The Week in Mobile: Feb. 8-14, 2015


Microsoft doubles down on mobile, Apple and Pinterest announce a new partnership 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.

Microsoft Makes Cross-Platform, Mobile-First Strategy a Priority

How do you know Microsoft is serious about mobile? They’ve acquired two app development companies within the last three months, and last week announced the purchase of mobile calendar app maker Sunrise Atelier, which comes shortly after Microsoft’s purchase of Acompli, a mobile email client that was folded into Microsoft’s new Outlook app for Android and iOS.

What’s interesting here is that Sunrise Atelier and Acompli develop apps for both Android and iOS, which illustrates Microsoft’s dedication to embracing multiple platforms rather than solely supporting Windows’ own operating systems, as the company has done in the past.

Also, while Microsoft could certainly create apps in-house, its decision to acquire pre-existing apps and work cross-platform shows that the company is ready to move faster. The company now boasts more than 100 apps for iOS and Android, which means Microsoft could soon become a leader in productivity apps across mobile platforms.

Study Shows Mobility is a Growth Engine for Small and Medium Enterprises

Businesses that are leading in mobile adoption are growing revenue two times faster and developing eight times more jobs than their laggard counterparts, according to a recent study. These small and medium-sized enterprises also report that up to 50 percent of all web searches for their businesses happen on a mobile device, which should come as no surprise since consumers worldwide value mobile technologies at 11 to 45 percent of their incomes and reported that they would be willing to give up luxuries for a year in order to keep their mobile phones.

Users Can Now Download iOS Apps Directly From Pinterest App

Last week, Pinterest announced a partnership with Apple that will transform the social network’s mobile app into a destination for app downloads and make it easier for people to discover new apps without having to go into Apple’s App Store. Users will be able to “pin” iOS apps and download them directly to their iPhones or iPads without ever leaving the Pinterest app. With more than 1.4 million apps available for download in the App Store, Pinterest mobile app users will be able to share, discover and download apps with the tap of a finger. Pinterest has 70 million monthly users, with 75 percent of activity taking place on mobile devices. That means Pinterest may be the perfect place to boost iOS app downloads and target potential users.

Kahuna Helps Push Notifications Go Personal

Kahuna, a mobile marketing platform, is changing the way push notifications interact with users through Dynamic Deep Linking, which utilizes deep linking to take users to the most relevant spot within an app, based on their usage history. Previously, mobile deep linking was limited to linking from one app to a specific screen within another app. But Kahuna is taking the process a step further by personalizing links based on user activity. For example, a user who clicks on a push notification about an upcoming basketball game may be taken directly to the shopping cart page of their ticket vending app where the cart is already defaulted to the number and type of tickets they have purchased in the past. The hope is that real-time, personalized links will drive sales conversions and improve user experience.

Prezi Debuts Its First Standalone Mobile App

Prezi, a cloud based presentation platform, is now targeting the consumer market for the first time with the launch of Nutshell, a standalone app for iOS that allows users to animate photos. It should comes as no surprise that the presentation platform that has brought real innovation to slideshows is responsible for Nutshell. The app allows users to create mini-movies from still images, as well as add captions, graphics and animation. Nutshell then allows users to share their creations across social media outlets, including Twitter and Instagram.

According to Prezi cofounder Adam Somlai-Fischer, Nutshell was created in response to people using Prezi to document life events rather than create work- or school-related presentations, which is what the platform is intended for. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a company develop a spin-off app in response to the way users are interacting with a product. For example, Facebook’s Paper provides those turning to Facebook for news with a more digestible format that may be better suited to that use case.

Apple’s Automobile Aspirations May Be Much Bigger Than CarPlay

Though strictly speaking, it isn’t mobile development news, the prospect of Apple getting into the car game is a fascinating one.