Helloooo internet! And welcome to the August 14 edition of This Week in Mobile. This week, the new largest company in the tech space emerged from the old largest company in the tech space. The IAB released huge news on mobile advertising revenue for 2014, and Google updated its messaging app.
Remember, this isn’t intended to be a comprehensive roundup, but rather a few things that piqued our interest—and that hopefully will pique yours too. So here now, the news.
A New Google Hangouts App!
This week Google released the 4.0 update to the Google Hangouts app for Android. The release revamps and overhauls several key features of Hangouts, a few of which were already updated in the iOS version of Hangouts earlier this summer. Now Google is giving Android Hangouts users something to chat about with its signature material design look, which brings Hangouts up to speed with the Android Lollipop OS and the upcoming Android M (C’mon Milkshake!). The update also provides Android Wear support for quick messages as well as the ability to make simple drawings and emojis right on your Android smartwatch.
The update has received significant criticism and praise from different sources. The app has more than a billion (yes, billion with a B) downloads on the Google Play store alone, so there is bound to be criticism for something with reach that far. The lesson here is that it’s important to keep your app aligned with your corporate image, but be prepared for push-back. Apps are always changing, just like the needs of the app users.
Apple TV Updates
September is right around the corner and that can mean only one thing: Apple’s fall event! The rumor mill is in full swing. There are whispers of an iPhone 6s and an iPad Pro with massive 12.9” display. And speculators generally agree that we’ll finally see an update to Apple TV. The current version of the Apple TV has been on the market for almost three years, and it needs some TLC—especially in light of the current landscapes of cord-cutters.
Apple’s rumored subscription television service (à la Sony Playstation Vue or SlingTV) will not be launching with the updated device, however, thanks to stalled talks between Apple and the TV providers. Nevertheless, consumers have been excited about the prospect of a new Apple TV for the past several Apple events—and again, these are only rumors. We’ll just have to wait until the September 9th event to see what Apple has in store for us.
Global Mobile Ad Revenue Hit $31.9 Billion in 2014
In a recent press release, the International Advertising Board (IAB) announced that after counting several beans and finding those last few pennies of ad revenue in the couch, global mobile advertising revenue was $31.9 billion for 2014. Mobile display was the big winner, responsible for 88.1% of that revenue. In fact, it surpassed search engine results, which were the big winner in 2013. You can download the entire report (it’s behind an email gate, but worth the read if you’re interested in the mobile ad industry), which breaks down the numbers across regions, devices and ad types. As IAB Senior VP Anna Bager said, “Mobile devices are at the center of consumers’ lives across the globe and these numbers reflect brands’ increasing recognition that this medium holds great power.”
We saved the best (or at least the biggest) news for last this week: Google is no longer Google. Kind of. The mega-business has officially rebranded itself as a larger holdings company called Alphabet, under whose purview the Google we know and love will fall.
Confused yet? You’re not alone. Basically, this move will allow Alphabet to keep working on the big ideas Google is known for while diversifying and separating the companies and brands currently under the Google banner. ThinkProgress has a few images (one of which can be seen below) that help show how the company and its power structure are changing. Ultimately, this change should be good for everyone involved. More leaders will be allowed to step up in these newly-formed Alphabet companies, giving them more room to develop the cool tech we like to play with at Phunware and tell you about in This Week in Mobile.
Aside from these big stories, Samsung has updated the GearS2 (which excites me as an active Android Wear user). Tinder’s interesting week on Twitter has many, many, many people talking about the personality of brands. Samsung Pay and Android Pay are getting release windows and Fitbit is releasing an app for Windows 10.