Welcome wait on to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch collection that recaps the newest in mobile OS news, mobile applications and the total app financial system.
The app industry continues to grow, with a record 218 billion downloads and $143 billion in international consumer spend in 2020. Consumers closing yr also spent 3.5 trillion minutes using apps on Android devices by myself. And in the U.S., app usage surged sooner than the time spent watching stay TV. At the moment, the typical American watches 3.7 hours of stay TV per day, but now spends four hours per day on their mobile devices.
Apps aren’t right a methodology to pass sluggish hours — they’re also a immense business. In 2019, mobile-first firms had a combined $544 billion valuation, 6.5x higher than those with out a mobile center of attention. In 2020, investors poured $73 billion in capital into mobile firms — a figure that’s up 27% yr-over-yr
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Android App Bundles are genuinely going to be required
This week Google introduced this can require new apps to be published using the Android App Bundle as of August 2021. The company first launched the Android App Bundle ordinary, which replaces the APK, in May perchance additionally 2018 as piece of its in vogue construction push. Since then, the bulk of the top 1,000 apps and games beget switched over to AABs including those from firms take care of Adobe, Duolingo. Gameloft, Netflix, reBus, Rainy, and Twitter. Today, there are over 1 million apps using AAB in manufacturing.
AABs clear up some complications with the aging APK ordinary, in particular around higher apps and games. With AABs, builders don’t beget to produce an APK that contains everything for every kind of Android instrument. They offer a methodology to fleet and additional successfully download the resources wished for a particular instrument, they typically attain so in a methodology that specializes in getting the consumer or player to the app or sport’s state material as lickety-split as conceivable.
Nonetheless no longer everyone has the same opinion the alternate is for the better. Those who employ APK Hosting web sites take care of APKMirror or APKPure to download and piece apps pain that the shift to AAB is a methodology to force customers to use the Play Store instead of choices. Meanwhile, Memoir Video games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney — who is taking on tech giants over their alleged app store monopolies with each and each proceedings and lobbying — pointed out that the switch faraway from the extra inaugurate APK ordinary is ready locking customers into Google Play.
This is among the varied causes we mustn’t catch the argument: “Even as you happen to don’t take care of iPhone’s restrictions, eradicate an Android mobile phone”.
Both firms beget stagger amok, trampling the rights of customers and builders alike. The distinction is right that Apple’s diverse steps forward. https://t.co/m2ZIv7PnbK
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) June 30, 2021
Consumer Spending on apps hits record $64.9B in the main half of the yr
Consumer spending in mobile apps hit a record $64.9 billion during the main half of 2021, according to preliminary information from app store intelligence agency Sensor Tower. This figure represents a 24.8% increase in spending seen in the direction of every and each the App Store and Google Play, when compared with the yr-ago interval. Nonetheless while industry specialists imagine the accelerated shift to mobile fueled by the pandemic is a vogue that can continue, it’s payment noting that — no topic the new record — the growth payment for consumer spending has a little slowed, and the download remark slowed extra dramatically.
From the main half of 2019 to the main half of 2020, consumer spending on mobile apps grew 28.4% from $40.5 billion to $52 billion, for comparability — slower than the 24.8% seen in the present interval.
✨ Apple launched the public betas of iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and watchOS 8. Even supposing builders already had gain admission to to early builds, this week was the main time the public would possibly possibly well gain their hands on Apple’s newest instrument earlier than its loyal begin this tumble. One of the major biggest adjustments in iOS 15 is the addition of “Point of interest” modes that give customers extra retain an eye on over when and who can inconvenience them with calls, texts and notifications during diverse contexts — take care of work, driving, sleeping, and additional. Users will also gain gain admission to to SharePlay interactivity on FaceTime, iMessage enhancements, the flexibility to FaceTime with Android friends by strategy of web links, spatial audio, Live Textual state material (which unlocks info from your photos), app privateness reviews, and upgrades to most of Apple’s core apps, and additional.
✨Google is implementing stronger safety features on Google Play developer accounts in an are trying to crack down on spam and other malicious apps. Beforehand, the corporate required most efficient an e-mail and mobile phone quantity to produce a Google Play developer epic. Now it will require an epic kind (personal or organization), a contact name and physical take care of, and this can require builders to examine their e-mail and mobile phone quantity. Google says the adjustments will enable it to better be in contact with builders and would possibly possibly well wait on to “be certain that every epic is created by a accurate person with accurate contact crucial points.” It’s also now mandating that customers of Google Play Console signal in using Google’s 2-Step Verification.
Samsung and Google previewed their wearable platform sooner than the subsequent Galaxy See begin. The 2 firms agreed to accomplice on wearables in inform to better compete against Apple See. At Mobile World Congress, Samsung showed off the main instrument to feature the One UI See consumer expertise and the new unified platform built in partnership with Google.
Instagram provides a new feature that can enable businesses in the U.S. to designate themselves as being Black-owned businesses using badges that appear on their profiles and on their product shopping pages. It’s going to also be highlighted in locations take care of the Shop tab, to wait on extra capacity customers look the business.
Walmart partnered with mobile couponing app Ibotta on a multi-yr deal that can offer money-wait on rewards to Walmart customers that will seemingly be applied straight to customers’ Walmart accounts, where they would possibly possibly perchance additionally be frail for future purchases. The provides will seemingly be made on hand on Walmart.com and inside the Walmart mobile app.
Following Apple and Google’s lead, Shopify dropped App Store commissions. On the opposite hand, it’s dropping its reduce to 0% for the main million, and then will most efficient win a 15% rate on “marginal” revenue above that $1 million. The alternate would possibly possibly well increase rigidity on other app stores to obtain extra adjustments to their fashions in the future.
Rakuten Viber has partnered with Snap to bring augmented actuality Lenses from Snapchat to its possess Viber calling and messaging app. The over 30 Lenses will seemingly be built using Snap’s inventive tools, including Bitmoji, Digicam Equipment, and Artistic Equipment and would possibly possibly well offer AR-enabled messaging and photos to Viber’s customers. The deal is one other instance of how Snap is growing its licensing business for its AR and inventive tools alongside the advance of its possess social app.
Google’s Arts & Culture app created a new feature called Art Filter that permits everyone to find out about major items of artwork from around the sector and put themselves inside notorious paintings using AR. Google talked this week about its work with MediaPipe to employ their face mesh and 3D face grow to be tech to produce custom outcomes for every of the artifacts chosen.
Venmo introduced a new feature that permits customers to add a “staunch and products and services” tag to funds despatched to personal accounts to differentiate them from personal transactions. The gadget is supposed to give protection to patrons and sellers, Venmo says. Investors on these transactions will seemingly be eligible for Venmo’s Like Protection Program, but sellers are unable with the new charges linked to the alternate as Venmo will now deduct 1.9% of the transaction plus 10 cents from the money despatched to the seller.
Intuit-owned finance and budgeting app Mint added the flexibility to monitor cryptocurrency investments in the direction of a group of supported exchanges, including Binance, BlockFi, Coinbase/Coinbase Legitimate, Gemini, Kraken, PayPal, and Robinhood. In consequence, the app shot to No. 12 total on the U.S. App Store on Wednesday and grew to develop into the No. 1 app in the Finance class, though it has since dropped in ranking.
TikTok is expanding its max video dimension to 3 minutes, up from 60 seconds, after testing this feature publicly for diverse months with a bewitch community of creators. The feature will enable for extra long-kind video state material, seemingly making TikTok unprecedented extra of a threat to YouTube.
Pinterest bans weight loss commercials on its platform, becoming the main main social platform to win this kind of circulation. The company says social media performs a aim in promoting infamous class requirements, and commercials that glorify weight loss contribute to an increase in disordered eating behaviors as hostile to healthy habits.
Instagram is developing its possess version of Twitter’s Expansive Note with “Exclusive Stories.” Instagram confirmed that the screenshots of an “Exclusive Stories” feature honest no longer too long ago circulated in the direction of social media are from an internal prototype that’s now in construction, but no longer yet being publicly tested. The feature would enable creators to offer Stories that most efficient contributors (seemingly paying subscribers) would possibly possibly well be in a space to search for. These would appear on their profile in diverse colors and would demonstrate a message that their Story was most efficient for contributors when others tried to observe them. They’d well additionally be saved as Highlights, and also can’t be screenshot, according to the leaks.
TikTok’s newest transparency record revealed the corporate eliminated 11,149,514 accounts in Q1 2021 for violating neighborhood guidelines or terms of provider, which is fewer than 1% of total accounts. Of those removals, 7,263,952 beget been accounts belonging to youth below 13.
Trump and Parler reportedly talked about a deal that would possibly possibly well switch the bulk of Trump’s social media presence to the beautiful-wing Twitter replacement, according to New York Magazine. The deal would beget seen Trump taking 40% of Parler’s revenues had it long past thru. Parler was k with the rev piece, but wouldn’t ban Trump’s critics from the app, which scuttled the deal, the record acknowledged.
Instagram is testing a feature that would possibly possibly well enable someone to be in a space to piece a link straight in their Stories thru a linking decal, which would possibly possibly perchance work the identical methodology the swipe-up links currently attain. The company acknowledged the test is looking to realize how many individuals would use links, if on hand.
Twitter supplied customers an opportunity to receive one of seven free NFTs this week, which beget been minted on Rarible in editions of 20, making for 140 NFTs (gain it?) in total. The NFTs beget been supplied to other folks that spoke back to a put up from the corporate’s main Twitter epic, and would possibly possibly well signal Twitter’s plans to invest in making NFTs extra an factor of its platform in the future.
AT&T joined T-Mobile in switching its customers to use the Android Messages app as their default mobile messages app for each and each SMS and RCS products and services, making Verizon primarily the most efficient U.S. carrier that has no longer made a partnership deal with Google. RCS has tons of advantages over SMS, including no character limits, the flexibility to ship higher files, typing indicators, better community chat, Wi-Fi toughen and extinguish-to-extinguish encryption for one-on-one community chats. This makes it a extra compelling replacement to Apple’s iMessage, but it completely requires carrier adoption.
Audio chat comes to the sector of business as Slack this week released a new audio tool called Slack Huddles that permits customers to beget accurate-time conversations with colleagues in Slack’s app instead of typing. The company also supplied extra crucial points about an upcoming feature that permits customers to leave video messages and it showed off an upgraded worker directory. The video messages tool is being piloted while the directory is currently on hand to a restricted collection of Business + and Undertaking Grid customers.
The U.K. issued steering to messaging apps operating in the country to no longer use extinguish-to-extinguish encryption on youth’s accounts, asking firms to retain in mind the dangers that e2e poses to youthful customers, as it makes it extra tough to determine unlawful and infamous state material that takes field on non-public channels. A authorities spokesperson pressured that there’s a methodology to put into effect sturdy encryption in a methodology that’s per public security. Privateness activists disagree with this stance.
Telegram rolled out community video calls to its mobile and desktop apps after initially promising the feature was coming wait on in April 2020. The company says community video calls are restricted to up to 30 other folks but it completely plans to increase that limit in the future.
WhatsApp is testing a redesigned bid message feature that can point to short waveforms when the consumer is recording the message. After recording, the consumer can stop and listen to to their message earlier than sending it, too.
Dating app Bumble is planning to inaugurate its first cafe in New York later this month. The begin was originally deliberate for 2019, but was delayed due to the pandemic. The new venue, Bumble Brew, is being enabled by a partnership between the dating app maker and Italian restaurant Pasquale Jones. Decked out in Bumble’s yellow, the new cafe will inaugurate subsequent to the restaurant, to offer a field for daters to meet for either coffee, cocktails or a meal.
Streaming & Entertainment
Netflix customers on Android devices will now be in a space to beginning streaming titles which beget most efficient partially downloaded, which would possibly possibly well wait on in the scenario where you’ve forgotten to download your favourite exhibits earlier than boarding a plane. Sooner than, till the download accomplished, you couldn’t leer any part of the video in any respect.
Chinese TikTok rival Kuaishou and Tencent obtained the short-kind rights to the upcoming Tokyo and 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics from utter broadcaster CCTV. This makes the app the main short-kind and livestreaming platform globally to develop into an loyal broadcaster of the Olympics.
Amazon Music Unlimited is giving subscribers up to six months of Disney+ free of payment (or three for existing subscribers). Disney’s isn’t the main to bundle a streaming deal with song. Hulu and Spotify had as soon as finished the identical.
Spotify launched its Spotify Viewers Community advert market to advertisers and Megaphone publishers in Australia, Canada and the U.K., following its U.S. begin in February. The market lets advertisers eradicate audio commercials on and off the Spotify platform.
Microsoft’s Xbox division introduced the growth of its Designed for Xbox mobile gaming equipment to iOS alongside the begin of the Xbox Cloud Gaming beta becoming on hand to Xbox Sport Lunge Closing contributors on Windows 10 PCs and Apple telephones and tablets by strategy of the catch browser at xbox.com/play.
As piece of the equipment program growth, the Backbone mobile controller joined the Designed for Xbox family with the Backbone One for Xbox, which helps all iPhones running iOS 13 or later. It also added OtterBox Energy Swap Controller Batteries, a battery pack successfully matched with Xbox consoles, Android and iPhone devices.
Health & Fitness
Google introduced this week an update to its Passes API which is in a space to enable builders to own functionality into their web sites and apps to export COVID-19 test and vaccination records to a digital layout that would possibly possibly well additionally be saved either in the Google Pay app or straight on the customers homescreen as a shortcut. The API will most efficient be inaugurate to builders at healthcare organizations, authorities agencies, and other organizations approved by public health authorities, initially in the U.S.
Lunge back and forth
App Annie spots indicators of a virulent disease recovery in its Q2 2021 record, noting in particular a rebound in commute apps. The agency chanced on that monthly hours spent in Lunge back and forth and Navigations apps are on an upward vogue in markets take care of the U.S. and the U.K., where the rollout of vaccinations has been sturdy. South Korea is seeing an even better recovery, as time spent in commute apps has surpassed pre-pandemic levels. Lunge back and forth apps in Brazil, France and India, then again, beget no longer yet reached pre-pandemic levels.
Alphabet’s Wing launched a free app in the U.S. called OpenSky aimed at each and each business and leisure drone pilots. The app exhibits pilots where it’s k to bound using coloration-coded maps with greens, yellows and reds. It also enables pilots to put up requests to bound in managed airspaces and receive advance accurate-time authorizations. This feature works in a entire bunch of airspaces. The app had previously been on hand in Australia most efficient.
Fb is launching a tutorial app called Sabee in Nigeria, which is the main of the corporate’s new efforts to extra straight target the country, and at closing, the African continent, with new mobile products. The app is being published by the corporate’s NPE Personnel, an internal R&D incubator, which had targeted on new social experiences till now.
Security & Privateness
Twitter customers now beget the possibility to use security keys as their most efficient kind of two-factor authentication (2FA), which the corporate notes is basically the most efficient methodology to retain your Twitter epic win. Twitter has supplied the possibility to use security keys as one of its 2FA alternatives since 2018. On the opposite hand, this initial toughen most efficient worked for Twitter.com, no longer the mobile app, and required customers to beget one other kind of 2FA enabled, too.
💰 Tapcart, a “Shopify for mobile apps,” raises $50 million Assortment B led by Left Lane Capital. The company provides a scamper-and-fall builder that permits someone to produce a mobile app for their existing Shopify store and be in contact with customers by strategy of push. Shopify was amongst the participating investors.
💰 BreezoMeter, an iPhone app that measures air quality, raises a $30 million Assortment C led by Fortissimo Capital, bringing its total elevate to date to $45 million. The company makes use of AI and machine learning to earn and realize information from a pair of sources, including bigger than 47,000 sensors worldwide.
💰Istanbul-based totally mostly Dream Video games raised $155 million Assortment at a $1 billion valuation in a spherical co-led by Index Ventures and Makers Fund. The mobile puzzle sport developer is easiest identified for Royal Match, which has 6M MAUs and $20M/month in revenue.
💰Apple and Snap accomplice Jigspace, “the Canva for 3D,” raised $4.7 million Assortment A in a spherical led by Rampersand. The free JigSpace app lets someone combine presets and templates of 3D-modeled objects to produce their possess “Jigs” (fashions). The app has over 4 million customers on the App Store.
💰South Korea edtech app maker Mathpresso raised $50 million in Assortment C funding from GGV Capital, Yellowdog, Goodwater Capital, and KDB. The provider is frail by over 9.8M customers
📈 Robinhood files for its IPO. Earlier in the week, Robinhood agreed to pay $70 million in fines and restitution as piece of its settlement with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority over providing customers with “fraudulent or misleading information. The SEC, then again, is light investigating the trading extinguish linked to GameStop and other meme stocks. Robinhood has 18M accounts and $80B in resources. This can alternate below “HOOD” on the Nasdaq.
💰 Females’s social networking app Peanut launches a microfund called StartHER to begin investing in early, pre-seed stage startups led by ladies or other historically excluded groups.
🤝 Social media app LYKA, targeted on Southeast Asia, inked a deal with song-streaming technology company Tuned Global to integrate an immersive song-streaming provider straight inside its app. The partnership will enable LYKA to present on-put a query to streaming of song, video, and podcasts to the app’s customers.
📈 Chinese m-commerce app Dingdong made a itsy-bitsy gain during this week’s IPO, with shares that closed at $23.52, up 2 cents from its offer payment, on its first day of trading. The app enables customers to eradicate new create, meat, seafood and other day to day requirements.
💰 Vietnamese investment app Infina raised $2 million in seed funding for its Robinhood-take care of app launched in January 2021, which now has some 500,000 trading accounts.
🤝 Gaming chat app Discord obtained AR startup Ubiquity6, which had raised $37.5 million in funding from top investors including Benchmark, First Spherical, Kleiner Perkins and Google’s Gradient Ventures. The startup had honest no longer too long ago abandoned some of its initiatives, indicating it is going to beget been struggling to find traction. Deal terms weren’t disclosed.
📈 Edtech unicorn Duolingo filed to slip public following 129% revenue remark in 2020. The 400-person company had $161.7 million in revenue in 2020 and had honest no longer too long ago turned worthwhile.
💰 Family app Existence360 introduced a $2.1 million investment spherical from celebs and influencers who will now wait on to uncover the corporate on new system and wait on with product marketing. The spherical was led by Bryant Stibel, the agency co-founded by the behind Kobe Bryant and business accomplice Jeff Stibel. Assorted investors included Vanessa Bryant, Joanna and Chip Gaines, Tony Hawk, Chris and Jada Paul, TikTok influencer Billy Perry, and Nicole and Michael Phelps. Existence360 currently trades on the ASX.
💰Age of Learning, the creator of childhood education app ABCmouse, raised $300 million in a new spherical of funding led by TPG. The new investment bigger than doubled the corporate’s valuation to $3 billion. The company says this can use the funds to traipse up international growth and the advance of its subsequent generation of apps.
💰Exercise and company wellness app Gympass raised $220 million in Assortment E funding. The Brazil-based totally mostly app seen a record 4 million monthly examine-ins in the direction of its network of larger than 50,000 international companions in May perchance additionally.
💰Digital greeting card app Givingli raised $3 million in seed funding in a spherical led by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six. The app targets to modernize the digital greeting card business for Gen Z customers and monetizes thru a $3.99 per month top payment subscription and reward card sales. Snap also invested in the spherical after earlier partnering with the startup on a Snap Mini app.
💰Buzzer, a stay sports actions app, raised $20 million in Assortment A funding from a group of sports actions and entertainment backers, including Michael Jordan, Naomi Osaka, Patrick Mahomes and others.
The new Brickit mobile app is a Lego fan’s dream and an spectacular use of computer imaginative and prescient technology. The app is in a space to fleet analyze a pile of Legos to determine which bricks you beget in your collection. It then serves up some initiatives where you beget all, or as a minimum most of, the bricks you’ll need to to own. The direction of is terribly lickety-split, too — the app is shiny of a entire bunch of bricks in your pile within right seconds. Brickit doesn’t attain from Lego straight, then again, which limits some of its capabilities in terms of integrating with Lego’s higher library of instructions. Nonetheless, in time, this can seemingly generate some information on the Lego collections customers beget at dwelling which would possibly possibly well obtain it an interesting acquisition target for Lego, in addition to the tech itself.
Three Weeks with iOS and iPadOS 15: Foundational Updates by Federico Viticci for iMore. A immense in-depth review and analysis of what’s new with Apple’s newest instrument update.
It genuinely is extremely incredible that ~30 days after a main iOS liberate 70% of customers beget updated. Apple’s multi-yr push to gain most customers on auto-update and then tightly managing the rollout is such an amazing thing for the platform. (chart by @alexdbauer) pic.twitter.com/OKrgjZjH8m
— David Barnard (@drbarnard) June 30, 2021
This new app called “Fave” right launched — it’s in most cases a social network for fandoms.
At the moment, it’s most efficient for Swifties.
Appears no person remembered to claim @taylorswift. 🙈
So I’m now Taylor Swift on a platform about Taylor Swift. pic.twitter.com/YFSuIzEJ0y
— Noah Evans (@ThisIsNoahEvans) June 30, 2021