HTML5 Instant Games Threaten to Disrupt the App Store Model

The Android and iOS app stores have been dominant in gaming, but the advent of HTML5 may change that up. Developers will be able to create instant games, which they hope will grab the attention of more consumers. Games based on HTML5, which run in a browser and don’t require a download, are already being built into social media platforms and messaging systems. Instant game advocates argue that apps can be hard to find, require heavy advertising, and have to be downloaded and installed in order to play. Continue reading HTML5 Instant Games Threaten to Disrupt the App Store Model

India Opens its Massive Biometric Database to App Developers

Having created the world’s largest biometric-identity database, India is now opening it up for use by tech firms, healthcare providers and app developers. The country’s government had already culled fingerprints and eye scans, among other digital ID records, of nearly all its 1.2 billion citizens. Now, “India Stack,” a government-backed initiative, plans to standardize the digital exchange of that data. The result will make it easier for citizens to conduct financial transactions, get jobs and verify their identity. Continue reading India Opens its Massive Biometric Database to App Developers

European Broadcasters Create Web Videos for Young Viewers

While U.S. networks primarily repost their broadcast television shows online, European broadcasters are taking a different approach by producing short-form Web series that are created specifically for mobile viewing. The new shows are a way for broadcasters to compete with the growing popularity of Netflix and Amazon, while creating a new revenue stream as mobile advertising sales are expected to surge 82 percent in the next two years. The ads for these shows are often targeted at younger audiences who are more likely to be watching on the go. Continue reading European Broadcasters Create Web Videos for Young Viewers

YouTube to Phase Out its Unskippable 30-Second Ads by 2018

Google-owned YouTube announced on Friday that it plans to phase out its 30-second, unskippable pre-roll ads by 2018. Many users reportedly find the format obtrusive, so YouTube is killing the 30-second ads but keeping 20-second clips that cannot be skipped, and its six-second bumper ad format. YouTube will also continue to offer its TrueView skippable ads, which do not come with time limits and only cost advertisers when the viewer opts not to skip them. The move is in response to the growing popularity of mobile video. “More than 50 percent of YouTube’s video views now come from mobile devices,” reports Variety. Continue reading YouTube to Phase Out its Unskippable 30-Second Ads by 2018

Amazon and Google Look to Turn Home Speakers into Phones

Both Amazon and Google are thinking about turning their respective home speakers — Echo and Google Home — into home telephones. Knowledgeable sources say the tech giants could introduce the feature this year, with the goal of gaining yet more control over consumers’ home lives. But the companies are also finding that it’s not so simple, facing issues related to privacy, telecom regulations and emergency services — as well as the potential that consumers will be wary that their conversations are being recorded. Continue reading Amazon and Google Look to Turn Home Speakers into Phones

Signal App Update Adds Ability to Make Encrypted Video Calls

The Signal app from non-profit Open Whisper Systems provides end-to-end encrypted messaging, voice calling, and now video chatting. The new feature, along with improved voice calling functionality, comes as part of a beta update for the app’s Android and iOS versions. Signal is a popular choice for activists and journalists who need a private communications platform, but it is still struggling to find a foothold in the mainstream because it sacrifices some popular features for security.  Continue reading Signal App Update Adds Ability to Make Encrypted Video Calls

8i Demos Hologram Production, Set to Debut Holo Mobile App

Hologram production studio 8i plans to show off its technology and Holo, its new mobile app, at Recode‘s Code Media conference in California. The company, which gained visibility recently by creating a holographic video of actor Jon Hamm and NBA player D’Angelo Russell, also just received a $27 million series B round led by Time Warner Investments and including Baidu Ventures, Hearst Ventures, Verizon Ventures, German businessman Carsten Maschmeyer and others. That brings total funding up to $41 million. Continue reading 8i Demos Hologram Production, Set to Debut Holo Mobile App

Apple’s iPhone 8 to Feature Wireless Charging, OLED Screen

Apple may dub its next smartphone either iPhone 8 or iPhone X, but whatever the name, it will be a special 10th-anniversary version and, says a knowledgeable source, is likely to cost more than $1,000. That’s not really a stretch when you note that the 256GB version of the iPhone 7 Plus already sells for $969. The iPhone 8 will feature a range of new features, including an OLED display and a memory upgrade, both of which are expensive. The 5.8-inch phone is expected to look like a smooth black monolith. Continue reading Apple’s iPhone 8 to Feature Wireless Charging, OLED Screen

Cisco Study: Live Video via Mobile to Experience Major Growth

According to Cisco’s latest Mobile Visual Networking Index forecast, live video streaming via mobile devices is expected to grow by 39 times over the next five years (good news for Facebook, Twitter and others currently investing in live video). The study indicates that global live video streaming on mobile represented 52 petabytes of data last year, a figure projected to reach 2.02 exabytes by 2021. Interestingly, that will still only represent about 5 percent of all mobile traffic. “Cisco also predicted that mobile data traffic will grow to represent 20 percent of all Internet traffic in 2021, up from just 8 percent in 2016,” reports Variety. “By 2021, there will be 12 billion mobile devices in use, compared to 8 billion last year.” Continue reading Cisco Study: Live Video via Mobile to Experience Major Growth

Snap to Spend $1B on Amazon Cloud Services Over 5 Years

Yesterday we reported that Venice-based Snap Inc. — owner of the Snapchat app — had signed a 5-year deal for Google Cloud services valued at $2 billion. A revised version of its S-1 IPO filing, made public this morning, indicates that Snap is also planning to spend up to $1 billion on cloud support from Amazon Web Services. The deal was originally signed in 2016 and amended this week. According to Snap, it provides “redundant infrastructure support of our business operations,” and may lead the company toward investing in its “own infrastructure to better serve our customers.” Continue reading Snap to Spend $1B on Amazon Cloud Services Over 5 Years

Facebook Eyes Success with Mobile Ads and Focus on Video

In its Q4 earnings report, Facebook revealed that sales rose 51 percent to $8.81 billion, above the $8.51 billion average analyst prediction. The bump in revenue is largely attributed to advertising on mobile phones. Also, within the space of a year, monthly active Facebook users increased 17 percent to 1.86 billion people, with 1.23 billion checking daily and 1.74 billion accessing the social network via their smartphones. Facebook has now cemented its No. 2 position in the mobile advertising market behind Google. The company is also making a major move into video content. Continue reading Facebook Eyes Success with Mobile Ads and Focus on Video

Gen X Now More Obsessed with Social Media Than Millennials

A new report from Nielsen notes that Americans 18-34 years of age are less reliant upon social media than some older consumers. “Adults 35 to 49 were found to spend an average of 6 hours 58 minutes a week on social media, compared with 6 hours 19 minutes a week for their younger counterparts,” reports The New York Times. “More predictably, adults 50 and over spent significantly less time on social media, with an average of 4 hours 9 minutes a week on the networks.” Not surprisingly, the report stressed how important smartphones have become to people of all ages. The most popular mobile platforms, in order: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat. Continue reading Gen X Now More Obsessed with Social Media Than Millennials

Apple Notes iPhone Sales Increase, Looks to Expand Services

After three consecutive quarters of falling revenue, Apple is now experiencing strong demand for its iPhone 7, with a record number of iPhone shipments for the quarter ending December 2016. Despite that good news, the iPhone 7 failed to deliver the double-digit increase in sales that previous new iPhone models typically did in the first quarter after their debut. The iPhones, accounting for two-thirds of the company’s sales, pushed revenue up 3 percent to a record $78.4 billion. Apple’s service business is also booming. Continue reading Apple Notes iPhone Sales Increase, Looks to Expand Services

Social Campaign to Delete the Uber App Works in Lyft’s Favor

A viral campaign over the weekend to #DeleteUber took place in response to Uber’s actions or perceived actions surrounding President Trump’s immigration ban. Although Uber vowed to compensate drivers stranded overseas and set up a $3 million legal fund for those drivers, users weren’t appeased and the Internet was abuzz with thousands of photos of people deleting the Uber app from their phones. As a result, on January 29 Lyft had more downloads than Uber on iOS for the first time ever, according to App Annie. Continue reading Social Campaign to Delete the Uber App Works in Lyft’s Favor

Nielsen Modifies the Wide Release of its Total Content Ratings

Nielsen is no longer launching its syndicated Total Content Ratings on March 1 as originally planned — and has yet to reveal a new target date for when the data will be publicly released. “We’re going to revisit and reassess at a later date,” said Jessica Hogue, SVP product leadership at Nielsen. The new multi-platform TV metrics were expected to be made available to all clients, including networks, analysts and press, but instead will have a limited commercial release on March 1. The syndicated product is meant to publicly release the results of cross-platform measurements, including those across streaming platforms and mobile devices, for all networks implementing the tech. Continue reading Nielsen Modifies the Wide Release of its Total Content Ratings

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