The Week in Mobile: May 22-28, 2016


Siri reportedly opening to devs, Uber ups its experience with Foursquare, Google to kill passwords 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 May Finally Open Siri to 3rd-Parties

With companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook making rapid advances in artificial intelligence, Apple’s Siri has fallen behind. But the company is reportedly making moves that might help it close the gap. New reports suggest Apple is opening Siri to third-parties. It’s thought the developer kit will be made available in June, ahead of Apple’s annual conference. Additionally, it is believed Apple is developing an AI speaker that would compete with Amazon’s Echo and the just announced Google Home. The device will reportedly allow users to control smart home devices and make Siri queries as you would on your iPhone.

Uber Improves Experience with Foursquare

Uber and Foursquare announced a global partnership, which grants Uber access to Foursquare’s location data. That means users will soon be able to set their destination with the location name rather than the address. The goal is to make the user experience more seamless by removing as much friction as possible.

In other Foursquare news, the company has begun experimenting with bots with a new app, called Marsbot, which uses a chat style interface to offer location-based tips for nearby restaurants and bars.

Google to Disrupt the Password?

After a year of development, Google’s new Trust API, which pulls user data to validate identity, is rolling out to a handful of financial companies. The Trust API is meant to replace passwords by generating “trust scores” based off of user location, facial recognition, typing patterns and more. Pulling these user-specific data points allows the API to report how likely it is that the user is who they say they are. Each app that uses the Trust API is able to set how high the “trust score” must be in order to grant password-free access. If initial testing goes well, Google plans to release the Trust API to all developers by the end of the year.

Google’s Latest Attempt to Tackle Fragmentation

Google is considering going public with a ranked list of Android device makers where each partner is judged on the speed at which they push out operating system updates. It’s a strategy that could spur lackadaisical partners into faster updates of new OS versions and security patches. Earlier this month, only 7.5 percent of Android devices were running the company’s most recent OS.

Microsoft’s Foray into Smartphone Manufacturing Ends

Following Microsoft’s recent sale of Nokia’s feature phone business, the company continues to cut its smartphone division. Last week, Microsoft wrote off $950 million and cut 1,850 jobs, effectively marking the end of the company’s phone making business. To date, Microsoft has lost as much as $8 billion on its Nokia initiative. Now, the company says it will focus its mobile efforts on making apps and services available on other mobile platforms.

Levi’s Smart Jacket Coming to Stores

Last year, Levi’s partnered with Google on an initiative called Project Jacquard to develop a connected fabric. Now, the two companies have unveiled the Jacquard smart jacket, which will be released for beta testing this fall and is expected to hit stores in Spring 2017. The garment appears to be your typical jean jacket, but can do a whole lot more. Users can control music, utilize navigation, answer phone calls and more by tapping or swiping the surface built into the cuff of the jacket.