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The Week in Mobile: Feb. 15-21, 2015

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5 million Apple Watches headed to market, Samsung joins the mobile payment game, tips for creating a vital app 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.

5 Million Apple Watches Headed to Market
Apple has ordered more than 5 million Apple Watches, which will hit the market in April and are intended to cover the first three months of sales. At these numbers, Apple is aiming to sell more than five times the number of Android Wear Smartwatches sold in 2014 … in a single quarter. But the first generation of Apple Watches headed to market is missing many of the advanced health-related features that were tested in development. The wearable still measures body movement, steps, and heart rate, but many of the originally targeted features, including blood pressure, heart activity and stress level monitors, have been removed. Still, Apple’s betting big on its newest gadget.

Natwest and RBS Allow Users to Access Mobile Banking with Fingerprint Login
Natwest and RBS, two big UK banks, are making mobile banking easier with the addition of fingerprint login capabilities. Users of the two mobile banking apps will be able to access their accounts via Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor. The additional feature should make banking easier for many of their customers since, together, the two banks have more than three million customers using the mobile banking apps every week, with 1.8 million of those customers using an iPhone. This the latest step in the slow demise of the dated userid/password authentication model.

Samsung Joins the Mobile Payment Game with Plans to Purchase LoopPay
Samsung just announced plans to purchase LoopPay, a mobile payment company whose technology is compatible with standard magnetic stripe-reading credit card terminals. This means LoopPay is compatible with 90 percent of point of sale machines already used in U.S. stores. That gives Samsung a payment system with more device support than Apple Pay has, right off the bat. Apple Pay is supported by approximately 220,000 stores, a relatively small number compared to the tens of millions of retailers who accept credit card payments today. Terms of the acquisition have not been released. However, it is rumored that the new technology will debut alongside the Galaxy S6.

Visa’s New App Makes Traveling with a Credit Card Safe and Easy
Visa is releasing a new app that will approve legitimate credit card transactions in situations where a fraud detection system might otherwise mistakenly lock an account. Visa’s new Mobile Location Confirmation uses your mobile phone’s location to verify whether the cardholder is near where the card is being used, an extra layer of security that removes the often annoying fraud prevention measures. Users who opt-in to the new technology will reap the benefits of location-based identity confirmation.

Make Your App Vital In Three Steps
With millions of apps available for download, how do you make your app stand out? And once a user downloads your app, how do you keep them engaged? Here’s the simple answer: create a vital experience that transcends basic functionality. There are a few ways to accomplish this:

  • “Design for Place”: Take advantage of user location data and alter experience based on place. Not only does this differentiate your app, but it also reduces friction, increases engagement and can play a positive role in monetization.
  • Use “appticipation”: This (too cute?) name refers to the ability for an app to think ahead and intuitively meet user needs before they become a pain point. In order to achieve “appticipation,” developers should use analytics to observe user behaviors, infer needs and apply findings directly (and swiftly) to the creation of new app features. You can also categorize your users in order to better meet their needs.
  • Incorporate “modes”: It’s helpful to understand that not all of your app’s features will be useful all of the time and in all locations. Instead, take advantage of the recent trend that incorporates “modes” into app functionality. This lets you use location and user information to deliver functions as needed, rather than overwhelming the user with options that may not be useful at a given moment.

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  1. matthew Johnson

    Another great article. Does appcelerator plan to support ‘wearables’ app development now or in the future?

    • Jon Bailey

      Absolutely, we plan on supporting wearables. We believe they will become a critical part of the mobile ecosystem and suspect that the Apple Watch will act as sort of a tipping point that will finally push them into the mainstream. Even outside of any product development activities, wearables are an area of excitement for a number of us. A case in point is Matt Congrove’s foray into wearables with his Appcelerator/Pebble integration you can read about here:

  2. Dinesh

    Great work done by you.These new features in mobile apps give a new edge to the users. Really well written.

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