There are limits enables you to restrict some groups from commenting or DMing for a time period; and allows you to expand your DM’ing capabilities. Hidden Words To include more emoji and an aggressive “Hide More Comments” feature.
- Instagram took down a website, LikeUp.Me, selling fake likes and followersThe site is available at. This site was paid a C&D by Facebook and had made around $100K over the last year.
- Reddit is rolling out a TikTok-like video feed button on its iOS appIt is available in English. This feature is available to “most” iOS users. It allows users to comment, upvote and downvote the video, as well as gift or share an award. To see other videos and similar to TikTok, swipe up. Surprisingly the company claimed that its Dubsmash IP acquisition was not part of this project.
- WhatsApp will gain the ability to transfer chat history between mobile operating systems.This feature will first be available on Samsung devices, and then it will roll out to other Android platforms, as well as iOS. Samsung customers will be able to use Smart Switch’s data transfer tool. This already copies personal data among devices. Customers can also move encrypted WhatsApp chat history including voice notes and photos.
- Google encourages mobile hangouts users switching to Google Chatvia an in-app message reminding users that Hangouts is being discontinued. Google Play was the first place that angry users went to to vent their frustrations. They received dozens upon dozens of negative reviews. That’s how it works Messaging app strategies can be disastrous Google, look now!
- Messenger delves into the design of its recently launched “Soundmojis,”You can combine an emoji with a sound to make a unique expression that is universally understandable and unexpected.
- Facebook is bringing end-to-end encryption to Messenger callsThe company noted that E2E was now the industry standard. E2E will be tested for Messenger group chats, calls and Instagram messages.
- Apple’s next iPhones will allow you to “video-portrait”“ Bloomberg reported This is a Additional features include the possibility to capture video in ProRes format, which is a higher quality format. Also included are new filters to enhance the photos’ appearance.
- As Instagram’s photography community is getting increasingly frustrated by the app’s shift to videoA new app, called Glass Launched in beta for photographers of all sizes. You can now see the As Om Malik reported the following Glass has been in beta testing for six months. It is beautiful, fresh and reminds me of early Instagram. There are comments and followers and support. But Glass stands out by its lack of clout through public likes.
- Facebook Dating is gaining an “audio chat” feature It will also allow matchmakers to communicate via voice to build a relationship. The site is also adding Lucky Pick to help users find daters that are not typical of their preferences and Match Anywhere to allow them to look at locations beyond their immediate city.
- A Match beta test is targeting users’ most common dating app complaints, like too much swiping and ghosting Match will now offer weekly “Matched by Us” recommendations. Match now offers weekly “Matched by Us” recommendations. It will prompt users unmatching or responding, rather than leaving messages hanging. It also suggested that it might offer a human-led matching feature.
- Tinder’s interactive feature, “Swipe Night,” is coming back after a 20 million user turnout from its “season 1.” The new version won’t be a choose-your-own-adventure, but rather a “Gen Z whodunit,” the company said, and will use the quick chat feature that allows users to chat without having first matched.
Streaming & Entertainment
- HBO Max added free episodes to its platform, including its app for mobile devices. You can watch 13 episodes of top originals and shows without having to pay, such as “Euphoria”, “Game of Thrones,” Lovecraft Country,” and “Veneno.” Also, you can browse the catalogue and see other content that is available with a subscription.
- Spotify representatives informed users on the forum that the company was abandoning its efforts to support the AirPlay 2 technology, which has been around for almost three years.Spotify said that AirPlay 2 would be supported for now, but did not give a timeline. Spotify, an Apple critic and steadfast supporter, is reluctant to provide support for other Apple products such as the HomePod speakers.
- YouTube’s Android App is testing a new gestureThat will. Allow users to navigateIts video, “Chapters”, was made by double tapping with both fingers.
- A new U.S. streaming report by Penthera found that 71% of viewers stream video on 2 devices per day, on averageThis includes a mobile and connected TV. 82% said that they watched videos at home. Now 92%, up from 88% in last year’s survey, say that streaming is their biggest issue.
- App Annie released its 2021 gaming report, which estimates mobile gaming will reach $120 billion in consumer spending by year-endThis is a staggering 3.1x higher than the consoles. Some other highlights are:
- The hypercasual subgenre is home to 4 out of 10 top-downloading games. __S.177__
- Happy Glass is the fastest hypercasual ever to surpass 100 million downloads.
- Gaming reached new heights due to the pandemic. In March 2020, weekly game downloads reached 1 billion and have been there since then.
- H1 2021 saw over 810 video games that exceeded $1 million per month in consumer spending, an increase of 25% over 2019.
- In 2021 H1 there were more than 1 Billion downloads and $1.7Billion spent per week. 5 billion hours of mobile gaming was spent globally in the last five years.
- App Store consumers spending was the highest in mobile gaming market, with the U.S. topping it. __S.184__
- AppLovin was the top-rated app for global downloads. Tencent was dominant in consumer spending.
- U.S. Mobile game use is dominated by females (64%). This is not true in all markets. In Japan (56% male), and South Korea (53% male), mobile gamers are more likely to be female. __S.189__
- U.S. mobile tabletop game spending rose by 40% to $704 million over the past 12 months, a Sensor Tower report found. Solitaire Grand Harvest by Supertreat was the top-grossing game, followed closely by Solitaire TriPeaks (GSN), then Yahtzee and Buddies Dice (Scopely). However, downloads declined by 12% over the same period, reaching 202.7 million installations in 12 months (compared to 230.7 million the previous year).
- Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney found a surprising surprise in recently unsealed court documents from the Epic Games against Google antitrust case. Sweeney learned from Google that the company had considered buying his company in the past. This was related to Epic’s move to be a competitor to Google Play. These documents refer also to “frankly awful” sideloading experiences on Android.
- Google-owned navigation app Waze announced a partnership with Too Good To Go,An organization which works closely with small businesses to reduce food waste. This partnership will showcase independent grocery stores and restaurants in selected U.S. towns that have taken steps to decrease food waste through the Waze map. They also offer “surprise bags” of food, which contain 3x the food value of the original bag. Although the food tastes great, it can’t sell second-day orders and would be thrown away.
- OpenTable’s app added a new Direct Messaging feature that lets diners and restaurants communicate directly after a reservation is made, instead of having to place a phone call This feature is useful for clarifying diner’s needs, making other modifications, and even letting them know that the reservation has ended.
- Tapjoy launched MobileVoice, a market research solution for surveying mobile-first consumersWhere researchers place bids for every response. Users will be able to bid higher for virtual currency, which encourages them to voice their opinion.
Government & Policy
- WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Twitter were restricted in Zambia amidst ongoing general elections On Thursday and Sunday, the polling days will be over.
- U.K regulators have criticized Facebook’s purchase of Giphy, a GIF database.The Competition and Markets Authority Which was announced A preliminary conclusion that the agreement “will hurt competition”
- India’s government says Twitter is now in compliance with the country’s new IT lawsThe company was required to nominate a chief compliance officer and nodal contact persons, as well as a resident grievance officers in the country.
Security & Privacy
- Recommended Reading: TechCrunch Editor-in-Chief Matthew Panzarino interviewed Apple Privacy head Erik Neuenschwander about the company’s plans to detect CSAMApple’s new Messages App safety features. The company’s implementation of the technology has caused controversy within the security community. Some have suggested that this could allow other agencies or governments to compromise their systems. Neuenschwander describes the protections of the system that are less effective for this — which means that it’s technology, not Apple, can prevent such abuse. You can opt out of iCloud Photos’ privacy protections by simply turning it off.
Privacy-oriented search app Xayn raised $12 million Global Brain (a Japanese telecom operator) and KDDI led Series A financing for the app, which combines search, discovery feeds and a mobile browser. It will be available in Asia and Europe.
Social banking app Kroo raised $24.5 million Rudy Karsan (high-net-worth tech entrepreneur, founder of Karlani Capital) led Series A financing. This fintech, based in London, offers prepaid cards and is now offering more banking services through its mobile app.
Pokemon GO developer Niantic acquired the iPhone and iPad app Scaniverse Unknown sum. Scaniverse allows you to scan objects or environments in high-resolution 3D. It will be available on the App Store and its founder will join Niantic’s AR team.
Car ownership “super app” Jerry raised $75 million The company was valued at $450million in series C financing led by Goodwater Capital. It uses automated technology to provide personalized quotes from over 45 insurance companies. However, the app is now expanding into other areas such as financing, repairs, warranties, parking and maintenance.
Mobile field service startup Youreka Labs raised $8.5 million In Series A financing co-led jointly by Boulder Ventures, Grotech Ventures. With a simple-to-use authoring tool and one-click deployment, the company makes mobile application development easy.
Reddit confirmed it has raised $410 million of a planned $700 million Fidelity led the Series F financing round. It valued the company at $10 billion. These funds will help to expand the community, advertising and headcount.
U.S. grocery delivery service Gopuff acquired U.K. competitor Dija The company, only eight months old at the time, was looking to expand its operations into Europe. Gopuff previously purchased Fancy, a comparable startup, three months earlier.
India’s VerSe Innovation, makers of Dailyhunt and Josh apps, raised over $450 million SigulerGuff led a Series I round of funding. Baillie Gifford and affiliates from Carlyle Asia Partners Growth II were also involved. Dailyhunt has now reached over 300 million users and Josh now boasts 115 million.
Social calendar app Saturn raised $35 million General Catalyst and Insight Partners led the raise, which brought its total to date to $44 millions. High school students can use the app to track their assignments and manage their time. They also have the ability to chat with other friends on mobile and web.
Fintech Robinhood acquired Say Technologies A company that offers a communication platform which allows small shareholders to ask questions of companies they are investing in. Robinhood has made its first significant purchase, a $140 million cash deal.
Medal.tv, a short-form video clipping service and social network for gamers, entered the livestreaming market with the acquisition of Rawa.tv, A Twitch competitor based out of Dubai. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, however it was worth seven figures.
Turkey’s Trendyol, an e-commerce website and app serving over 30 million shoppers, raised $1.5 billion The company was valued at $16.5 million in the round. General Atlantic, SoftBank Vision Fund 2 Princeville Capital, and sovereign wealth funds ADQ (UAE), and Qatar Investment Authority were co-led.
Argentine fintech Uala raised $350 million in Series D funding, valuing its business at $2.45 billion. It offers a Mastercard as well as an app that allows users to access investment products and bill payment solutions. The startup has already issued over 3.5 million Mexican and Argentina cards.
Fintech Chime Financial has raised $750 Million in a round valued at $25 Billion. This is ahead of a planned IPO next Year. Sequoia Capital Global Equities, a new investor, led the round. Today, Chime offers no-fees bank services and credit cards through its mobile app.
Mexico’s Orchata, a mobile app for getting groceries delivered via micro-fulfillment centers, raised $4 million Seed funding is available from angel investors Javier Mata, Brian Requarth, Brian Hennessey and JAM Fund.
Krafton, the South Korean maker of PUBG, closed 9% down on its first day of trading On Tuesday, the company’s debut was made at $432 per share. Analysts claim that the company attempted to exit with an excessive valuation. The valuation at closing was $19.32billion. PUBG Mobile’s app store sales have generated over $6.3 billion of player spending to date.
Crypto app Coinbase’s stock jumped 7% on Wednesday after better-than-expected earnings, The company posted $1.6 billion net profit in the third quarter, which was higher than analyst expectations. Earnings per share were $3.45. Coinbase’s trading volume increased 38% to $462 Billion in Q2.
TikTok owner ByteDance is considering a Hong Kong IPO, The FT reported. This Beijing-based tech company could list either in Q4 2021, or early 2022. The company’s last fundraising of $5 million in December 2020 valued it at $180 billion
AppLovin, a mobile marketer and provider of games, saw its stock rise 4.2% after hours tradingAfter the company had reported, Wednesday Revenue growth of 123% to $669 Million Year-over-year, the company’s revenue rose to $299 million. This is higher than analyst expectations. The EPS for the past year was 4.1%, compared to a 10 cent loss in the previous year.
The Disney+ streaming service beat analyst expectations to reach 116 million subscribers In Disney’s fiscal quarter 3. Disney has almost 174 million subscribers to Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+.
Reelgood is a streaming guide that has been able to help you find new shows and keep track of your favorite ones. Now, the company is introducing a new feature called Search Party, which makes it easier for two or more people to find something to watch that they all agree on. Users can use the familiar swipe-left or right method to search for a match. You can also set additional filters such as release year, IMDb rating and genre to limit its recommendations. Reelgood alerts the group when one or more matches are detected and opens a new tab that displays all matches sorted by total “Likes.” Reelgood can be downloaded for free on iOS and Android.
PairPlay is a clever new app from Jonathan Wegener, previously co-founder of Timehop and product designer at Snap, which turns a pair of AirPods into a two-person adventure game. To begin the audio challenge, you and one player split up the AirPods. One person will take the left AirPod while the other takes the right. Each player will be able to hear different parts of the audio adventure story, and they can play it together. You may be playing secret agents, ghost hunters or robots in storylines. This game can be enjoyed with children as young as 7 years old, but it is also suitable for adults. AirPods are required to download the app.
Publited at Sun, 15 August 2021 00.17.55 +0000