Welcome back to mobile devices.series that recaps the latest mobile OS news, mobile applications, and the overall app economy. The app industry continues to grow, with a record 218 billion downloads and $143 billion in global in 2020. Consumers also spent 3.5 trillion minutes using apps on Android devices alone. And in the U.S., ahead of the time spent watching live TV. The average American watches 3.7 hours of live TV daily but now spends four hours per day on their
Apps aren’t just a way to pass idle hours — they’re also a. In 2019, mobile-first companies had a combined $544 , 6.5x higher than those without a mobile focus. In 2020, investors poured $73 billion in capital into a figure up 27% year-over-year. This week, we’re reviewing , rounding up the latest from Snap’s partner summit, and looking at how Parler got back on the App Store, among other things.
Google I/O was quite boring this year. Sorry, sorry. But it’s true. Without any new hardware announcements, the software-only event didn’t feel as big and buzzy as it has in the past — which is a bummer since I/O was canceled entirely blog posts — like Google Workspace improvements or neat Google Maps and Photos features. A life-size 3D video calling booth is fantastic but won’t be in your .due to COVID-19. There was no announcement of an affordable Pixel 5a or six smartphones, no rumored Pixel Watch, no news on Pixel chips, no new smart home devices, no Stadia, and not even the Pixel Buds A-Series, which Google accidentally tweeted about ahead of schedule. What gives? Instead, Google I/O was filled with many product news that could have been announced as
That’s not to downplay Google’s technical advancements. Still, if you’re sitting through a long live-ish (??) event, you don’t only want to hear about more conversational AI or less racist cameras (much less from the company that fired multiple AI ethics researchers). You want to get excited about Google’s next new…thing. When all was said and done, what stood out was Android 12. Themobile OS with unique personalization features targets customization’s current iPhone weakness.
While iOS finally added support for widgets with iOS 14 and an App Library to clean upclutter, Apple seemed almost caught off guard by the personalization madness that ensued after devices went live. It had to quickly fix how app shortcuts worked — a workaround people had been using to tediously customize their .
Android 12 addresses this demand for its users and takes things further. When Android 12 users set a new wallpaper, the system can automatically create a custom palette of colors as the Android theme, including dominant and complementary colors. This is applied across the OS, including in the Quick Settings under the Notification Shade, buttons on the lock screen, widgets, and more. Google calls this “Material You,” which is silly but gets the point across. The phone can start to feel like yours.
Material You also introduce refreshed widgets with interactivepersonalization options, smoother transitions, more animations, and a private dashboard where you can check in on which apps are accessing your location, mic, and camera, for instance. But what sells it is how all those parts to present a new Android version that feels fresh.
ICYMI: An I/O Round-up
- Stats: globally, up from 2.5 billion in May 2019. The figure includes 250 million active tablets as of .
- Foldable: a series of Android 12 updates that add compatible screens. (Is a foldable Pixel coming?)
- Design: “Material You” is Android’s new, adaptive design language, fully embracing the home screen personalization trend, allowing users to set themes that apply across the . One of its more clever tricks is that it’s able to build the color palette for the article based on the wallpaper you choose