Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the theinformationsuperhighway series * that summarizes the latest operating system news, the applications they support, and the money flowing through it all.
With 204 billion downloads and $ 120 billion in spending in 2019, the app industry is hotter than ever. People now spend three hours and 40 minutes a day on apps, which rivals television. Apps aren't just a way to spend idle time – they're big business. In 2019, mobile-first companies had an overall valuation of $ 544 billion, 6.5 times higher than companies with no mobile focus.
In this series, we help you keep up to date with the latest news from the world of apps that are delivered weekly.
This week, we look at the political interfaces between the app stores and international relations, news about app censorship in Hong Kong and the potential for a TikTok ban in the US and how rivals are preparing their alternatives. There are other important regulatory and litigation news this week, including one on Firebase-based app tracking and another that is changing the way app marketplaces work in the EU. For a bit of fun, we'll also take a look at some of the new emoji products for iOS and Android later this year.
* This week in Apps was previously only available to Extra Crunch subscribers. As of this week, we will be making these reports available to all theinformationsuperhighway readers.
In early July, over 2,500 games were removed from the Chinese app store
According to a new report from the App Store intelligence agency Sensor Tower, more than 2,500 mobile games were removed from the Chinese App Store in the first week of July. The moves were expected due to a planned move against unlicensed games, but this data is the first to show the impact on the app economy. For comparison: the number of July is four times the number of games that were delisted in the first week of April, five times higher than in the first week of May and more than four times higher than in the first week of June. Together, the removed games had gross lifetime sales of $ 34.7 million, with one game totaling more than $ 10 million and six earning more than $ 1 million. More details about theinformationsuperhighway can be found here.
In the longer term, the consequences of the move could translate into Apple's earnings as China was the most lucrative market for mobile games in the world. In 2019, games in the Chinese app store generated an estimated $ 12.6 billion, or 33.2% of all of the world's game spending in the Apple app store.
Snap starts a developer program for app manufacturers
Snap this week launched Yellow Collabs, a 13-week remote program designed to help developers build deeper Snap Kit integrations. The company wants more developers to integrate its technology into their own apps. The new program enables companies to work with Snap to integrate the entire Snap Kit platform, or to limit themselves to industries such as Snap Minis, Dynamic Lenses, Scan or Snap ML functions. The program runs from September 21 to December 18 this year. Snap had previously tried to bring its technology to smaller startups through its yellow accelerator. However, no integrations were required for this program. The new effort is more focused on finding developers who want to partner with Snap.
Microsoft xCloud will be launched in September with over 100 titles
Microsoft's xCloud – a cross-platform streaming service for games and a competitor of Google's Stadia – arrives in September. The company announced a round of updates to the new service this week that will allow Xbox users to play their games on mobile devices or even switch between consoles and mobile devices while continuing a game. The blog post states that xCloud will be offered to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers for $ 15 a month for the first time, and will include more than 100 Game Pass titles when launched. Over time, the service will become more widely available.
The growing trend of switching between devices to play favorite games has already led to mobile hits like Fortnite, Minecraft, Roblox and others. This trend is critical for game developers, as the advantage of mobile games over consoles and PCs has grown in recent years.
App Annie and IDC data show that Mobile Gaming 2014 overtook home gaming consoles as well as PC and Mac games for consumer spending for the first time. In 2020, Mobile will increase its lead by 2.8 times compared to desktop games and 3.1 times compared to home games from game consoles. In other words, console manufacturers need to figure out how to get the mobile market going, because that's where consumers spend most of their money.
Credit: App Annie / IDCApple is updating coding technology to replace the non-inclusive language
Apple announced on Thursday that it is now working to remove and replace non-inclusive language across the developer ecosystem, including Xcode, platform APIs, documentation, and open source projects. The changes began on June 22 with the beta software, including iOS 14, and related developer documentation. For example, words such as "Whitelist" and "Blacklist" are now replaced by "Allow list" and "Deny list". The word "main" will replace "master" in the standard SCM branch in Xcode 12. The word "black" when referring to ethnicity or cultural identity is now capitalized. You can find these and other changes in Apple's updated Style Guide.
New EU regulations limit Apple and Google's power over apps
On July 12, a new EU regulation came into force that creates more rules for why and when apps are removed from their marketplaces, and more. The platforms must now notify publishers 30 days in advance before removing apps and stopping services. This gives developers time to lodge an objection or make changes to their software in order to comply with the violations or violations in question. This means that the platforms will not be able to lock and shutdown apps without warning or explanation – unless the app contains illegal or inappropriate content, security concerns, counterfeiting, fraud, malware, spam, or data breach. MacRumors reported.
• 30 days in advance before Apple can remove the app from the App Store
• Apple must disclose any preferred treatment that it grants to large developers and publishers
• Apple must have an external mediator for disputes that cannot be resolved through App Review https://t.co/vC2aCyCPzu
– Steve Troughton-Smith (@stroughtonsmith), July 14, 2020
The platforms must also provide better insight into the ranking and explain how "trend" apps are selected, disclose differentiated treatment between sellers (e.g. better offers that large publishers receive) and information about their rules and terms in Exchange "simple and understandable language". Platforms must also offer third party mediation for disputes that cannot be resolved through an app review process.
The terms apply to platform owners who serve companies that sell products through their marketplaces. Apple and Google are great examples of this, but the rules could also apply to Amazon and Valve, notes Macworld.
The regulation comes into force as both Apple and Google are screened for anti-competitive behavior in the United States. Apple in particular has been increasingly held responsible for how it exercises power over its app store, where it receives commissions for businesses – including those with which it competes – and is forcing developers to offer Apple's own in-app buying system if the developers do have done something to sell this.
Microsoft and Google work together on PWAs
Microsoft PWABuilder, an open source developer tool for creating PWAs, and Google Bubblewrap, a command line and a utility for generating Play Store packages from PWAs, announced this week that they are working to help developers publish PWAs in the To help google play store. PWAs packaged through PWABuilder for Google Play now support the new standard for web shortcuts. In addition, PWABuilder now supports all trusted web activity options to improve apps on Android devices. With PWABuilder, developers can customize the appearance of the Android status bar and navigation bar in a PWA, customize the Android splash screen, change the start name, use an existing signature key, use more comprehensive push notification support, configure the ID and versioning of their package, Fallback behavior and more.
Google launches new Kotlin Basics course
Apple isn't the only company that offers free training for aspiring mobile developers. This week, Google announced the launch of Android Basics in Kotlin, a new online course for users with no programming experience to learn how to build Android apps. Today 60% of professional Android developers use Kotlin, and Kotlin supports 70% of the 1,000 best Google Play apps. The course complements Google's existing Android Fundamentals curriculum, which was introduced in 2016 and aims to teach non-developers how to program.
Due to the effects on the corona virus, the United States hit China for the first time since 2014 when downloading from the App Store
The downloads of the US App Store exceeded the downloads of China for the first time since 2014. According to data from Sensor Tower's Q2 2020 report, the US App Store grew 27.4% in the quarter over the previous year, compared to 2.1% in the previous year China App Store. During the quarter, the US App Store generated 2.22 billion new installations compared to 2.06 billion downloads in China to regain the top position. This also led to the USA defeating China in consumer spending in the App Store.
The shift was attributed to the surge in mobile app downloads when US consumers were forced to remain at home with reservations. Education and business applications were at the top of the download as mobile users and their families had to switch to remote work and online learning. More details can be found here on theinformationsuperhighway.
US federal court ruled that Facebook can sue manufacturers of software for mobile surveillance
A federal court ruled this week that WhatsApp and its parent company Facebook could file a lawsuit against the Israeli company for NSO Group mobile surveillance software. Facebook filed a complaint last October claiming the NSO Group exploited a vulnerability in WhatsApp to send malware to around 1,400 mobile devices, which then extracted messages, browsing history, and phone contacts. The NSO Group argues that it was previously granted immunity from U.S. lawsuits over its dealings with foreign governments that use its counter-terrorism technology under the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act (FSIA).
Messenger adds screen sharing functionality
Facebook Messenger may be better known for occasional conversations between friends and family, but its latest feature is based on more professional business communication apps. Mobile Messenger introduced screen sharing for iOS and Android this week. So you no longer need a desktop or web app to share your screen. Instead, you can use screen sharing in a video call to, for example, scroll through your photos, use social media apps together (like Instagram, of course), or shop online (which you can also do on Instagram – see below). . Screen sharing now supports up to 16 users in messenger rooms on the web and on the desktop.
Instagram launches new shop just before Reels launches in the U.S.
Instagram is making some changes. The company had already started testing the Activity tab for a shopping icon. The newly designed Instagram shop is now also being launched. The Instagram shop is described as a place to search products from favorite brands and manufacturers, as well as curated collections published by the Instagram-managed @ shop account. Users can now check out their purchases directly using Facebook Pay.
In addition, Instagram confirmed on Thursday that it will bring its TikTok rival Reels to the US next month.
The company expects the new video feature, which was specially developed for creative short-form content, to be launched on its platform in early August, a spokesman said. The U.S. launch occurs shortly after Reels' arrival in India this month after TikTok was banned in that market. Roles have also been tested in Brazil, France and Germany. The U.S. will not be the only country to see Reels' arrival, but Instagram has not indicated what other markets are on the list.
The step towards faster rollout of roles in more markets is taking place as TikTok has been subjected to an intensive review of its links with China. India banned the app along with 58 other mobile apps developed by Chinese companies in June. The Trump administration recently said it was considering a similar ban on TikTok for national security reasons. This week it was said that such a decision could only be a few weeks away.
In the meantime, Rep. Stephen Lynch, chairman of the National Security Subcommittee, asked both Apple and Google this week to pledge that they would warn users about applications developed, operated, or operated by foreign companies that pose privacy risks to Americans could.
Instagram has a real chance of attracting millions of users around the world if TikTok is removed in more markets outside of India. Indian roposo, a rival of TikTok, claims to have added 500,000 new users an hour to its app since the ban, and expects 100 million by the end of the month. Meanwhile, Snapchat is testing a TikTok-like video scrolling method in the U.S.
Apple is accused of censoring the Hong Kong democracy app
Apple is accused of rejecting an app store release for a democracy-friendly PopVote app, a voting platform developed by protest organizers that also works on Android. While Google Play quickly approved the release, Apple declined the app because of code issues. The issues were resolved and the app was resubmitted but never approved. Developers also couldn't reach anyone at Apple about the delay.
Hong Kong is still defending the draconian national security law that Beijing imposed last month. Last weekend, according to Quartz, more than 600,000 people voted in the opposition primaries, which brought news of the censored app. The unofficial elections had served as a protest against the new law. Local officials had warned that the democratic polls could be illegal, which is why PopVote believes they have been censored, not just delayed.
Google has been sued for tracking users in apps through Firebase
Google is being sued for tracking user activity across hundreds of thousands of apps, even after users have disabled information sharing. The lawsuit specifically complains that Google is tracking users 'app activity through the Firebase SDK, which "can log users' interactions with the app, including viewing content, creating new content, or sharing content."
App Annie starts ad analysis
App Annie is building on the acquisition of analytics company Libring last year, with the launch of a new version of Libring this week, theinformationsuperhighway reported this week. The new product is renamed App Annie Ascend and aims to reach another market, including game publishers and other providers on the supply side of the advertising industry. It started at the exact time when Apple introduced a new method for users to limit ad tracking. This opens up a market for this data to third parties. Ascend uses hundreds of connectors to retrieve data from platforms such as AdColony, Unity and Chartboost so customers can view these records “side by side”. Reddit and Jam City are early adopters from Ascend.
Nextdoor makes it easier to donate to local nonprofits
Neighborhood Nextdoor's social networking app has made it easier to donate to local nonprofits with the launch of the new Sell for Good feature. This option allows users to sell items on the platform, e.g. B. in the "For Sale" and "Free" sections, and then donate the proceeds. The option offers community members other ways to collect donations and also saves them a trip to goodwill.
New emoji are on the way
New emoji will arrive on iOS and Android in 2020. For World Emoji Day on Friday, Apple and Google showed how their respective platforms designed the new characters. Emojipedia takes a first look at Apple's new emoji, such as ninja, boomerang, piñata and bubble tea. Tim Cook has also tweeted a video of the new Memoji. Google announced its plan to bring 117 new emoji to Android 11 in the fall, as well as an update to its Gboard app that makes it easier to choose an emoji.
Funding and M&A
- Startup in Istanbul and Berlin Meditopiathat has become a top meditation app in non-English speaking markets, raised Series A $ 15 million Funded jointly by Creandum and Highland Europe.
- Lo-Fi, text-based social app for queer women, Lex raised $ 1.5 million in seed capital from Corigin Ventures, X-Factor Ventures, Tusk Ventures and various angels. The app offers text-based personals as an alternative to mainstream dating apps.
- Google invests $ 4.5 billion in India's Reliance Jio platforms, India's largest telecommunications company, to develop a low-cost smartphone that can bring new mobile users online. A modified version of the Android operating system and the Play Store is running on the phone. The deal is unusual for the fact that Google and Facebook have invested in the same business. Facebook is the largest minority participant with a share of 9.99%.
- Robinhood raised $ 320 million more for its stock trading app, which brings the final round to $ 600 million. The app is now valued at $ 8.6 billion.
- SiriusXM bought the podcast app Stitcher by E.W. Scripps worth up to $ 325 million. SiriusXM previously purchased Pandora for $ 3 billion.
Mozilla's VPN for Android
Mozilla's new VPN app was launched this week on both Windows and Android after running a pilot program to test the software. The cross-platform app has now been renamed Mozilla VPN and is now available in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Malaysia and New Zealand for $ 4.99 / month. iOS, Mac and Linux are not yet available, but the latter two are under development. The iOS app was included in the pilot project, but was not started. Unlike many VPN apps, Mozilla only generates revenue through its subscriptions – and does not sell user data. Due to the requirement to log in with a Firefox account, users must share their email address, location and IP address with the service.
Brief, founded by former Google engineers, is a newly launched news app that summarizes and summarizes the news in the hope of solving a number of issues with today's news cycle, including information overload, burnout, media bias, and algorithms that do this Commitment takes precedence over news accuracy. The app uses a format that includes brief summaries, schedules, and key quotes to balance the reporting from both sides, while keeping the flow of information minimal and the data non-personalized to ignore the reader's prejudices.
Tweet of the week:
Apple Beta Seed Cycle:
Beta 1: rejection
Beta 2: anger
Beta 3: Negotiate
Beta 4: depression
Beta 5+: acceptance
– Daniel Yount (@dyountmusic), July 17, 2020