The Week in Mobile: October 30 – November 5, 2016


Google cleans up Play store, Mic taps into the power of iOS 10 notifications, Facebook sees huge mobile (and revenue) gains 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.

Google Continues to Clean Up Play Store

Google is taking further steps to make sure app developers are playing by the rules. Last week, the company revealed a new system for finding and removing apps that made their way to the top of the Play Store charts via inauthentic reviews, fake installations or by paying people to write positively about the app. While this isn’t the first time the company has taken measures to ensure fair play, it’s the most advanced approach, and repeat offenders will see their apps removed from the store.

Mic Brings Notifications Front and Center

With its updated app, online publication Mic is focusing on all the news that’s fit for your lock screen. The outlet, which is geared toward millennial readers, is putting iOS 10’s rich notifications to work – so much so, that readers may never need to open the app itself. Users get push notifications around breaking news and can choose whether they want to explore in-app or engage on the lock screen via a summary of the story or even a subtitled video. It’s an interesting step towards changing the way users engage with their mobile content, and proof that Mic understands its target audience.

Mobile Propels Facebook Growth; Print Publications Suffer

The Facebook juggernaut continues to show amazing growth. In the company’s latest earnings call, it was revealed the company racked up over $7 billion in revenue and a profit of $2.38 billion. Compared to Q3 2015—a 166 percent rise. Advertising via mobile is the main driver, fed by 20 percent growth in mobile usage from last year. Zuckerberg also noted that Facebook has a camera feature in the works that could give Snapchat a run for its money.

Meanwhile, the shift to digital continues to be hard on traditional outlets like The New York Times, which saw an almost 30 percent decrease in revenue from print advertising. The company’s digital ad dollars are on the rise though, climbing 21.4 percent in Q3—thanks in part to mobile, of course.

Google’s Daydream View VR Headset in Stores this Week

Google’s Daydream View Virtual Reality headset, which is powered by compatible smartphones, will be available for purchase on November 10 at Verizon and Best Buy stores across the United States. There will be a number of supporting apps available in the Google Play store when the device releases to the public. This marks Google’s first big push into VR, following initial experiments with Cardboard, a more basic and affordable VR offering. The View will compete with devices from Samsung, Oculus, Valve, HTC and Microsoft.

Elsewhere, Google’s smartphone augmented reality platform, Tango, is now available to the general public after more than two years in development. Approximately 35 supporting apps released alongside the system. For now, Tango is only available on Lenovo’s Phab2 Pro device, which launched last week. However, Tango is expected to roll out to additional Android devices over the next year.

Twitter Introduces its Own Take on Bots

Twitter is integrating its own spin on bots into the platform’s direct messaging functionality. That means brands will be able to automate customer service conversations with greeting messages and quick replies. Pizza Hut and Evernote have already adopted the new feature in order to better serve customers looking for quick updates and assistance.

Twitter is not the only social network trying to increase its brand appeal. Instagram introduced new features for users to get information on products they see in their feed and navigate to a website or app where they can purchase the items. Brands that support the new shopping feature will be able to add an icon in the corner of their photos, which users can tap on to access product details and pricing. So far more than 20 brands are using the new tool, including Abercrombie, Warby Parker, Kate Spade and Macy’s.

Apple Unveils New TV App

Apple unveiled a new app called TV that streamlines mobile content usage. The app houses video content found on iTunes and other streaming services, so user don’t have to dig through multiple apps to find the show they’re looking for. What’s more, users watching from multiple devices won’t have to worry about losing track of where they are in a program. All of that information will automatically sync between the Apple TV, iPhone and iPad.

Facebook Helps You Map Your Election Plan

As the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election rapidly approaches, Facebook has introduced a new feature to help prepare voters for the big day. Users can access information about candidates — their stances on key issues, endorsements, websites and social posts — as well as information on local ballot questions. The feature allows users to create a plan, which they can bring into the voting booth with them on November 8.