The Week in Mobile: December 6-12, 2015


Apple Watch 2 expected in March, Facebook to add offline capabilities, Mozilla Kills Firefox OS, iOS 9.2 is out and more

Each week we round up the top news stories, think pieces and other content that centers on the fast-paced, quickly changing world of mobile technology. We tell you which companies are employing clever mobile strategies, illuminate new ways of thinking about mobile and offer a peek at meaningful trends in the industry. This content is designed to inspire you and your company to take advantage of the many benefits mobile can offer.

Apple Watch 2 Expected in March

Rumor has it that the second generation of the Apple Watch will launch in March. Although Apple has yet to announce a release date—or that the Apple Watch 2 is coming for that matter—the company is allowing major retailers to offer up to $100 off the original Watch, which suggests a second generation may be coming soon. Experts speculate that new model will feature updated sensors, health tracking and wireless connectivity. It’s also likely that Apple will announce an iPhone 6c around the same time.

Apple TV Now Has More Than 2,500 Apps

Since releasing the fourth generation Apple TV and accompanying app store, new apps created for the tvOS have been flooding in. According to Appfigures, there are now more than 2,500 Apple TV apps available for download and that number is projected to double by the end of December and reach 10,000 early next year. Game apps account for just over 1,000 of the apps available, with entertainment apps following closely behind.

Facebook Adding Offline Viewing and Commenting

Facebook is developing offline capabilities that will allow users to view new posts and comment even when they have poor or no connectivity. Posts that have been downloaded, but not viewed, will be cached and comments made while offline will be stored in-app and then uploaded once the user is back online. It’s unclear when the new functionality will become available.

In other Facebook news, the company announced that it is shutting down its incubator, Creative Labs, and removing a number of poorly performing apps from the app store. Although Creative Labs is closing, Facebook plans to continue investing in popular offshoot apps like Paper and Hyperlapse.

Google Shares Marshmallow Distribution Stats and Apple Launches iOS 9.2

New distribution numbers from Google show a minimal increase in the number of Android devices running on Marshmallow. Although Google reports an increase in adoption, only .5 percent of devices are running on Android 6.0. Separately, a new report from BI Intelligence shows Android (still) is the most popular mobile platform in the world. In Q2 2015, approximately 282.5 million smartphones shipped with Android versus 47.3 million running on iOS.

Meanwhile, Apple released iOS 9.2, an update that includes bug fixes and improvements to Apple Music, iBooks, Podcasts and News. The update also includes improvements to Safari View Controller to support Action Extensions for third-party app interactions. Now, iOS 9.2 users will have direct access to third-party apps from the View Controller.

Mozilla Halts Development of Firefox OS for Smartphones

After two years of low adoption rates, Mozilla announced plans to halt development of Firefox OS for smartphones. The smartphone OS was unable to gain significant traction in regions Mozilla was targeting. Additionally, plans to run native Android apps fell by the wayside, leaving the platform to focus mainly on Web apps. However, Mozilla suggests it will continue to invest in the OS for other areas such as IoT.

Uber Adds New Food Delivery App to its Stack

Last week, Uber launched a new app called UberEATS, which is dedicated to providing speedy food delivery services. This marks a first for the company, as it expands to two standalone platforms and moves beyond transportation and into food delivery. UberEATS began as test functionality within Uber’s main app. But, now, Uber is betting big on the delivery service and testing the new app in Toronto where the food service had already gained traction.