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The Week in Mobile: March 29 – April 4, 2015

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Apple Watch design tips, the latest in app advertising and monetization, Amazon launches Dash Button 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.


New York Times Plans to Produce One-Sentence Stories for the Apple Watch

The New York Times announced plans to produce one-sentence stories for the Apple Watch starting April 24, the day the wearable hits the market. The free app, intended to serve as an extension of the New York Times iPhone app, will feature the uber-concise stories, photographs and short, bulleted summaries. Users will be able to save stories for later and sign up for breaking news alerts delivered directly to the watch. While some analysts are concerned about the quality of “snack-sized” news, others believe the app will function much like news delivered via Twitter.

Five Tips for Apple Watch Design

Evernote, the ubiquitous note-taking and collaboration tool, has already released its Apple Watch app. Evernote’s VP of mobile products, Jamie Hull, shares what her team learned during the development process:

  • Take advantage of color and iconography. With limited space for words and instructions, it’s important to convey meaning with color and icons to save space on the small screen.
  • Keep interactions brief. While Apple Watch developer guidelines recommend keeping interactions under 30 seconds, Hull’s experience suggests interactions should be even shorter. Get users in and out as fast as possible.
  • Prioritize content contextually. Tap into user context to provide them with the information they’re most likely to want. With such little space, an app must have a way to prioritize what it shows its user.
  • Prepare to make updates. Be ready to react to user feedback. It’s a new platform, which means you need to be positioned to learn and iterate quickly.
  • Don’t go overboard. Apps on the Apple Watch aren’t meant to mirror or recreate iPhone apps. They’re meant as an extension and companion to the smartphone app, so don’t overwhelm users with too many features.

Facebook Launches Collaborative Video App

Adding to the host of new social video plays, Facebook launched Riff, an app built for iOS and Android that allows users to shoot 20-second videos and collaborate with friends, attaching clips to each other’s projects. Riff is the latest addition to Facebook’s Creative Labs project, which includes Paper, Slingshot, Mentions, Rooms and Groups. Whether or not Riff catches on, Facebook is sure to learn a thing or two about what users want in this fast-evolving category – which could benefit Facebook’s broader plans to expand its video capabilities.

Google Rolls Out New Advertising Options for Android App Developers

Google is offering several new advertising options to help app developers boost installs. Now, with a single click, devs will be able to advertise their app on the Google Display Network, which reaches 2 million publisher websites. That means apps can be advertised through other apps as well as mobile websites. Developers will also be able to incorporate in-app Video App Promo Ads that show potential users what an app will look like in more detail. Google is also launching a “Conversion Optimizer” meant to help developers target “high-value” users. With mobile app ad revenue growth outpacing both PC and mobile web advertising, it will be increasingly important to understand these trends and the various monetization options.

Amazon Changing the Way We Shop with the Dash Button

Amazon takes “one-click” to an entirely new level with its most recent innovation: The Dash Button, a small Wi-Fi enabled controller that communicates with the Amazon app on the user’s smartphone. Available for 255 household products, Dash lets users order products with the push of a button. For example, a user can stick a Dash Button on their washing machine and when they’re running low on detergent, all the customer needs to do is press the button to order more. The Dash Button then places and ships the order directly to their door…the ultimate in convenience…and product lock-in.

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