MOBILE INSIGHTS: A Round-Up Of All The New Tools Google Gave To App Developers

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Many Of Google’s New App Developer Tools Focus On Location-Based Services (SAI)

Google rolled out a series of new features and products for its developer community yesterday. It introduced three new location-based APIs: the Fused Location Provider, which will drastically reduce the battery drain of location features; the Google Geofencing API, which allows apps to respond to users entering or exiting defined geographic areas, sure to be a boon to mobile advertising; and the Activity Recognition API, which will automatically determine if users are walking, running or biking (you can read one developer’s thoughts on the new APIs here). Read > Games Also Got An Overhaul (Engadget) 
Google Play Game Services
brings real-time multiplayer to mobile games, allows users to continue games across devices, and will work across Android, iOS, and the Web. It also comes with an API to monitor piracy, a big issue on Android. Read > 

Developers Also Got A New Environment In Which To Tinker With Apps (ZDnet)
Google also introduced Android Studio is a new developer environment designed to optimise and simplify building Android apps. It is also pushing out five new features to its Developer Console: Optimization Tips, App Translation Service, Referral Tracking, Revenue Graphs, and Beta Testing and Staged Rollouts. Read > 

Sundar Pichai’s Strategy: Focus On Apps And Services, And Users (Wired)
Why so much focus on developers? Revenue per Android user has grown 2.5 times from a year ago, per Android boss Sundar Pichai, but it still badly lags rival iOS, especially considering its installed base advantage. Pichai recently told Wired, “Users care about applications and services they use, not operating systems.” And who builds those apps and services? Read >

Google Also Released Google Play Music, A Spotify Competitor (The Verge)
Users can now stream music, create on-demand radio, and combine locally stored and streaming tracks into a master playlist for $9.99 per month, the same as Spotify. Unlike Spotify, however, it does not appear to have a free service (i.e. it is not a freemium model). It is not clear what the real advantage of Google Play Music is, if any, excepting perhaps better integration with your Android device. Read >

And Google Hangouts … A Mobile Messaging App (The Verge)
Similar to WhatsApp, Kik, and Facebook Messenger, it is now available and will eventually replace Google’s other communication properties, like Google Talk and Google+ Messenger. Given Google’s massive user base, this will only exacerbate carriers’ anxieties over lost SMS revenue. However, the mobile messaging space has become very crowded recently, as we discussed in our report on messaging apps. As if that wasn’t enough, Google also announced today that users of Google Wallet will be able to send money to friends via Gmail, even if the friend doesn’t have Wallet. Read >

Apple’s App Store Reaches 50 Billion Downloads (MacRumors)
Thats up from 40 billion in January, meaning Apple’s App Store is on pace for more than 25 billion app downloads this year. Read >

Mobile Malware Is Exploding—On Android (AppleInsider)
The number of mobile malware families and variants grew nearly 50% in the first quarter, but almost exclusively on Android (with a little on Nokia’s antiquated Symbian platform), according to malware researchers F-Secure Labs. About three-quarters of threats are designed to con users out of money, rather than maliciously damage devices. Increasingly, malware developers are creating specialised programs to target weaknesses in the Android platform. This isn’t possible under Apple’s “closed garden” approach to iOS. Even if Google were to patch the holes, it wouldn’t be very effective since most users never update their software. One researcher says the “Android malware ecosystem is beginning to resemble … Windows.” Read >

F-Secure LabsMobile Malware ThreatsSamsung Took 95 per cent Of Android Profits In The First Quarter (BGR)
Given that Samsung and Apple account for substantially all industry profits, this is not particularly surprising. However, it is sure to heighten Google’s paranoia about Samsung’s dominance of Android. Read >

Mobile Accounts For Nearly Half Of Jackthreads’ Orders (TechCrunch)
The next wave of e-commerce companies are increasingly mobile-focused. Jackthreads is a flash sale site for contemporary men’s fashion that expects to generate $75 to $100 million in revenue this year. Mobile accounts for more than 10% of U.S. e-commerce sales now. Read >  

Rovio, Maker Of Angry Birds, Releases Other Developers’ Games (PC Mag)
The first two games developed by outside developers, Icebreaker and Tiny Thief, are “coming soon.” Rovio appears to be transforming itself into a mobile games studio. With games accounting for the bulk of time and money spent on mobile, it stands to reasons that money would be left on the table if Rovio leaned exclusively on in-house developers. Read >

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