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The Week in Mobile: Jan. 19-23, 2015

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Spotify updates its iOS app with press-to-play and swiping functionalities, how to drive downloads and engagement, and more

Each week we round up the top news stories, think pieces and other content that centers on the fast-paced, quickly changing world of mobile technology. We tell you which companies are employing clever mobile strategies, illuminate new ways of thinking about mobile and offer a peek at meaningful trends in the industry. This content is designed to inspire you and your company to take advantage of the many benefits mobile can offer.

Spotify Updates iOS App with Press-To-Play and Swiping Functionalities
In an attempt to make discovering and listening to music on mobile devices easier, Spotify is updating its iOS app with press-to-play and swiping capabilities, two gestures popularized by highly-successful apps like Snapchat and Tinder. The update allows users to listen to a song by pressing their finger on it, save songs to their collection by swiping left and add songs to a listening queue by swiping right. The goal is to increase usage of Spotify’s mobile app, which already accounts for 52 percent of Spotify usage. The music streaming service acknowledges the difficulty they’ve had creating a mobile app that balances user experience with full functionality. But adding new mobile-friendly gestures is a step in the right direction, making it easier for users to sort through and listen to Spotify’s 30 million available tracks while on the go.

Asana Develops its First Native Android App
Last week, Asana released its first native app for Android instead of an HTML5 app. The new development follows several months of negative feedback, with users demanding a native app similar to that which is available on iOS. So, Asana delivered. And the native Android app is already receiving praise from users for its fast and intuitive interface. The company plans to make additional improvements to the design and functionality of both its iOS and Android apps within the next few months.

Microsoft Wants You to Love Windows 10
With the announcement of Microsoft Windows 10, the company also announced its desire to produce products that consumers love rather than just products that consumers need. Although Windows has 1.5 billion users, Microsoft is working to make its products a choice you’ll love rather than just a no-brainer decision made by corporate IT departments. And that means the company is changing more than just its messaging. Windows 10 allows developers to write one app that will function across Windows tablets, phones and desktops. Given the massive Windows install base, this has the potential to generate interest in the Microsoft ecosystem from thus-far uninterested mobile developers. Microsoft also announced a new product called HoloLens, a wearable that allows users to see holograms overlaid on the real world. Diving head first into better mobile development, Microsoft is doing everything it can to make you love it.

Hewlett-Packard Releases Eight New Mobile Devices Geared Toward Business
Hewlett-Packard released eight new mobile devices, including tablets and 2-in-1 devices that provide laptop-like functionality. Designed with a focus on security and management services, HP believes the devices will be highly competitive in the enterprise market, accusing other devices of being a “force fit” for business. Of course, HP will need to deliver not only security and manageability, but also value-add applications that users actually want to use, if the company wants its new products to succeed. As Neil MacDonald, a Gartner Inc. analyst who covers HP said: “At the end of the day it’s the applications. It’s not about the device.”

How to Drive App Downloads and Maintain Engagement in Today’s Mobile Landscape
The mobile marketplace is flooded with apps. And it’s only getting more crowded: 34 percent of marketers worldwide plan to launch a mobile app in 2015. That’s why Salesforce Vice President of Marketing Insights Jeffrey Rohrs says “there is no ‘build it and they will come’ in today’s mobile app landscape.” Instead, app developers need a plan to drive downloads and maintain engagement. The good news is, regardless of your brand, you can borrow a few tricks from mobile game developers. Rohrs examined the strategies of some of the most successful mobile games, which resulted in six major take-aways:

  • Mine your existing audiences – Tap into existing Facebook fans, Twitter followers, email subscribers and website visitors. This ‘friendly’ audience will fuel the first wave of downloads, so devise special incentives and encourage them to share your app socially to amplify your efforts.
  • Leverage your existing spaces – Make sure every aspect of your business is promoting your app. If you have physical locations, go beyond signs and encourage employees working directly with customers to explain app benefits.
  • Prioritize digital and social advertising – Consider a paid media strategy that drives downloads and usage. Social-media advertising allows you to target potential users by geography, behavior and interest areas so you’re more likely to find users who will not only download your app, but continue to use it long-term.
  • Get permission to communicate – Use push notifications to drive usage by interacting with users even when an app isn’t open.
  • Boost engagement with rewards – Create rewards and incentives to increase usage over time.
  • Take users on a journey – Take customers on a journey by personalizing the app experience. In doing so you’ll meet the needs of individual users and make the experience more enjoyable. For example, apps that engage with customers based on their personal preferences or location are more likely to beat out the competition.

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