GDC: Microsoft wants to bake Xbox Live into mobile games

Microsoft used this year's Game Developers Conference (GDC) to make a case for integrating Xbox Live features into Android and iOS titles.

The first of the aforementioned features is called ‘Trusted Gaming Identity’ and it's used to improve the sign-in experience.

Using the same Microsoft account used elsewhere, Trusted Gaming Identity supports: two-factor authentication for improved security, access to payment and billing options, and parental controls.

Custom achievements can be...

By Ryan Daws, 22 March 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Gaming, Industry, Mobile, Platforms.

Phil Spencer: Google Stadia is impressive, but Xbox will ‘go big’ at E3

Xbox boss Phil Spencer his circulated an internal memo following the Google Stadia announcement promising that Microsoft will ‘go big’ at this year's E3 conference.

Microsoft has been working on a Google Stadia-like equivalent called xCloud for some time now and recently showed it off in a smaller demo. Google got the jump on Xbox by taking Stadia to the big stage at GDC yesterday.

In his memo, Spencer admitted that Stadia was impressive but had little surprises beyond...

By Ryan Daws, 20 March 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Cloud, Gaming, Industry, Platforms.

Play Store enables ‘pre-registration’ feature for all, plus larger app bundles

Google added some welcome new features to its Play Store ahead of its appearance at GDC this week.

The first is not strictly an addition but more of an expansion. ‘Pre-registration’ is now available for all developers, allowing hype for a game or app to be generated prior to release.

Next up is a new store page A/B test allowing multiple versions to be trialled with a subset of users. Performance stats will be provided for each to decide the optimal version before a full rollout.

To account for...

By Ryan Daws, 19 March 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Android, App Stores, Mobile, Platforms.

Android Q adds shiny new APIs while blocking others

Android Q is approaching which means developers are getting treated with a few shiny new APIs while others are getting blocked to boost platform security.

The first preview of Android Q has been released for developers and early-adopters to start tinkering with. In this article we'll provide a rundown of what's changed so far.

API Additions

What's being added or changed is always more exciting than what's being taken away, so it's where we'll start.

Neural Networks API 1.2

We know...

By Ryan Daws, 14 March 2019, 0 comments. Categories: AI, Android, API, Development Tools, Mobile, Platforms.

Opinion: Google is ready to become a major force in gaming

Google has made several moves which suggest it plans on doubling-down its gaming efforts to become a major industry player.

The company’s ambition to enter the gaming space is no secret. A patent for a Google gaming controller, which hopefully will be more comfortable than it looks by the time it reaches consumers’ hands, can already be found

By Ryan Daws, 13 March 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Gaming, Industry, Platforms.

Amazon now rewards more developers for top Alexa apps

Amazon has expanded its Alexa Developer Rewards program to ensure developers in France, Italy, and Spain get paid for decent voice apps.

The initiative was US-only when it launched in 2017 before expanding to leading European markets – the UK and Germany – as well as Japan and India.

Alexa Developer Rewards also expanded its supported categories. Initially restricted to developers building Alexa-based game apps, Amazon will now pay developers for top apps in the following categories:

  • Education & Reference

  • Food & Drink

  • Games, Trivia & Accessories

  • Kids

  • Health &...

By Ryan Daws, 12 March 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Amazon, Industry, Platforms.

Google enables devs to monetise free users with ‘Rewarded Products’

Google has introduced a new method for Android developers to monetise free users with a feature called ‘Rewarded Products’.

Free apps are increasingly more popular than paid. In Q1 2018, Statista found 94.24 percent of app downloads are free.

It’s understandable from a user perspective that most want to at least try an app before committing to a purchase. In-app purchases allow users to pay for the full app or...

By Ryan Daws, 07 March 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Mobile, Monetisation, Platforms.

Microsoft boosts developers’ revenue cut across its app stores

Microsoft has updated its app store policies to give developers a much fairer revenue cut of up to 95 percent.

There are some caveats to Microsoft’s revenue cut. To receive the full 95 percent, the app must be purchased through a deep link directly to your app. If the app is purchased through Microsoft listing it or marketing it somewhere, the developers will receive 85 percent.

App store fees have become a hot topic in recent months. The general feeling among developers is the platform holder’s...

By Ryan Daws, 06 March 2019, 0 comments. Categories: App Stores, Industry, Microsoft, Platforms.

Apple will enable developers to lure ex-subscribers back with discounts

Apple has announced it will soon allow developers to lure users who previously had an in-app subscription back with discounts.

In an App Store Connect post, Apple wrote:

“Apps with auto-renewable subscriptions will soon be able to provide a discounted price for a specific duration for existing or previously subscribed customers. You can use subscription offers to help win back subscribers who have cancelled their subscriptions or...

By Ryan Daws, 27 February 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Apple, iOS, Mac, Monetisation, Platforms.

#MWC19: Achieve immersion through video and VR

A session during MWC highlighted the growing importance of video and VR when it comes to creating immersive experiences.

Anjali Sud, CEO of Vimeo, was part of the session. Vimeo is the largest ad-free video network and its monetisation model allows it to be agnostic, even allowing creators to publish to YouTube.

Sud highlighted that video is becoming ‘the de facto form’ of communication. People expect a constant supply of professional, engaging video content.

“If you want someone to see your...

By Ryan Daws, 26 February 2019, 0 comments. Categories: AI, Devices, Industry, IoT, Mobile, Platforms, VR.

Facebook will open Ad API to increase political transparency

Following increasing pressure, Facebook will be opening up its Ad API to increase transparency around how it serves political adverts.

A letter penned by Mozilla and its partners – which includes “technologists, human rights defenders, academics, journalists, and Facebook users” – demanded this very change. By opening the API, the coalition hopes tools can be made to analyse and counter ads used to influence politics.

Rob Leathern, Product Director at Facebook, responded to the letter...

By Ryan Daws, 15 February 2019, 0 comments. Categories: API, Facebook, Platforms, Social media.

Google now only wants Android Things on certain ‘things’

Google is scaling back its ambitions for Android Things with the announcement it will “refocus” the platform on just two device types.

Android Things, once known as ‘Project Brillo’, was first announced in 2016. The platform was designed to be an OS for all manner of ‘things’ in the fast-growing IoT (Internet of Things) market.

Given the success Google has found with smart displays and speakers, the firm has decided to focus its efforts on these products.

Dave Smith,...

By Ryan Daws, 13 February 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Android, IoT, Platforms.

Google helps developers automate tasks with Docs API

Google has launched a Docs API which enables developers to automate tasks for the popular word processor.

For many people and businesses, Google Docs has become indispensable. I’m even using it to write this humble article.

Today’s API launch helps developers get the most from Google Docs for their own apps.

Many of the supported features in the Docs API are what you’d expect – including the ability to insert, delete, merge, move, and format text.

Using these features, apps...

By Ryan Daws, 12 February 2019, 0 comments. Categories: API, Platforms.

Arduino releases IoT Cloud beta for ‘end-to-end’ development

Arduino has announced the launch of its IoT Cloud application platform aimed towards developers, maker hobbyists, and system integrators.

With the help of Arduino IoT Cloud, users are able to develop IoT applications that solve everyday problems which arise in a business environment. Through this platform, the company aims to simplify complex technologies in such a way that it could be used by anyone.

Luca Cipriani, CIO of Arduino, said:

“With the launch of the Arduino IoT Cloud,...

By Developer, 08 February 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Development Tools, IoT, Platforms.

Amazon releases a dedicated API for childcare gadgets

Amazon has released a new API which helps Alexa developers build applications for childcare-focused devices.

The aptly-named Baby Activity Skill API will allow things such as logging the latest diaper change. For parents who work shifts at different hours, this could be useful to ask Alexa for the latest change without having to disturb the other person at work.

“With the Baby Activity Skill API, you can build Alexa skills and that enable your customers to easily log and query activity information using...

By Ryan Daws, 06 February 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Amazon, API, Ecosystem, Platforms.

Play Store now accepts PWAs which use Trusted Web Activities

Progressive Web Apps (PWA) using the Trusted Web Activities (TWA) API are finally supported on the Google Play Store following its 2017 announcement.

TWA is an API for PWAs which allows web content to be displayed in fullscreen with system-level features and limited native code.

Some will note the existence of PWAs like Facebook Lite, Instagram Lite, and Twitter Lite on the Play Store. Most of these use WebView and required a lot of added native code for things like notifications. TWA allows web developers to publish...

By Ryan Daws, 04 February 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Android, API, App Stores, Industry, Mobile, Platforms.

Twitter kills API access of apps used to buy followers

Twitter is finally tackling its problem of people buying followers by cutting off API access of apps claiming to offer such a service.

Three of the most notorious apps – Crowdfire, ManageFlitter, and Statusbrew – have been affected by Twitter’s clampdown.

Such apps follow thousands of users with similar interests in the hope some will follow back. The services often monitor those who do not follow and offer their user to unfollow them.

In a statement, a Twitter spokesperson explained:

By Ryan Daws, 01 February 2019, 0 comments. Categories: API, Platforms, Social media.

Apple revokes Facebook’s enterprise developer certificate

Apple has put Facebook on the naughty step and revoked its enterprise developer certificate following a data-snooping app scandal.

For those who expected Facebook’s apparent disregard for data privacy to have culminated with the Cambridge Analytica scandal of 2018, you may want to think again.

News broke yesterday that Facebook paid users as young as 13 to install a ‘research’ app that collects data of phone and web...

By Ryan Daws, 31 January 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Apple, Ethics, Facebook, Industry, Mobile, Platforms, Security.

App Store developers have pocketed $120bn since 2008

Apple has used the start of its Entrepreneur Camp in Cupertino as an opportunity to announce some of its latest App Store statistics.

The firm announced that App Store developers have pocketed $120 billion in total since 2008. An impressive $30 billion was distributed to developers in the last 12 months alone.

With Apple still taking a 30 percent cut from App Store sales, the company is raking in the cash. Recent reports that iPhone sales are slowing appear to have had little impact on App Store revenue.

App...

By Ryan Daws, 29 January 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Apple, App Stores, Ecosystem, Industry, iOS, Mobile, Platforms.

‘Android Game SDK’ is a joint project between Google and Unity

Google is partnering with Unity on a dedicated ‘Android Game SDK’ project with the goal of improving game development efficiency.

Android is the most popular mobile operating system in the world, so it’s little surprise many game developers want to put their work in front of its audience. Google is more than happy to oblige and continues to find ways to invest in Android game development.

The project itself is based on the Android...

By Ryan Daws, 18 January 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Android, API, Development Tools, Gaming, Mobile, Platforms.