Android apps on Windows 11, App Store Search Ads hit China, Apple argues against sideloading – TechCrunch

Welcome again to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps the most recent in cellular OS information, cellular functions and the general app financial system.

The app {industry} continues to develop, with a record 218 billion downloads and $143 billion in international shopper spend in 2020. Consumers final yr additionally spent 3.5 trillion minutes utilizing apps on Android gadgets alone. And within the U.S., app utilization surged forward of the time spent watching reside TV. Currently, the common American watches 3.7 hours of reside TV per day, however now spends 4 hours per day on their cellular gadgets.

Apps aren’t only a technique to move idle hours — they’re additionally an enormous enterprise. In 2019, mobile-first corporations had a combined $544 billion valuation, 6.5x greater than these and not using a cellular focus. In 2020, buyers poured $73 billion in capital into cellular corporations — a determine that’s up 27% year-over-year.

This week, there’s massive information with the growth of Android apps to Windows. Apple additionally got here out swinging against sideloading and expanded its worthwhile Search Ads enterprise to China…with quite a lot of caveats. Meanwhile, TikTook launched its personal take on mini-apps after assessments, making its movies extra interactive.

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Microsoft brings Android apps to Windows 11

Screenshot 2021 06 24 083937

Image Credits: Microsoft

Microsoft stunned {industry} observers this week at its Windows 11 occasion with information that it’ll make Android apps available on the subsequent model of its working system. The apps will run natively on Windows 11 and will be downloaded from Amazon’s Appstore by means of the brand new Windows Store included within the up to date OS. They’ll additionally have the ability to be built-in into the Start menu and pinned to the taskbar, and might tile or “window” as a part of the OS’s new software placement consumer interface.

The Amazon partnership will convey elevated consideration to the Amazon Appstore, whose significance has considerably fizzled through the years given the overall lack of funding and its shut ties to Amazon Fire gadgets, that are outsold by iPad. App builders at the moment are inclined to focus initially on the App Store and Google Play, not Amazon’s Appstore. However, bringing some 3 million Android apps to Windows customers opens up an enormous new potential marketplace for Android. But may it really make coding for “iOS first” much less of a given for sure sorts of functions — like those who complement the productiveness atmosphere enabled by a Windows PC, maybe?

In the near-term, extra customers might start to sideload the Amazon Appstore app on their Android gadgets for his or her paid app installs with a view to achieve entry to the cross-platform assist a Google Play model wouldn’t essentially present.

Microsoft famous throughout the occasion that it’s partnering with Intel to make use of its Intel Bridge expertise to make this Appstore integration attainable on x86 techniques. However, the Intel-powered apps will also run on AMD and Arm processors, The Verge famous, although the technical particulars of how that may work weren’t instantly obtainable.

Microsoft throughout the occasion demonstrated how the app integration would work by displaying off TikTook operating in a vertical format on the brand new Windows OS. This might not have been the perfect instance, as TikTook has a reasonably usable web site for watching movies. Meanwhile, the picture of the Amazon Appstore within the Windows Store confirmed different apps together with these from Ring, Uber, Yahoo, Khan Academy, Kindle, Game of War: Fire Age, My Talking Tom Friends, and extra, which signifies it is a complete rollout.

Ahead of this information, Amazon announced it could quickly decrease its lower on app developer revenues from 30% to twenty%, as a part of a brand new program for small companies. The program, which additionally consists of promotional credit for AWS, may assist increase developer assist for the Appstore. Plus, on the larger Windows Store, non-game builders can hold 100% of their income in the event that they use their very own fee platforms for in-app purchases. Apps and video games utilizing Microsoft’s fee platform cut up income with the corporate at 85%/15% and 88%/12%, respectively. This form of fee construction mixed with the introduction of Android apps makes the Windows Store appear extra developer-friendly than Apple’s App Store, which Microsoft possible hopes will hold it out of antitrust crosshairs.

Apple launches Search Ads in China

Apple this week brought its search advertising business to China 5 years after its U.S. debut. The system permits builders to bid on an promoting slot primarily based on key phrases customers seek for within the App Store. Though the transfer opens up a serious new marketplace for app builders, the system in China is pretty advanced and comes with a number of caveats. Developers might want to add paperwork, together with enterprise licenses and different information, that verify their account has been authorised earlier than having the ability to run advertisements. Apple might then submit these paperwork to third-party databases and authorities entities for validation.

According to Apple’s guidelines, the industry-specific licenses required exclude most overseas companies from immediately promoting in mainland China. Instead, they’ll have to work with native companions who will run advertisements on their behalf.

The growth for now solely consists of the Search Ads within the App Store and never the newly added Search Tab ads, the place builders can bid on a slot immediately on the Search tab within the App Store itself.

Platforms: Apple

Apple launched iOS 15 beta 2 and iPadOS 15 beta 2 for app builders. New features include assist for SharePlay, up to date Memoji outfits, a brand new Maps icon, a welcome display screen within the up to date Weather app, entry to launch Quick Note with a swipe from bottom-right on iPad, Shortcuts enhancements, bug fixes for iCloud Private Relay, and extra. WatchOS 8 beta 2 was also released.

The iOS 15 beta code additionally revealed Apple is working on a feature that may permit customers to replace to a beta launch when restoring a tool from backup as an alternative of being instructed which you can’t use backups of newer iOS variations.

iOS and iPad apps will now have the ability to request privileged entry to extra RAM in iOS 15, exceeding regular system reminiscence limits, 9to5Mac also discovered.

✨ Apple this week printed a white paper (PDF) the place it presents its argument against any laws that will power the corporate to permit sideloading of apps on iOS or iPadOS gadgets exterior its App Store. While there are shopper advantages to permitting for alternative — like getting your palms on apps that don’t match Apple’s guidelines, for instance — Apple makes the case that sideloading may compromise consumer privateness and safety in a lot of methods, together with probably opening up customers to being scammed and making it tougher for fogeys to lock down children’ iPhones, amongst different issues. Pirated apps may additionally eat into reliable developer income, to not point out Apple’s personal. Apple’s Director of User Privacy Erik Neuenschwander went into additional element with Fast Company about Apple’s place, noting attackers may even trick customers into considering they had been downloading from the App Store once they weren’t.

Platforms: Google

Google’s Android Essentials is now generally available by means of further companions within the U.S., the U.Ok, Japan, France and Germany, with extra international locations coming quickly after a extra restricted testing interval. Essentials makes it simpler for corporations to handle and safe Android gadgets within the office by enabling options like distant wiping of misplaced or stolen gadgets, imposing a display screen lock, and stopping sideloading of functions.

Google opened its Play Media Experience Program globally. The program permits builders to put money into scaling their providers past cellular to achieve different gadgets together with experiences throughout Video (Android TV, Google TV, Google Cast); Audio (Wear OS, Android Auto, Android TV, Google Cast); and Books (tablets, foldables, integration with the brand new Entertainment Space.)


Facebook announced a trio of new commerce features this week, together with the growth of its Shops service to WhatsApp in addition to Marketplace within the U.S.; Shop Ads, together with AR try-on advertisements within the U.S., and an A.I.-based Visual Search characteristic on Instagram, the place customers can add photographs to search out related gadgets.

Augmented Reality

Apple launches an AR-enabled Snapchat Lens to advertise Apple Pay Express Transit in New York. The Lens lets customers experience the subway by means of Kings Theater in Flatbush, the Sea Glass Carousel in Battery Park, and the Great Hall on the New York City Hall of Science.

TikTook and Spotify teamed up with makeup brand MAC on a digital marketing campaign that provides an AR lens with lip colours customers can just about attempt on. The marketing campaign includes MAC’s Love Me Liquid Lipcolor and is operating within the U.Ok. throughout each apps.


TikTook launched its personal mini-app integrations. With its new Jump feature, creators can add interactive third-party integrations to their movies from providers like Whisk, Quizlet, Breathwrk, StatMuse, Tabelog, BuzzFeed, Jumprope, IRL and WATCHA.

Instagram mentioned it’s testing a new feature in English-speaking markets that may combine Suggested Posts into your Feed. The firm will use its algorithmic ideas to assist level folks to accounts they could need to comply with, with an obvious objective of accelerating time spent within the app.

Twitter announced a brand new characteristic will make it attainable to share tweets on to Instagram Stories. To use the characteristic, which is just on iOS for now, you’ll faucet the share icon on a tweet and choose “Instagram Stories.” When the Instagram app opens, you possibly can resize or reposition the tweet sticker earlier than posting.

Snap made a deal with Universal Music Group. The deal permits Snapchat customers so as to add tune clips from the UMG catalog to their Snaps and on Spotlight, Snap’s TikTook rival.

Twitter has opened up applications for U.S. customers who need to check its Ticketed Spaces and Super Follows options. The firm mentioned solely a “small group” will have the ability to check the options in the interim. Super Follows lets creators cost $2.99, $4.99, or $9.99 per thirty days for unique content material. Ticketed Spaces lets creators cost between $1-$999 for entry to reside audio rooms.


Newly relaunched cellular app Squad debuted an audio-based mobile messenger that permits pals to ship voice messages to at least one one other that expire after 14 hours.


After a handful of opponents took on Tinder with video-based courting, Tinder this week introduced a characteristic that permits daters to add as much as 9 movies to their profiles. It additionally added a speed-dating characteristic referred to as “Hot Takes” that lets unmatched customers chat for a brief interval earlier than swiping left or proper, from 6 pm to midnight on weekdays.

Streaming & Entertainment

YouTube for iOS is formally gaining support for picture-in-picture within the U.S. The characteristic will permit all customers, each free and paid, to observe YouTube whereas utilizing different apps on their iPhone.

Clubhouse was noticed working on DM text chat feature referred to as Backchannel that will permit customers a brand new technique to join.

Kuaishou, the operator of China’s second-largest short-form video app behind TikTook (Douyin in China), reaches 1 billion monthly active users. The firm says the MAU determine consists of all of its present platforms in China, plus its Kwai and Snack Video apps in worldwide markets.

Wattpad and WEBTOON merged their studio divisions to create Wattpad WEBTOON Studios. The deal follows South Korea-based Naver’s current acquisition of Wattpad in a transaction estimated to be greater than USD$600 million, which aligns the 2 storytelling and leisure divisions. Both will profit from the corporate’s data-driven strategy to sourcing content material from storytelling apps to show into TV exhibits, motion pictures and books.


New titles came to Google Stadia, together with Madden NFL 2022 — the primary sports activities title to launch on a cloud gaming platform. Google Stadia’s Android TV app additionally launched on the Play Store with a “Coming Soon” message.

Player spending in U.S. cellular sports activities video games rose 16% year-over-year to $648.8 million, based on Sensor Tower data. The high app by participant spending within the U.S. between June 1, 2020 and May 31, 2021 was Golf Clash from Playdemic, which generated $132.8 million. The No. 2 and No. 3 grossing Sports titles had been 8 Ball Pool from Miniclip and Fishing Clash from Ten Square Games.

More than half of the $175 billion earned by the video games {industry} this yr will come from mobile games, per Newzoo and Arm’s annual report. Mobile video games will likely be more and more high-fidelity and cross-platform, the report mentioned.

Classic cellular sport Jetpack Joyride is also being added to Apple Arcade, following a current announcement that extra basic video games could be quickly added to the subscription gaming service.

Health & Fitness

Google and the state of Massachusetts received busted by silently installing the state’s COVID-tracking service, MassNotify, on customers’ gadgets with out consent. The auto-installed model isn’t an app and as an alternative is just obtainable as a setting customers may allow or disable.

Government & Policy

Indian microblogging app Koo is selling itself as a partisan Twitter different in Nigeria by supporting authorities restrictions on social media platforms.

A French courtroom has set a date within the case over allegedly abusive App Store developer contracts introduced by the finance ministry against Apple. The listening to will happen Sept 17, 2021, and will affect Apple’s choice to alter developer phrases and agreements.

Google might quickly face antitrust claims over its Play Store from a number of U.S. states, Reuters reported. A bunch of state attorneys common might file a lawsuit against Google as early as subsequent week, the report claims, citing sources. The investigation is being led by Utah, Tennessee, North Carolina and New York.

Security & Privacy

Enterprise clients utilizing Jamf to handle Macs gained access to a new Jamf Unlock app for iPhone, which permits customers to unlock their Macs utilizing Face ID on their iPhone.

💰 MAJORITY raised $19 million in seed funding for its cellular banking service for migrants. The app affords a $5 per thirty days subscription that provides an FDIC-insured checking account, debit card, cellular credit score, and at-cost worldwide calls. The spherical was led by Valar Ventures, with participation from Avid Ventures, Heartcore Capital and a number of other Nordic fintech founders.

💰 Mobile commerce startup Via raised $15 million in Series A funding for its suite of cellular advertising and marketing instruments for e-commerce apps. The spherical was led by led by Footwork, the brand new enterprise agency co-founded by former Stitch Fix COO Mike Smith and former Shasta Ventures investor Nikhil Basu Trivedi. The startup has generated $51 million in gross sales since May 2020.

💰 Viva Republica, the maker of Korean monetary tremendous app Toss, raised $410 million at a $7.4 billion valuation. The app affords commonplace neobanking options, in addition to P2P funds, cash transfers, loans and extra.

💰 Sporttrade raised $36 million for its sports activities betting and inventory buying and selling combo service, which is about to launch its app in New Jersey later this yr. Investors included former heads of Nasdaq and MGM Resorts.

🤝 EA is acquiring Warner Bros. Games’ Playdemic cellular video games studio for $1.4 billion in cash. Playdemic is greatest identified for “Golf Clash,” a high cellular sport within the U.S. and U.Ok. with over 80 million installs up to now.

💰 Charlotte, N.C.-based cellular funds platform Payzer raised $19.5 million based on an SEC submitting. The firm affords an end-to-end administration platform for contractors on a subscription foundation.

💰 Happs raised $4.7 million in post-seed funding for its multicast livestream platform aimed on the creator financial system. Users can broadcast reside to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Twitch concurrently through the app, and consider reside feedback from all supported social media websites.

🤝 Amazon’s AWS is acquiring  the safe messaging app Wickr, which has been offering providers to authorities and navy teams and enterprises. Wickr had raised slightly below $60 million in funding, per Pitchbook knowledge.


Image from iOS 14

Image Credits: Brave

Alternative browser Brave this week introduced its personal search service, Brave Search, now obtainable in beta throughout all platforms — together with net, Android and iOS. The service is totally different from different engines like google as a result of it doesn’t observe or profile customers, and it leverages its personal search index for answering queries as an alternative of relying on different suppliers. Its rating algorithms will likely be community-curated and open. Soon, it should additionally supply choices for each an ad-free paid search and an ad-supported search possibility, permitting customers to resolve how they need to proceed.

Brave Search was introduced in March when Brave acquired Tailcat. The firm says the brand new service will later this yr change into the default within the Brave browser.



Image Credits: Moonbeam

Kayak’s co-founder Paul English this week officially launched Moonbeam, a podcast discovery app that leverages a mixture of machine studying and human curation to create a newsfeed-style stream of audio content material, similar to Podz. Podcasters may also choose clips of their exhibits to characteristic on the app. Plus, the app permits followers to tip creators immediately — and Moonbeam doesn’t take a lower. The app learns what kind of podcasts chances are you’ll like primarily based on the way you work together with these it options, so your suggestions enhance over time. Moonbeam may also function your podcast participant, providing the flexibility to play again full episodes.

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