This past December, we reported that a popular Android app called Brightest Flashlight could do more than just shine light. Brightest Flashlight was a simple flashlight app that was highly-rated and had over 50 million installs. However, it had one devious, hidden feature: It would share personal data, such as your location, with advertisers. The FTC caught wind of this and began investigating the developer. According to GigaOm, the FTC reached a settlement with the developer last week, and it looks like he got away easy. More →
Gamers are frugal. If you’ve kept up with mobile gaming at all over the past several years, you’re already well aware of the rise of freemium games — they’re free up front, but require a small monetary investment, usually in the form of in-app purchases, for a reasonable rate of progression. The freemium market came to a head with the release of Candy Crush Saga about a year and a half ago, converting millions of non-gamers to obsessed puzzle fiends. In light of the shifting market, WildTangent has teamed up with research and analytics firm IHS Technology to examine the new trend of bucking one-time fees. More →
Even though the Nokia X trio of Android handsets actually runs a forked Android version that looks more like Windows Phone than Google’s famous mobile OS – and their OS are completely stripped off any Google apps including the Play Store – there’s actually hope that users will be able to run Android apps from Google’s app store in addition to Nokia’s store and all the other third-party supported application stores. More →
The long-awaited Pebble app store has finally arrived, and with it comes over 1,000 apps and watchfaces for your wearable device. Pebble announced on Monday that the appstore had finally gone live on the iOS version of the Pebble app, with the Android release coming “very, very soon.” The Pebble appstore is the first central location for developers to share their creations with the public and for Pebble owners to install and manage the apps on their smartwatches. More →
Distimo’s new app survey has many interesting data nuggets. One fascinating insight is that Apple had 18% app revenue growth in December over November, while Google Play app revenue growth was 17%. This is more interesting than it seems at first glance, because Google Play has been able to deliver far faster app revenue growth over the past two years, outpacing Apple app revenue growth by as much as fourfold according to some sources. Cheap Android phones are popular Christmas gifts and tend to lead to strong Android app revenue spikes in December. So how come Apple was so strong in the Christmas of 2013? More →
Google is joining in on the Black Friday festivities by announcing its Google Play store Cyber Weekend Deals on Friday. Android users can find great deals on music, books, TV, movies, and apps. Some of the best deals on the Google Play store include Kanye West’s Yeezus for $1.99, and each Lord of the Rings movie for $1.99. In addition, is offering a $25 Google Play store credit for anyone who buys a Nexus 7, which is unfortunately itself not on sale. Google did not specify how long this particular deal will last, only saying that it is “for a limited time.” Google’s Nexus 7 deal is similar to Apple’s Black Friday offer of Apple gift cards instead of discounts with the purchase of Apple hardware.
The Google Play Store is starting to take tablet apps seriously. Announced last month on the Android Developers Blog and spotted on Friday by Android Police, the Google Play Store is now only showing tablet-optimized apps in its top lists when accessed through a tablet. Apps that are not optimized for tablets will receive a “Designed for phones” tag, on the other hand. The Google Play Store has always lagged behind the iOS App Store in terms of tablet apps, so this move should encourage app developers to optimize more of their apps for tablets. More →
Even though Google doesn’t make money directly from sales of Android devices, it does benefit financially when more mobile subscribers use its online services and when they download apps from its Google Play app store. Barron’s flags a note from Citigroup analyst Mark May, who projects Google Play revenues will have compounded annual growth of 43% over the next four years and will grow from $1.3 billion in 2013 to $5.2 billion in 2017. Things look even better for Google when you factor in app-related ads, which May thinks will help Google Play generate a “$3.2 billion in total revenue contribution in 2014 and $7.2 billion in 2017.” In part because of this increased Google Play revenue, May raises his price target on Google shares from $1,025 all the way up to $1,190.
Yet another music streaming service has arrived on iOS devices, primed to duke it out for the top spot against Pandora and iTunes Radio. That service is Google Play Music, which has been available to Android users for years, but finally launched on the App Store on Friday. Google Play Music differentiates itself by allowing users to access up to 20,000 songs from their personal music collections over the cloud and even store their favorites for offline listening. The app also has a monthly subscription service dubbed All Access, which gives users unlimited access to millions of songs and custom radio stations based on their favorite artists, albums or songs. Everyone who signs up for All Access is entitled to a 30-day free trial. Once that expires, the service will cost $9.99 per month. More →
The explosive growth of mobile apps isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. According to research company Gartner, 102 billion apps will be downloaded from mobile app stores in 2013, nearly 40 billion more downloads than 2012. Total revenue of app downloads is also expected to increase from $18 billion last year to $26 billion by the end of 2013. Although Gartner‘s projections show continuous growth through 2017, the rate of growth is expected to slow starting next year. More →
Yes, there are downsides to Google’s policy of letting anyone publish their apps on Google Play. Symantec has found that scammers published almost 1,000 fraudulent apps on Google Play in August alone, most of which were deleted within hours of posting on the store. But even though Google was quick to delete the fraudulent Android apps, Symantec estimates that they were still downloaded more than 10,000 times. Symantec also says that one group is responsible for 97% of the fraudulent apps, which typically “include numerous links to various online adult-related sites, but one or two links actually lead to fraudulent sites that attempt to con people into paying a fee without properly signing them up for the paid service.”
According to new July figures from app analytics firm Distimo, Google Play’s app revenue has now increased by an impressive 67% since the start of the year. This includes a torrid 11% month-over-month app revenue growth during July alone. In comparison, the iOS platform’s app revenue has grown by just 15% so far this year and by 3% during July. One sign of Google Play’s emerging powerhouse status is that the combined app revenue generated by Japan and South Korea now matches that of the United States. The sudden Android app revenue growth spike of the past 12 months has turned Asia’s two leading countries into globally significant app markets. More →
Google Play’s All Access service is one of the better music streaming deals out there. It lets users upload up to 20,000 of their own songs onto Google’s cloud while also giving them unlimited streaming access to the millions of songs in the Google Play library for just $9.99 per month. And now, Billboard reports that Google is working out a deal with Verizon to bundle All Access subscriptions in with Verizon users’ wireless bills. Billboard’s sources say that Google wants to “leverage Verizon’s existing billing relationship with its customers, making the payment process as frictionless as possible” so that mobile users are given the option of adding an All Access subscription to their Verizon plan that will cost them a little extra each month.