The Week in Mobile: April 26 – May 2, 2015


Apple exceeds goal for Watch apps, 70 new apps gain access to Google Now, Windows 10 to support ported iOS and Android apps 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 Exceeds Goal with Over 3,500 Apple Watch Apps at Launch

The Apple Watch debuted just over a week ago alongside more than 3,500 supporting apps. That far exceeds the company’s original goal, which was to have 1,000 apps ready by the launch date. The Apple Watch’s app catalogue outnumbers the 1,000 total apps ready for the iPad launch in 2010 and is 7 times greater than the 500 apps available for the iPhone when the App Store first launched in 2008. And when it comes to competing with other wearables’ apps, Apple is on track to dominate the market, considering it took Samsung’s Gear wearables app store 18 months to hit 3,000 apps. Because apps are ultimately the key to the Apple Watch’s success, Apple’s ability to seed the app store prior to its product launch bodes well for the success of the new device.

However… while there may be thousands of Apple Watch apps available for download, many are running slowly and taking a long time to load. Bugginess seems to be a real problem, but it’s likely apps will improve over the next few weeks as developers get a chance to see the Watch in action and make adjustments accordingly.

70 New Apps Gain Access to Google Now

Google Now, a tool for Android that helps users stay on top of their day by learning their behaviors and needs over time, opened its platform up to 70 additional third-party apps last week, bringing the total number of apps available to 110 and making the platform a lot more powerful. Google partnered with 40 third-party apps back in January and is continuing to expand the range and variety of its Google Now cards with this most recent roll out.

New partners include a range of companies including Zipcar, which will display upcoming reservation start and end times; Spotify, which will suggest playlists based on contextual information; and ABC News, which will share relevant breaking news. While Google increased the number of companies allowed access its second rollout, it appears the company will continue to gradually open the platform up to third parties rather than making the API open to the public.

Samsung Wants to Bring Wearables into the Workplace

Samsung is exploring what role its smartwatches and Gear VR headsets could play in the workplace. Right now, the devices are primarily purchased by consumers, but Samsung is looking to expand into the enterprise by working with developers on business-focused apps for its smartwatches and new content to drive headset usage. Samsung Vice President of Mobile Marketing Eric McCarty said smartwatches can provide alerts and immediate access to critical information and that VR headsets have the potential to present multimedia content in a new and powerful way.

Samsung envisions smartwatches as a tool to communicate more quickly and efficiently. For example, restaurants could use smartwatches to send service notifications to staff. While smartwatches offer an opportunity to improve speed and efficiency of communication, the Gear VR headset offers an opportunity to revolutionize the way we convey information. The device could be used as a training tool or to give virtual tours. For example, real estate agents could give virtual tours of homes for potential buyers.

Windows 10 to Support Ported Android and iOS Apps

In an attempt to ride the wave of Android and iOS success, Microsoft announced that app developers will now be able to reuse existing code written for these other platforms to create apps that run on Windows 10. That means developers will only need to make slight modifications to their pre-existing code in order for apps to function on Windows phones, tablets, PCs, Xbox One and HoloLens goggles. With a few slight adjustments, developers will be able to reach an audience that Microsoft hopes will extend to 1 billion devices over the next two or three years. Of course developers will still need to do the work to offer a truly native experience by coding for platform-specific features and nuances.