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The Week in Mobile: May 17 – May 23, 2015

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Apple TV and the Apple Watch expected to receive SDK updates, Google to test “buy buttons”, Fitbit likely to struggle against smartwatches 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.

Apple TV and The Apple Watch Expected to See Major SDK Updates

Sources say the Apple TV and Apple Watch will see SDK updates in the coming months that could mean big things for developers. This would be the first SDK produced for Apple TV and would give developers the ability to create apps for the device. As for the Apple Watch, it’s likely SDK updates will allow developers to create standalone apps that don’t require a complementary iPhone app to run. Additionally, the following Apple Watch updates are expected:

  • “Find My Watch” functionality will allow users to locate lost Apple Watches remotely.
  • A heartbeat tracker with the ability to notify users of an irregular heartbeat.
  • Sleep tracking and blood pressure monitoring capabilities.
  • Apple TV support of the Apple Watch, so that the watch can be used as a remote control.

Google to Test “Buy Buttons” in Mobile Search Results

Google is making strides to position itself as the next major mobile marketplace with plans to test “buy buttons”, which will be hosted inside the ads featured above normal mobile search results. Sponsored results with “buy buttons” will direct users to a purchasing page within Google where you can place orders and store credit card information for future purchases. Because Google searches are more frequently conducted on mobile devices than on desktops, “buy buttons” will only be available in mobile search results. Google Shopping already aggregates product pricing information and allows merchants to promote their stores, but the new “buy button” will allow users to make purchases without leaving Google or ever visiting a store’s site. “Buy buttons” are expected to pop up within the next few weeks.

Apple Exploring 2D/3D Display Technology

Apple is exploring new technology that could allow displays to feature both 3D and 2D images without requiring special eyewear. Gaze-tracking would allow specific images to reach viewers and would provide different images to multiple viewers at the same time. The ability to provide differing outputs to the viewer’s left and right eyes would make 3D image display without special glasses possible. This new technology, which will likely be used for iPad-like devices, could expand how developers can present images and information to their users.

Fitbit May Struggle Against Smartwatch Competition

Fitbit may dominate in the fitness band market, but consumers are starting to turn to smartwatches to track health data, according to a new report from Argus Insights. In an IPO filed by Fitbit earlier this month, the company reports holding 68 percent market share in fitness bands. However, Fitbit has less than 50 percent market share when it comes to wearables and that percentage continues to fall. It’s likely that Fitbit and other fitness band manufactures will need to expand capabilities and enter the wearable market in order to stay competitive.

Spotify Takes on Competitors with New Features

Spotify is taking on its biggest competitors with a myriad of new features including podcasts, videos, music that adapts to a user’s running pace and the ability to make smarter, more intuitive playlists based on time of day, activity and user habits. New features and recent partnerships with Starbucks and Nike represent an attempt to stay competitive with Apple and its massively stocked iTunes store, while the addition of video also positions Spotify as a competitor to the likes of Snapchat and its Discover capabilities.

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