The Week in Mobile: January 17-23, 2016


Super Bowl experience is enhanced by mobile, Facebook tests new in-app browser, Google launches Android Pay Promotion 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.

Mobile to Elevate the Super Bowl 50 Experience

According to organizers, technology will play a starring role in this year’s Super Bowl experience, which will be hosted at Levi’s Stadium—a venue that has more than enough bandwidth to support mobility for the masses. The estimated 72,000 fans in attendance and the 110 million watching from home will be able to supplement their experience with a host of apps that do everything from provide game-time updates to help visitors navigate the stadium and find parking. A Super Bowl 50 app, which is currently in beta, is even rumored to feature the must-see commercials.

And, just in time for the biggest sporting event of the year, Facebook launched a new space within its flagship app, called Sports Stadium, which acts a social network dedicated to sports banter, team updates, real-time stats and more. Users can access Sports Stadium by searching for specific games within the Facebook app.

Google Play is Bigger, But Apple’s App Store is (still) Generating More Revenue

Which app store came out on top in 2015? According to a recent report from App Annie, that depends on how you define success. While Google Play boasts 100 percent more app downloads in 2015 than the Apple App Store, Apple’s marketplace generated over 75 percent more revenue. Google’s dominance in downloads is largely due to Android’s increasing popularity in emerging markets such as Brazil, India, Indonesia, Turkey and Mexico. Meanwhile, Apple has China to thank for a large portion of the company’s App Store revenue growth. Together, China, the United States and Japan account for close to 90 percent of the App Store’s year-over-year revenue growth.

What’s more, both companies appear to be making pushes in early 2016 to secure their respective positions. Last week, Apple announced plans to raise app prices in several locations, including Canada, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore and South Africa. Meanwhile, Google says it’s testing a new feature that allows Android users to download apps directly from search results, making it easier than ever for users to get Google Play apps.

Facebook Tests New In-App Browser

Facebook is cooking up a new way to keep users within its ecosystem. The company is testing in-app browser features that allow users to more freely navigate the internet. That’s a major improvement from their current browser, which only allows users to navigate from the selected article and back to Facebook’s newsfeed. Once rolled out, users will be able to explore other websites from Facebook’s browser, providing Facebook with longer periods of user engagement and broader insight into user behavior.

Google Tests Android Pay Promotion to Boost Usage

Google is testing an Android Pay promotion, called “Tap 10”, which offers rewards to encourage users to make payments using the platform. Rewards include free songs, movies or even a free Chromecast. The promotion is only available to a select group of users, who were chosen at random. Google says it may offer wider promotions in the future depending on how successful the program is at increasing Android Pay usage.

Starbucks Partners with Spotify to Offer New In-Store Music Experience to its App

Starbucks has joined forces with Spotify to add new song recognition and playlist creation capabilities to its app. The partnership brings a “new digital music experience” to 7,500 Starbucks locations across the United States, which means customers will be able to use their Starbucks app to identify songs playing in-store and save them to their Spotify playlists. The partnership is a win for both companies as it gives Starbucks’ users another reason to visit the Starbucks app—beyond ordering and paying for beverages—and Spotify users benefit from an experience that is more integrated into their daily routines.