Developers Criticize Meta Platforms for Costly VR App Fees

Meta Platforms is facing a backlash based on the fees it is charging virtual reality developers for access to its Meta Quest Store, which uses a financial model similar to that of leading mobile app stores. The Meta Quest Store supports the leading consumer market VR headset, the Quest 2, and reportedly demands 30 percent from digital purchases and anywhere from 15 percent to 30 percent on subscription sales, which is comparable to Apple and Android store fees. Because Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg previously criticized those companies’ fee structures, he’s being labeled a hypocrite by those opposing the charges. Continue reading Developers Criticize Meta Platforms for Costly VR App Fees

Gen Z Is Drawn to BeReal, a Photo App with No Ads or Filters

French mobile app BeReal, available for iOS and Android smartphones, has become a hit with Gen Z users. Pitched as an authentic alternative to image-driven social apps like Instagram and TikTok, college students and other young adults have driven what Sensor Tower says are nearly 6.8 million downloads in the past two years. BeReal’s primary feature is it pings all users at the same time, once every 24 hours, prompting them to snap and post a photo. Timing of the prompt changes every day in an effort to catch users at random unprepared moments. Continue reading Gen Z Is Drawn to BeReal, a Photo App with No Ads or Filters

Facebook Caught in Fee Controversy for Free Mobile Service

Facebook finds itself the subject of yet more unflattering allegations, this time claiming the company gouged people in third world countries by charging them for services it had said would be free when making deals with cellular carries in the areas. Internal documents are said to have surfaced indicating that after promising to let low-income citizens in places like Pakistan, Indonesia and the Philippines use a pared-down version of Facebook along with some Internet browsing without incurring data charges, the Meta Platforms company wound up charging, in total, millions of dollars a month. Continue reading Facebook Caught in Fee Controversy for Free Mobile Service

Google Roils Digital Advertising Ecosystem with New Policies

Google revealed plans to stop individualized tracking to serve digital ads. Since it is the largest global purveyor of digital advertising, Google’s move will doubtless have an impact, possibly moving the entire industry away from the practice, which has been criticized by privacy advocates. Rather than build alternative tracking systems, Google is developing new technologies to target ads without collecting individuals’ information. One analyzes browsing habits and allows targeting of “cohorts” rather than individuals. Continue reading Google Roils Digital Advertising Ecosystem with New Policies

App Annie Reports Growth in Mobile Game and App Spending

App Annie predicted that mobile game and app spending will have grown 25 percent to $112 billion in 2020. Director of market insights Amir Ghodrati added that the company will likely revise these numbers upwards at the end of December. Both iOS and Android showed record-breaking growth, with 65 percent of spending going to the former and almost 30 percent to the latter. Apple iOS and Google mobile app and game downloads are expected to reach 130 billion in 2020, up 10 percent from 2019. Continue reading App Annie Reports Growth in Mobile Game and App Spending

Spatial VR/AR Meeting Platform Is Now Free and Open to All

Spatial lets its enterprise customers use VR or mixed reality headsets to meet in virtual spaces. The company now plans to launch support for desktop web browsers, Android and iOS — open to all and free. That support means virtual meetings can include participants who do not have a headset. According to Spatial co-founder and chief executive Anand Agarawala, “in light of COVID, we’ve actually had an intense amount of demand — about a 1,000 percent increase.” He added that, unlike Zoom, “something like VR gives you that level of presence and personification.” Continue reading Spatial VR/AR Meeting Platform Is Now Free and Open to All

Google Assistant Adds Read Aloud, Sensor Support Features

Read It is a new Google Assistant feature that reads web pages out loud in 42 languages. Accessible through browsers and Android smartphones, it is launched by saying “Hey Google, read it” or “Hey Google, read this page.” Users can adjust the reading speed, and the feature highlights words as they are read out loud. Buttons can be used to skip forward or backward in the text or pause the reading. Google also added native support for sensors in Google Assistant, and a special device type for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Continue reading Google Assistant Adds Read Aloud, Sensor Support Features

Supreme Court: App Store Customers Can Now Sue Apple

In what could become a landmark decision, the Supreme Court has ruled to allow individual iPhone users to sue Apple in antitrust violation cases related to the tech giant’s App Store. In a 5-4 decision written by Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court agreed with a lower court ruling that determined App Store customers could sue Apple for allegedly driving up prices by forcing them to purchase apps exclusively from the App Store. Apple lost its argument that was based on the contention that third-party developers set the prices for apps. While Apple holds steady in its belief that it does not represent a monopoly, the ruling could have future ramifications regarding consumers who seek to sue other app sellers for antitrust violations. Continue reading Supreme Court: App Store Customers Can Now Sue Apple

Google Announces Plans to Bring Electronic IDs to Android

On the final day of its annual I/O developer conference in Mountain View last week, Google announced plans to bring Electronic IDs like driver’s licenses and club memberships to Android, and that all new Android Q devices would be required to encrypt user data. These developments could move users one step closer to using digital wallets as valid identification for in-person transactions. As part of the announcement, Google indicated that it’s looking into adding Electronic ID support so developers can build mobile apps for secure ID use.

Continue reading Google Announces Plans to Bring Electronic IDs to Android

Demise of Google+ Points to Facebook’s Social Dominance

Google is shutting down its Google+ social network in the wake of revelation that a software bug exposed the data of up to 500,000 Google+ users since 2015. The company also debuted tools that give users more control over the data they share with Google-connected apps and services. The demise of Google+ is in stark contrast to its 2011 launch, when it represented an “exclusive club” that required a private invitation to enter. In following years, Google discovered running a social network is trickier than it appears to be. Continue reading Demise of Google+ Points to Facebook’s Social Dominance

Adobe Updates Creative Cloud with Photoshop App for iPad

Adobe Systems, now focused on a strategy to make its popular software compatible across multiple devices, plans to introduce a full version of its popular Photoshop app for Apple’s iPad, said sources. The app, which will likely be introduced at the company’s October creative conference, is also intended to drive new subscriptions. The new Adobe app for iPad will be released widely in 2019, although engineering could still change the dates. Adobe switched its business model to a software subscription model in 2012. Continue reading Adobe Updates Creative Cloud with Photoshop App for iPad

Brand Strategy for Mobile Apps Is Crucial, Tricky to Manage

Brands need an app strategy, say the experts. Shoppers, especially millennials, are increasingly purchasing goods through their smartphones. Forrester Analytics reports that smartphone purchases in 2018 will reach $118 billion, up from $13.4 billion in 2013. But to be successful with an app, the brand needs to ensure that its performance is superior, as users will quickly rid themselves of apps that are slow, push too many notifications, do not offer exclusive sales or promotions or have a confusing layout. Continue reading Brand Strategy for Mobile Apps Is Crucial, Tricky to Manage

App Store Spending Predicted to Reach $75.7 Billion in 2022

App Annie has released new stats regarding the first 10 years of Apple’s App Store. According to the analytics and market intelligence firm, there have been more than 170 billion downloads from Apple’s iOS store through December 2017, which represents in excess of $130 billion in spending. An increasing number of apps have exceeded the $1 million and $10 million consumer spending milestones, with “plenty more to come,” predicts App Annie. The U.S. leads the world with 40.1 billion downloads and $36 billion in consumer spending, followed closely by China and then Japan. Continue reading App Store Spending Predicted to Reach $75.7 Billion in 2022

Hulu Upgrades Mobile Apps With Live TV Guide, Vertical Video

Hulu will soon debut upgraded iOS and Android mobile apps with a new live TV program guide and a vertical video player that will let live TV viewers stream linear programming while browsing the channel guide. The streaming service’s iPhone and iPad apps will also get support for HDMI-out and Android apps will enjoy improved performance on Chromecast. Users will also be able to improve personal recommendations by deleting entries from watch history and removing certain kinds of programs. Continue reading Hulu Upgrades Mobile Apps With Live TV Guide, Vertical Video

Google Upgrades Gmail With New Look and Security Features

Google just introduced upgrades to its Gmail service, which includes a new look to the web app and a variety of new features. G Suite, its business-centric paid productivity service that includes Gmail, is the main focus of the upgrades, but many features will also be included in the free Gmail service. Gmail product manager Jacob Bank said the overhaul is intended to make “Gmail the most secure, the smartest, and the easiest to use email client” with “a ground-up rewrite” of the flagship Gmail product. Continue reading Google Upgrades Gmail With New Look and Security Features