Pinterest Launches TV Studio App for Creator Live Streaming

Pinterest has launched a new app that makes it easier for creators to live-stream content. Pinterest TV Studio for iOS and Android lets select creators stream live on Pinterest from multiple devices, in order to achieve different camera angles. Initially available in limited release, creators must obtain a special code from Pinterest in order to unlock the Studio functionality. As part of its latest quarterly earnings, announced April 27, Pinterest co-founder and CEO Ben Silverman said the company grew global revenue 18 percent year-over-year, “despite a challenging macroeconomic and geopolitical environment.” Continue reading Pinterest Launches TV Studio App for Creator Live Streaming

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

Spotify Debuts Live Streaming In-App, Rebrands Greenroom

Spotify is integrating live audio capabilities from its Spotify Greenroom app into the flagship Spotify service and rebranding the feature as “Spotify Live.” The company says the change “reflects our belief in the future of live-audio creators and live experiences being provided to all 406 million Spotify listeners around the globe.” Spotify Live will continue to live as a standalone app, as well as providing live-stream functionality within Spotify for music and podcasts. Beginning this week, Spotify will enable in-app live streaming for its original programming while independent creators can stream live using the separate app. Continue reading Spotify Debuts Live Streaming In-App, Rebrands Greenroom

Clubhouse Fights to Retain Share in Now-Competitive Market

The social audio boom that grew out of COVID-19 lockdowns has resulted in a reshuffling of players in the chat app space, as Clubhouse fights to maintain its once-dominant market share against competition from newer entries like Twitter Spaces, Spotify Greenroom and Facebook audio chat. Discord and platforms focused on gaming and NFTs also offer audio conversation features, and Amazon is reportedly working on a similar feature. Founded in 2020, Clubhouse initially had only Discord to contend with, resulting in early growth and a funding round valued at $4 billion. Continue reading Clubhouse Fights to Retain Share in Now-Competitive Market

Mobile Apps Trigger $133 Billion in 2021 Consumer Spending

Global consumer in-app spending is predicted to reach $133 billion in 2021, up nearly 20 percent from the prior year, according to market analytics firm Sensor Tower. Mobile games account for 64 percent ($89.6 billion) of the projected spend. While game revenue continues to grow, share of overall spending will by the end of 2021 have declined by 6.7 percent from 2020, due to “the persistent growth of non-game categories such as entertainment, which received a large boost from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.” TikTok is 2021’s most-downloaded app, according to the study. Continue reading Mobile Apps Trigger $133 Billion in 2021 Consumer Spending

Premium Twitter Blue Now Available in U.S. and New Zealand

The premium service Twitter Blue is opening to users in the U.S. and New Zealand, after having launched this summer in Australia and Canada. The Blue program is available for $2.99 per month on iOS, Android and the web. Blue subscribers gain a range of features, including the ability to undo tweets within 30 seconds of posting, categorizing saved tweets into topical bookmark folders, using a reader mode for turning threads into easy-reading text, and adding a custom range of app icons. Additional features available only to iOS users include mobile color themes, a customizable navigation bar, and the ability to pin conversations. Continue reading Premium Twitter Blue Now Available in U.S. and New Zealand

Senate Measure Could Impact Developers, App Store Models

The U.S. Senate introduced the Open App Markets Act to give consumers more control over their devices; stop app stores from ‘disadvantaging’ developers and allow them to inform consumers about lower prices and offer competitive pricing; improve the ability of startup apps, third-party app stores and payment services to compete; require devices to allow ‘sideloading’ of apps; and continue to protect privacy, security and safety of consumers. If voted into law, the Act could end Apple and Google’s monopoly over the app ecosystem. Continue reading Senate Measure Could Impact Developers, App Store Models

Apple, Epic Games Trial to Determine Anticompetition Charge

The lawsuit between Apple and Epic Games has come to trial and is expected to last about three weeks. Epic sued the Big Tech company over its App Store rule that developers must use its payment system, for which it charges a 30 percent fee. Epic Games has also sued tech giant Google for the same issue on its Play Store. The European Union has similarly charged Apple with violating antitrust laws. At the trial, Epic’s lawyers will argue a legal theory that Apple is using its dominant position to stifle competition. Continue reading Apple, Epic Games Trial to Determine Anticompetition Charge

New Report Finds TikTok Does Not Pose a U.S. Security Risk

University of Toronto’s cybersecurity group The Citizen Lab just released a report with the finding that TikTok’s underlying code does not pose a threat to U.S. national security. Former president Donald Trump and leaders in other countries accused ByteDance’s TikTok of spying for China but The Citizen Lab, which reports on censorship and surveillance by Chinese social media apps, found no evidence of “overtly malicious behavior.” However, they added that there could be undiscovered security issues. Continue reading New Report Finds TikTok Does Not Pose a U.S. Security Risk

Google Joins Apple in Reducing App Store Commission Fees

Google is following in Apple’s footsteps by lowering the commissions it charges app developers in its Google Play Store. Apple and Google, currently the primary marketplaces for apps, charge developers 30 percent for app sales and in-app purchases. Now, beginning in July, Google stated it will lower the traditional fee to 15 percent for the first $1 million developers earn. That is slightly different than Apple’s plan, which is to lower its rate to 15 percent for developers who generate less than $1 million in annual sales. Continue reading Google Joins Apple in Reducing App Store Commission Fees

Streaming Platforms Benefited from 2020 COVID Lockdowns

In 2020, many analysts expected a shakeout among the burgeoning number of streaming services. Instead, the COVID-19 pandemic led to record-breaking viewing. U.S. subscription numbers are expected to finish the year 50+ percent higher than a year ago, according to data from Moffett Nathanson and HarrisX, whose chief executive Dritan Nesho said “streaming coexistence and parallel growth” were leitmotifs for the year. Newcomers AT&T’s HBO Max and Disney+ also saw a rise in app downloads when they debuted feature films. Continue reading Streaming Platforms Benefited from 2020 COVID Lockdowns

TikTok and U.S. Reportedly in Talks on Possible Partnership

According to sources, ByteDance and the U.S. government are discussing avoiding a full sale of TikTok’s U.S. operations. Although President Trump issued an executive order for ByteDance to do so by a November 12 deadline, the Chinese government restricted the export of AI technology, making the sale more difficult. One possibility is that TikTok will partner with a U.S. company that would help secure its data. Sensor Tower reported that, again, TikTok was the most downloaded non-gaming app globally in August 2020. Continue reading TikTok and U.S. Reportedly in Talks on Possible Partnership

Epic Games and Apple Continue Heated Feud Over App Fees

The battle between Apple and Epic Games over the former’s commission fees for games sold in its App Store has heated up. Apple and Google both tossed Epic Games’ “Fortnite” from their app stores after Epic debuted an in-app payment system that prevented both companies from reaping 30 percent of customers’ spending. Epic Games filed a lawsuit, and Apple just filed a countersuit, accusing the software developer of “duplicity and greed” and asking a judge for punitive damages. Epic Games has seen its iOS- and Mac-based usership plunge. Continue reading Epic Games and Apple Continue Heated Feud Over App Fees

TikTok Takes a Stand, Stating Intent to Sue Trump Over Ban

Next week, TikTok plans to file a suit against the Trump Administration over its executive order to block the app, claiming that it has been “unfairly and incorrectly treated as a security threat.” TikTok spokesperson Josh Gartner noted that, “for nearly a year we have sought to engage in good faith to provide a constructive solution … what we encountered instead was a lack of due process.” TikTok is also trying to encourage its 1,500 U.S.-based employees, while putting aside plans to hire 10,000 more and open new offices. Continue reading TikTok Takes a Stand, Stating Intent to Sue Trump Over Ban

Trump’s Latest Order Gives ByteDance 90 Days to Sell TikTok

President Trump issued another executive order, this one setting a 90-day deadline for Beijing-based ByteDance to sell its U.S. TikTok operations. Trump has repeatedly cited national security as his rationale, but ByteDance denies it allows China access to TikTok data. This recent order specifies that ByteDance must destroy all data from U.S. TikTok users, inform the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) when it has done so and re-certify this on a weekly basis. Last week’s order banned TikTok in the U.S. in 45 days. Continue reading Trump’s Latest Order Gives ByteDance 90 Days to Sell TikTok