App & Mobile News in June! Nintendo, NASA, Tik Tok & More!

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We are back again with our monthly news roundup – this time we will tell you about the latest updates in the world of mobile apps that happened during June 2020.

Let us get on with it…

Nintendo to Retreat From the Mobile Gaming Arena

According to a Bloomberg report, Nintendo Co. has decided to retreat from the mobile gaming industry, citing difficult market conditions due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Two years ago, the company’s president, Shuntaro Furukawa mentioned about the mobile games growth potential and that Nintendo would release 2-3 mobile titles per year. However, in May this year, he took a stance quite contrary to his initial hopes when he mentioned that the company was not looking forward to releasing new gaming apps or versions.

Nintendo has never been a fan of the smartphone gaming industry anyway. Apart from the low revenues, the company believed that there were far too many limitations on mobile platforms. According to the company, they have excelled when they have designed games intended to be played with Nintendo controllers. The touchscreen-only interface of the phone was something that always acted as a major hindrance for them.

Apple Says Farewell to Intel

This was undoubtedly one of the biggest news that came from the virtually hosted 2020 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). 

Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, emphasized on the importance of this major transition by saying, “Today is a truly historic day for the Mac”. He further added “Now it’s time for a huge leap forward for the Mac, because today is the day we’re announcing that the Mac is transitioning to our own Apple silicon.”

This significant move further strengthens Apple’s determination to be in control of every element that it sells to its consumers – from hardware components to operating systems. Whether it is a Mac, iPad, iPhones or the Apple Watches, this tech giant has always believed in owning all the ‘ends’ of a device and that is exactly what they plan to achieve with this move.

Russia Lifts Ban on Telegram

After failing to ban the app in the country, Russia lifted its ban on the Telegram messenger app after more than two years.

It has been reported that Roskomnadzor, the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media in Russia, went ahead with this decision because it had reached an agreement with Pavel Durov, the app’s Russian-based founder, for cooperation in fighting terrorism via using the app.

Previously, Durov and the Russian government were not on the same page regarding user privacy related concerns, as Roskomnadzor wanted Telegram to share information and to be added in its government list of information distributors. When Durov did not agree to this, the app was officially banned in April 2018. 

Despite implementing the ban and blocking IP addresses, the government was unable to stop the messaging service to operate in Russia. 

 

UK Opts for Apple-Google Model for Virus-Tracing App

UK recently announced that it was getting rid of its current COVID-19 tracing app and will opt for a model provided by Apple and Google.

Even though the UK intends to launch its own app in near future, it will have certain limitations and initially it can only be used for reporting symptoms and ordering a test.

Baroness Dido Harding, the chairwoman of NHS Improvement and who currently leads the wider Test and Trace programme, hasn’t given the approval yet. Once she judges it to be fit to meet the desired goals, only then this would go ahead.

Verizon Pulls out of Facebook Advertising Due to George Floyd Case

Following in the footsteps of many other firms who boycotted Facebook for its handling of hate speech ever since the George Floyd incident took place, US telecoms operator Verizon decided to halt advertising using Facebook platforms.

Being the biggest advertiser to support the ‘Stop Hate for Profit’ campaign, a company’s representative said, “Our brand safety standards have not changed. We are pausing our advertising until Facebook can create an acceptable solution that makes us comfortable and is consistent with what we have done with YouTube and other partners.”

Carolyn Everson, VP for Facebook’s Global Business Group responded by saying, “We respect any brand’s decision, and remain focused on the important work of removing hate speech and providing critical voting information. Our conversations with marketers and civil rights organizations are about how, together, we can be a force for good.”

Prior to this, brands such as Ben and Jerry’s, the North Face, Patagonia and REI have already backed the ‘Stop Hate for Profit’ campaign.

Google Announces it Will Now Auto-Delete Users’ Records

As per a recent announcement made by the tech giant, activity on both web and app portals that includes website searches, pages visited, location data, etc., will now be deleted after 18 months.

User’s data on YouTube that includes watched clips and the length of those clips will be deleted after 36 months.

For now, this only applies to new user accounts, however, existing user accounts will soon be prompted to review their settings. 

This move came after worldwide scrutiny of tech giants regarding user data collection and storage that is a big concern as far as user privacy is concerned.

Apple Announces Addition of Cycling Directions & EV Routing to Maps

At this year’s WWDC, Apple made another important announcement – it would be adding the cycling directions to its Maps in iOS 14.

Although this will initially be available to only those users who are residing in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Shanghai or Beijing. Apple did not mention when it would be expanding to other parts of the world.

This feature will enable users to see changes in elevation and the application will give suggestions and recommended routes to save user’s time. Their watchOS 7 will also have the cycling directions feature.

NASA to Combat COVID-19 With Wearable Device

Since the global outbreak of the coronavirus, there have been massive efforts made in the technological sphere to help authorities, governments and end users to fight and prevent further spread of the virus.

Recently, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) announced a major breakthrough in fighting COVID-19 with their JPL PULSE wearable. It is a 3D-printed wearable device that vibrates to warn an individual when he or she is about to touch his or her face.

To further curb the spread of the disease and to facilitate more and more individuals or companies to be able to develop even more enhanced versions, NASA recently announced that it would open-source the design mechanism and assembly of PULSE.

YouTube Will Challenge TikTok With 15-Second Videos

TikTok is about to face some serious competition as YouTube recently announced that it would begin to test their short video feature on mobile.

This feature will let users to record 15-second multi-segment videos – this is the same video length as offered by TikTok and also on Reels, Instagram’s new short video feature.

The mechanism is quite similar to TikTok, where a user will be able to record short video clips by holding and releasing the record button multiple times unless the total video clip length equals 15 seconds. Just like TikTok, all short video clips will be combined and uploaded as one video clip.

Zoom Founder and CEO to Speak at Disrupt 2020

World markets crashed, billions of dollars already lost and a number of small and large businesses unable to survive – the coronavirus pandemic has hit the world hard in all the imaginable ways, apart from the casualties already caused.

However, on the brighter side of things, some businesses have witnessed massive boosts in terms of revenues and product sales or usage. Zoom, the video conferencing app, is one of them. The company recorded a revenue of $328.2 million in Q1 2020, a 169% increase in comparison with Q4 2019. 

To talk about their noticeable success in recent times, the company’s founder and CEO, Eric Yuan, will speak at Disrupt 2020.

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