The Week in Mobile: June 19-25, 2016


Twilio crushes its IPO debut, Slack’s new Message Button bots, Microsoft releases SharePoint app 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.

Twilio’s Dazzling IPO Debut

Last week, voice and text messaging platform Twilio made a spectacular IPO debut on the New York Stock Exchange. The company originally set its IPO price as $15, but, after just an hour, Twilio stock was selling for $23.99 per share, and closed at $28.79 – an increase more than 90%. In celebration of its IPO, Twilio invited three developers to the NYSE to build apps live at the exchange using the company’s platform. The event is certainly worth celebrating given the initial success and what that could mean for other tech companies looking to go public this year.

Slack Lets Devs Add Interactive Services Into its Platform

Slack announced “Message Buttons,” a new feature that allows developers to create services that operate within Slack’s chat window. That means users will be able to complete a slew of new tasks in-context without leaving the Slack app, like approving an expense report or booking travel. To kick off the new feature, Slack has partnered with a number of companies, including Trello, Kayak, Greenhouse and more. It’s a move that could significantly boost the experience for slack and provide a new channel for companies to engage their users.

Microsoft Releases iOS SharePoint App

Microsoft is continuing to make moves with its mobile enterprise offerings. The company released a new iOS app for SharePoint, Microsoft’s file sharing intranet solution. That means SharePoint faithful will (finally) be able to access company news, files and projects from their mobile devices. Microsoft plans to release SharePoint apps for Android and Windows later this year. Additionally, Microsoft introduced a new iOS app for Microsoft Flow, a workflow management tool that originally launched as a web app in April.

Meanwhile, the company also acquired Wand Labs, a natural language and AI messaging startup. The move is part of Microsoft’s “conversation as a platform” initiative, for getting a foothold in AI chatbot services.

Huawei Allegedly Developing its Own OS

Though the mobile OS wars are widely agreed to be over, with Apple and Google the victors, Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei is allegedly developing its own operating system. Although the company is the third-largest smartphone manufacturer in the world, it’s gotten flack for the design of its Android skin. What’s more, Huawei lacks credibility in markets outside of China. Producing its own OS could help the company gain traction in other markets and acts as a safety net in case the company’s Android deal falls through.

New Sacramento Kings Stadium to Feature VR Replays

The Sacramento Kings’ new stadium, which is scheduled to open in October, will feature virtual reality replays broadcasted over court-length screens and supported by high-capacity wifi. Game attendees will be able to watch 360-degree replays using a VR headset. It’s an initiative that allows everyone, no matter where they’re sitting, to experience the action up close. The feature may even expand to fans outside the stadium, so those unable to attend can watch the game in 360-degrees in a group setting.

Facebook Brings Social to VR

Facebook is slowly but surely bring social elements into the world of virtual reality. Oculus, which is owned by Facebook, announced last week that users will be able to react to 360-degree videos using the Gear VR headset, and like “Like” and react to videos with the familiar set of emojis found on Facebook.

NASA Moves into the Living Room

NASA released a new app for Apple TV, which allows users to access NASA TV, live streaming from the International Space Station, photos and news roundups from the comfort of their couch. The release comes just in time for NASA’s Juno mission on July 4th.