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.

Google details Play Store’s upcoming 64-bit app requirement

Google has provided further details on the upcoming requirement for Android apps on the Play Store to have 64-bit versions.

The company first announced the change in late 2017, providing ample preparation time.

Android itself has supported 64-bit since 5.0 (‘Lollipop’) while the Play Store has required apps using native code to provide a 64-bit version in addition to 32-bit.

Starting August 1, 2019:

  • All new apps and app updates that include native code are required to provide 64-bit versions in addition to 32-bit versions when publishing to Google...

By Ryan Daws, 16 January 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Industry, Mobile, Platforms.

JETCO provides access to over 200 APIs from 13 banks

Hong Kong-based JETCO is a cross-bank ATM service that has today announced the launch of its APIX exchange platform.

APIX provides access to over 200 APIs from 13 banks. Supported banking services include deposit, Forex, loans, investment, insurance, safe deposit box, branch, ATM, and more.

Angus Choi, CEO of JETCO, said:

“Open banking is a global trend that will help drive innovations and enhance the competitiveness of the local financial industry.

JETCO...

By Ryan Daws, 15 January 2019, 0 comments. Categories: API, Platforms.

You can now have unlimited GitHub private repos – and free!

Well, that should help silence a few of those critics who said Microsoft will ruin GitHub.

Redmond is starting this year in a benevolent mood and has announced GitHub will now support free private repos. Seriously, you can even have unlimited of them.

The slight catch is that free private repos are limited to three collaborators – fair enough, a service needs to make cash somewhere. Public repos are still free and can have unlimited collaborators.

Nat Friedman, CEO of GitHub,...

By Ryan Daws, 08 January 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Development Tools, Git, Platforms.

Android Q ‘dark mode’ will help logical third-party adoption

Dark mode is an ‘approved Android Q feature’ that will be adopted system-wide, hopefully driving third-party developers to support in their own apps.

A Chromium Gerrit tracker created by Googler Lukasz Zbylut says the “[Android] Q team wants to ensure that all preloaded apps support dark mode natively.”

The tracker also states, “In order to ship dark mode successfully, we need all UI elements to be ideally themed...

By Ryan Daws, 07 January 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Design, Industry, Mobile, Platforms.

AOSMark ranks the best and worst OEMs for Android updates

Not all Android manufacturers are equal in supporting their devices with OS updates, leaving many users on ageing flavours.

AOSMark is a site which tells users the best manufacturers for updates while shaming those who are worst.

Naturally, manufacturers with heavily ‘skinned’ Android operating systems are generally slowest to update as they customise the OS before sending it for lengthy approval via Google and each mobile operator around the world (for carrier-locked...

By Ryan Daws, 02 January 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Industry, Mobile, Platforms.