This week: Google announces Pixel to challenge Apple’s status as mobile leader, mobile games dominates mobile app revenue and iMessage integration causes a surge in app downloads.
Google Takes on iPhone with Google Pixel
This week, Google took a move out of Apple’s playbook and held a high-brow tech event, including celebrities, a performance-art show and lots of pomp. The biggest talking point? Google’s unveiling of its iPhone challenger, the Google Pixel. And the company plans to make way in the mobile war on the back of the phone’s powerful hardware. This includes a market-leading camera for high-quality photography, an area where Apple has typically thwarted previous Google devices. The company has also partnered with Verizon to amplify promotion and distribution power. While reviews will have to wait until techies have phones in hand, the early signs point to the pixel as a true iPhone challenger.
Read more about Google’s throwing down of the mobile gauntlet at Forbes.
Other Major Announcements from Google’s Launch Event
While the Pixel stole the show from a mobile perspective, Google also announced several other major initiatives, such as the Google Assistant. With an eye on challenging other virtual assistants (e.g. Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa), Google displayed how it’s leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide users of the Assistant with a two-way dialogue. The AI also integrates naturally with Google Home, Google’s take on the Amazon Echo and another key announcement at the show. The company also announced its virtual reality headset, called “Daydream,” as well as Wi-Fi routers to support a customizable, expandable home network.
Read more on Google’s latest tech initiatives at Wireless Week.
Mobile Games Set to Dominate Mobile App Revenue
A new report from Newzoo predicts mobile games will make 82 percent of the $44.8 billion global app revenue this year. This is a staggering figure, but one that many developers won’t be surprised by, particularly considering the success of apps such as Pokémon Go. Overall, the report stated bullish growth projections for the mobile app market, estimating a compound annual growth rate of 17.7 percent from 2015 to 2020.
Read more on the forecast of the mobile app market at VentureBeat.
P.S. For some work-day levity, see how Norway’s prime minister was caught playing Pokémon Go in parliament.
Spotify Hit in Latest “Malvertising” Attack
Yahoo. The New York Times. BBC. And now Spotify. All of these companies have recently suffered from a series of “malvertising” attacks, which involved delivering malware-laden advertisements through a legitimate online advertising space. While Spotify was able to identify and quickly address the problem, users may need to restart the program to remove the malvertisements from their instance of Spotify. This also serves as a friendly reminder for users to always stay on top of OS, browser and program updates while constantly scanning devices with anti-malware programs.
Read more on Spotify, malvertising’s latest victim at PC World.
iMessage Support Causes Surge in App Downloads
While the iOS 10 update has only reached roughly half of iPhones and iPads so far, developers have long been preparing their apps for the upgrade. With iOS 10, the new iMessaging serves as a platform to actually support apps and has exposed a slew of new functionality, such as dropping in stickers, purchasing movie tickets and more. And those who have taken advantage of the new iMessage App Store are seeing a major boost to download statistics. A recent study from Sensor Tower found that JibJab has seen a 1500 percent boost in its app downloads, with other major apps seeing anywhere from 15 to 130 percent.