Category: Mobile

India is gearing up to become a massive player in the global app market.

However, a combination of inexpensive handsets, data-heavy apps, and a lack of relevant app content could be inhibiting future growth in the market, according to a study conducted by Google and TNS. This indicates that app makers will need to find ways to reengage smartphone users or risk getting lost in the upcoming app download deluge.

Here are the key takeaways from the report:

India’s app users are highly engaged. On average, nine of the 33 apps installed on Indian users’ devices are being used daily. While that seems low, compared with other, more mature, Asian smartphone markets, it’s substantial. For example, the average smartphone user in Japan engages with just 17% of all apps installed on their phone.
Relevancy is key to getting users to India to revisit a lapsed app. Sixty-one percent of users in India said they would come back to an old app if it increased relevancy, became more popular among family and friends, or gained new features, Google notes. Reengagement tactics like push notifications and frequent updates to add new features will help encourage users to revisit dormant apps.

Apps

Lack of memory is making app users more selective. Forty-nine percent of users in India said that the main reason they deleted an app was that it took up too much of their memory. While Indian smartphone users are downloading five apps each day, they’re also deleting/uninstalling three apps to make space on their devices. This is because a majority of smartphones in India cost less than $120, according to Gartner. And, with the low cost comes much less internal memory, meaning app publishers will need to give users a reason to download and keep their apps.

Overall, the opportunity India presents is massive. Daily app downloads in India saw a 16% increase during the first half of 2016, according to a report from 9Apps, a third-party Android app distribution platform. Moreover, the total number of apps downloaded is projected to grow a staggering 92% from 2014, to reach almost 8 billion downloads in 2016 and 20 billion in 2020, according to App Annie. But developers and publishers need to ensure that their apps have been optimized for the emerging market. Mobile-app makers and content creators are vying for consumer attention in a crowded and noisy market.

Even if an app can stand out enough to prompt a consumer to download it from among a list of millions, it then faces the challenge of enticing him or her to use it enough times to recuperate development, maintenance, and marketing costs. To make matters worse, those marketing costs have hit record-high levels over the past year as discoverability has become more challenging. And while consumers are spending more time in apps, most of that time is spent on a few favorites. Consumers spend almost three-quarters of their total smartphone app time in just their three favorite apps, according to ComScore.

But it’s not all doom and gloom: There are numerous tools at a publisher’s disposal to engage and re-engage consumers, and new products and solutions are coming to market that can help alleviate some of the issues around this app engagement crisis. Jessica Smith, research analyst for BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has compiled a detailed report on app engagement that explores the current state of the app market, the issues around engaging consumers, and the tools at a publisher’s disposal. It also identifies best practices for implementing some app engagement tools and presents the pitfalls that some publishers fall into in this pursuit.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

The app market today is challenging and volatile. It isn’t easy to stand out, and most apps have to be offered for free to entice consumers who have too much supply to choose from. This puts greater emphasis on engaging consumers after they’ve downloaded an app to recoup costs. Consumers are more difficult to engage today, as most have dozens of apps installed on their devices yet spend most of their time in just a select handful of favorites.

There are numerous solutions at hand for mobile app publishers and content creators seeking to engage consumers. Push notifications, in-app messaging, and app message centers with badges are three tools publishers can use to engage consumers. While many publishers mistakenly rely solely on push notifications for app engagements, this is a poor practice because many consumers don’t allow push notifications. Those who do can easily be overwhelmed when they receive too many. The best solution often includes leveraging two or three of these tools to engage consumers with the right message at the right time. The technology in this market has grown increasingly sophisticated, and publishers that don’t diversify their approach run the risk of annoying their consumers to the point of abandonment.

Emerging engagement technologies will change the current app engagement norms and present new ways for app publishers to communicate with users. The mobile ecosystem is changing quickly as technology improves and consumers become more comfortable conducting more mobile devices. In full, the report: Identifies the major challenges in today’s app market and explains why employing good app engagement practices is more important than ever before.

Presents the major app engagement tools currently available.$

Examines the pros and cons of each app engagement tool while outlining some pitfalls that publishers encounter in implementing them. Prescribes best practices for adopting various app engagement tools or strategies. Assesses how the market will likely change over the next five years as emerging technologies change both consumer behavior with mobile devices and introduce new tools to engage consumers.

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India’s LGBT community deserves better apps. After drinks on a Saturday night, Akash* opens gay meet-up-app Grindr to continue an earlier conversation. They’ve agreed to meet at the large ICICI Bank at the corner. After a few nervous minutes of waiting, he recognizes a face coming up the street. Their walk home is careful, avoiding the juice shop where police officers usually stand. “Grindr life.

Akash laughs. Fast forward a few encounters to a Sunday afternoon. This time, Akash opens the app to a charming stranger who asks to meet in a posh neighborhood. A short walk and a winding staircase later, he’s confronted by a man who looks nothing like the well-positioned photos he’s sent. He runs, reminded of other stories – urban tales of a man lured into a Grindr date in Delhi and beat up, or one in which blackmail and public shaming is used as revenge.

Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-gender (LGBT) community during a Delhi Queen Pride 2015, in New Delhi on Sunday. PTI Photo

Are there options? Barely. Tinder preferences can be adjusted, but the app connects directly with Facebook to display mutual connections. That makes things more transparent and merges a network that often includes family and friends, terrifying for many in anti-anything-but-straight India. A few people direct me to an Indian site that’s been gaining popularity,

Amour. It’s an online dating project that lets people create profiles and meet like-minded individuals across the gender spectrum. It’s available in five languages, including English, Hindi, and Kannada. The problem is – it’s still just a database and definitely doesn’t have the investor interest or tech background to match the likes of Grindr. It’s clear about that. “We still DO NOT RULE OUT data leakage to external persons,” Amour writes on its site.

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Continuing the festive season discounts, Amazon India has kick-started its Great Indian Festival sales starting today. The festival sale will last until October 20. The discounts are mostly on smartphones, accessories, and electronic items on the first day. Xiaomi also announced its “Diwali with Mi” sale on its range of smartphones. Amazon India is offering an additional 15% discount for buyers who shop on their app. Also, Citibank credit or debit card users are entitled to get additional discounts. The e-tailer is also offering exchange offers on electronic items. There is also an option to avail of EMI options at no additional costs. For Prime subscribers, Amazon India will open deals 30 minutes ahead of general availability.

Amazon Great Indian Festive Sale

Here are the top five deals on Amazon India for smartphones.

Apple iPhone 6s (64 GB, Gold, and Space Grey): If you are looking for a killer deal on the slightly older iPhone 6S, then Amazon offers the 64GB variant of the iPhone 6s for Rs 45,999. The Rose Gold color variant is available for a slightly higher price of Rs 48,290. While Amazon India has also listed the Silver color variant of iPhone 6s (64GB) for Rs 39,225, note that the offer is not Amazon Fulfilled.

OnePlus 3: The new OnePlus 3 smartphone is available in both colors—Gold and Graphite—for the same price of Rs 27,999. However, there is an exchange offer of up to Rs 16,000 in select regions. LeEco Le Max2: LeEco Le Max 2 (32GB) is available for Rs 17,999 instead of Rs 22,999 during the sale. Moto G4 and G4 Plus: The new Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus are available for Rs 10 499 and Rs 13,499, respectively. Also, the budget Moto G4 Play is available for cashback of Rs 1,000. Lenovo Zuk Z1: If you are looking for the best budget smartphone, check out the Lenovo Zuk Z1 on Amazon India. For a discounted price of Rs 10,999, the device offers top-notch hardware.

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For a long time, Android users have been waiting to enjoy video calling facility on WhatsApp just like Windows phone users. And it seems that their wait has finally come to an end, hinted WABetaInfo. It tweeted: “I received a report about video calls on WhatsApp for Android (NO ROOT). Are they finalizing the server to enable video calls? On October 20, OneWindows.es, a Spanish website, has reported that many Windows Phone users can now see the option to make video calls in WhatsApp beta app. The website also cited that the users did not have to re-install the application for using the video calling option as there was a server-side change.

Video-calling-now-possible-on-WhatsApp-Know-how

In September 2016, the WhatsApp Android Beta version introduced several new features to customize images like Snapchat, i.e., by adding stickers and drawing to add more fun. The users could write a message and add emojis atop the photos and videos. This information was revealed by Android Police. Besides WhatsApp, Facebook has also initiated steps to improve its FB Messenger app for Windows 10. Users will now be able to make video and voice calls using the Windows 10 app. Earlier, the users had to actually leave the app and use this feature from the web version of Facebook in a web browser.

According to VentureBeat, “Just like on Messenger for Android and iOS, the phone icon in the top right corner of the screen in the Windows 10 app during a chat glows green when the other person is currently active, so you know you can reach them immediately. So if you are a Windows user and you can use this new feature of video calling on your handset, do let us know your experience in the

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Motorola is usually fast with updating its phones to the latest Android version; basically, it uses almost stock Android. Hence it doesn’t need to add touch-ups to the OS, unlike Samsung, Xiaomi, or other companies. Nougat has already reached some Nexus phones, Android One phones, and LG’s V20; Motorola has announced the list of phones that will get the latest Android 7.0 Nougat. Earlier, a report had said that Motorola would roll out the Nougat update starting with Moto G4, Moto G4 Plus, and its latest Moto Z line of smartphones. Motorola’s announcement confirms that report as well.

Motorola

We’re happy to confirm Android 7.0 Nougat is on its way to a lot of our smartphones; we’ll be starting in Q4 with Moto Z and Moto G (4th Gen),” said the company in a blog post. Going by the announcement, the Moto G4, Moto G4 Plus, and the Moto Z phones should be running Android Nougat by the end of this year. Motorola launched the Moto Z and Moto Z Play in India earlier this week; the phone at the sale will come with Android Marshmallow. Here’s the full list of the phones that will receive Android Nougat update; the list also includes Droid phones which are not available in India:

  • Moto G (4th Gen)
  • Moto G Plus (4th Gen)
  • Moto G Play (4th Gen)
  • Moto X Pure Edition (3rd Gen)
  • Moto X Style
  • Moto X Play
  • Moto X-Force
  • Droid Turbo 2
  • Droid Maxx 2
  • Moto Z
  • Moto Z-Droid
  • Moto Z Force Droid
  • Moto Z Play
  • Moto Z Play Droid
  • Nexus 6

Android Nougat update will add more efficient notification controls, improved battery and data saver features. It also promises to offer better security options along with custom quick setting features.

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After not so successful device IM5, the photography company Kodak will launch its new device Ektra  — a smartphone aimed at shutterbugs — that looks like a camera. Named after its 1941 rangefinder (and the 1970s 110 film camera range), the handset’s back is wrapped in “leatherette” with a slightly curved grip on one side, and a dedicated shutter button on top, Engadget reported.

To be available in Britain from December for 450 pounds ($550), the smartphone has a large, protruding lens that pokes out the back and a 21MP Sony sensor (IMX230) under the hood and is photographer-friendly. Kodak has recruited Bullitt, a phone manufacturer, to make the device. The camera app on the smartphone has a digital “Scene Selection Dial” that lets you access different shooting modes.

Kodak smartphone

Bullitt has also made Snapseed the default photo-editing app, believing it is one of the best options on the Play Store. The phone is powered by a deca-core MediaTek Helio X20 processor and 3GB of RAM. It comes with 32GB of internal storage, which you can supplement with a MicroSD card of up to 128GB and a 3000mAh battery that supports “Pump Express” quick charging. The 5-inch 1080p display has a stock version of Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

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Chinese company Meizu on Tuesday launched its budget smartphone M3s in India in exclusive partnership with Snapdeal at a price of Rs.7,999. The Meizu M3s comes with a 5-inch FullHD screen with a 720X1280 pixel resolution. Meizu’s M3s is powered by a 1GHz octa-core MediaTek MT6750 processor. The handset comes in two variants like 2 GB RAM & 16 GB ROM and 3 GB RAM & 32 GB ROM. The smartphone is backed by a 3020 mAh non-removable battery and several features like a gravity sensor, ambient light sensor, capacitive touch screen, 24GHz dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 and digital compass.

Meizu M3s

The dual SIM M3s come with a 13-megapixel camera on the rear and a 5-megapixel at the front. The phone like most of the Meizu’s flagship phones, such as M3 Note and MX5, boats of an all-metal body and is available in three colours- Grey, Silver, and Gold. M3s generated quite a buzz among our target audience. Since the dynamics of the Indian market are similar to any other successful market in the world, it encouraged us to roll out this stunning device here as well. Undoubtedly, we at Meizu always tend to introduce our best-in-class products here on priority. We firmly believe the level of acceptability m3s would get from Indian consumers will bolster our future growth plans, ” the company said in a statement.

This year, the company also launched M3 Note, a strong competitor against Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 3. The M3 Note comes with a 5.5-inch FullHD screen with a 1080×1920 pixel resolution. It is powered by a 1.8GHz octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 processor coupled with Mali T860MP2 GPU and 3GB of RAM. It comes with 32GB of internal memory, further expandable by up to 128GB via a hybrid microSD card slot. The phone costs Rs 9,999 to its buyers.

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Tuesday, when Google launched Pixel phones, it seemingly left out a minor — albeit important — detail from the announcement, probably because there were bigger things to talk about. It didn’t reveal for how long the phone would be supported in terms of software and security updates, an issue that plagued Android phones. But now, India Today Tech can confirm that Pixel and Pixel XL will be different when it comes to updates than Android phones. According to Google, these phones will be supported for at least 2 years after their launch in software updates and at least 3 years for the necessary security updates.

This is an improvement over the Nexus phones, which are given official support for software updates like the next version of Android for 18 months. But at the same time, it falls short of the high standard set by Apple, which typically supports the iPhone for 4 years. (For Pixel phones) we provide software and security updates for 2 and 3 years, respectively,” a Google spokesperson told India Today Tech. “We provide warranty support for the life of the warranty — 1 year in the US and typically 2 years for the rest of the world, although there are exceptions.

Google will provide Android updates to Pixel phones for 2 years

The two years, although it sounds low compared to what Apple offers with the iPhone, seems fairly decent in the world of Android, where most phones never get a software update. The security updates are not rare, especially for the high-end Android phones from big manufacturers like Samsung. The mainstream and low-end phones do not get the updates all that frequently. The updates, software, or security are also infrequent six months after the phone launch.

In fact, prompt updates were one of the big attractions of Nexus phones. They were the most affordable option for consumers wanting to get direct and prompt Android software updates from Google. Although after the launch of Pixel, now that the Nexus product line has ended, even the Nexus phone users seem to be getting a raw deal. Unlike the pre-Pixel world, when Nexus phones were first to get the latest Android features, now the Nexus 5X and the Nexus 6P will have to wait at least a couple of months before they get some of the Android 7.1 features that Pixel phones have at the moment.

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Interesting as it may sound, the truth is that Google, the company that is behind Android, has not made an Android phone. At least not in the way Apple makes the iPhone. This is changing now. Several days ago, on October 4, Google announced Pixel and Pixel XL. According to Google, the Pixel phones are the first phones that it has engineered and developed completely in-house. Although technically Motorola phones, when Motorola was a Google-owned company, were also Google official phones, and so are the Nexus devices, the Pixel phones are indeed slightly different. Although Google has sold phones using its Play store earlier, this is the first time it takes full ownership of the phones.

Pixel XL

In the coming days, Pixel and Pixel XL will reach shops in India. Pre-orders have already started, and Google has already started reaching out to prospective consumers, telling them all about the virtues, as it sees them, of the Pixel phones. Here at India Today Tech, we will take a better look at the Pixel phones in the coming days. But for now, based on a day I have spent with the Pixel XL, there are some quick thoughts on what I make of the Pixels XL (and, up to an extent, Pixel).

Design from HTC

Although the Pixel XL is a Google phone, it unmistakably looks like an HTC phone. Well, there is a reason for that. The Pixel XL is a phone manufactured by HTC, even though it carries the Big G logo of Google. And its design is a mishmash of HTC phones, primarily the HTC 10 and the HTC A9. As you expect from a mishmash, the design will leave a user with mixed emotions. It is not a bad design. But it is not great either.

The Pixel XL uses an aluminum metal shell with the left and the right edges carved with clean straight lines, which we have seen earlier on the HTC 10. On the other hand, its curved corners reminded me of the HTC A9 and the iPhone 6. This is a familiar design, and we have seen it again and again on high-end — and now mainstream — phones. However, the unique bits to the Pixel design come from the glass portion on the rear and fingerprint scanner. The phone has a conveniently located –, and I must add a high-speed — fingerprint sensor on the rear cover. Android in the Pixel XL seems fast and quite beautiful with its clean, flat layer-based user interface. There are no unwanted apps here unless you count some of the Google apps as unwanted.

All in all, my impression of the Pixel XL in terms of design is that this is a very utilitarian design and somewhat boring for a phone that costs Rs 67,000. The bezels are thick, and various design elements give a fairly generic look. Although with a slim profile and a 5.5-inch phone, a compact enough frame also means that you can use Pixel single-handedly. Well, most of the time. Compared to a phone like the Galaxy S7 Edge, the Pixel XL doesn’t look good. But it sure is more convenient to use compared to the iPhone 7 Plus.

Google’s Android and possibly a killer camera

The big story with the Pixel XL is not its design. It is the software inside it. With Pixel phones, Google is taking charge of Android back from the phone makers in China and Korea, and instead of trying to give users a version of Android that will fast, good-looking, and feature-rich. The company is also promising timely updates to Pixel users.

All of this sounds very promising, and Pixel XL does highlight some of the better aspects of Android. It comes inbuilt with Google Assistant. It seems very smart, smarter than Siri, although I need to spend more time with it. Then there is a new app drawer — swipe up from the bottom edge — and it looks better than the app drawer out there by default in the Android 7, aka Nougat. The Pixel XL runs a more recent version of Android — Android 7.1 — and has the exclusive Pixel launcher that Google has created.

In the Android 7.1 on Pixel XL, Google has added a couple of more unique features. The most intriguing of these seems to be the shortcuts. You long-press on an app, and it shows a shortcut. For example, a long press on the Chrome app shows a shortcut for opening a tab or opening an incognito tab. This is very neat.

Overall, Android in the Pixel XL seems fast and quite beautiful with its clean flat layer-based user interface. There are no unwanted apps here unless you count some of the Google apps as unwanted. And there are no tacky animations or colors, which we often see on phones made by China-based companies.

It also helps that Pixel XL has pretty good hardware inside it. It is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor and has 4GB RAM. It also has 32GB of internal storage. The AMOLED screen of the phone, at first glance, looks beautiful as it shows rich and deep colors. It also seems to be a very bright and vibrant screen, although this will be tested properly once the phone is used outdoors in bright sunlight.

iPhone 7 Plus vs. Pixel XL: On the left is an image by iPhone. On the right the photo by Pixel. The iPhone exposed the image better and has accurate colors. Pixel image has more details, richer colors. Talking of hardware, probably the best part of the phone seems to be the camera. We haven’t yet really put the phone’s camera through its paces, but it seems to capture images with great detail and extremely punchy colors. Although speed-wise — focus and processing — it does seem slower than the camera in the iPhone 7 Plus, or for that matter, the camera in the Galaxy S7.

Summing it up

In the coming days, I will take a better look at Pixel XL, see how well its battery holds up, whether the phone heats or not, whether its software has bugs or not, and most importantly, see how well it works with the Jio network. You guys do want to know how well it works with Jio. But all of that is for later. For now, my impression of the Pixel XL is mostly positive, although the design could have been better. For example, it doesn’t have water and dust-resistant body, which is kind of a big miss at a time when both Galaxy S7 and the iPhone 7 have it. Similarly.

The glass panel on the back cover looks tacky and useless. But then there is the software and features. The Android 7.1 Nougat inside the Pixel XL looks fantastic and seems to work very, very well. It is the kind of software that is going to make you fall in love with Android. And although the software is not everything, it matters a lot in a “smartphone.”

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Samsung India Electronics will make all the future launches, including entry-level smartphones, with 4G facilities. It expects to gain the market share in the current year on the back of new launches, a top company official said on Thursday. There is a huge conversion happening from feature phones to smartphones at the entry-level. This migration will continue. All the future launches, including the entry-level segment, will have 4G facilities and sell 4G devices. But at the same time, there will be a certain set of feature phone users because of price points,” said the company’s Vice President (Mobile Business), Manu Sharma Yarlesac.

Samsung Will Launch Only 4G-enabled Android Phones in India

He also said the mobile maker has experienced sales this year but declined to give details of sales figures. We expect that the company will gain its market share on the back of new launches,” he said. According to the latest data, in the smartphone market, the mobile maker has a 48.7 percent share in value. peaking on the Galaxy Note 7, he confirmed that the company would refund consumers who bought the Galaxy Note 7 smartphones outside the country. “They can go to a service center and get it refunded,” he said, adding that it did not sell” the device in India. Instead of the Galaxy Note 7 pre-book offer, the company has offered Samsung Galaxy S7/S7 Edge, he added.

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