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The Week in Mobile: August 9-15, 2015

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Google restructures, Android Experiments launches, Apple gears up for iOS 9 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.

Google Announces New Parent Company, Alphabet

Last week, Google announced that it will restructure around a new parent company called Alphabet. That means Google will now report to Alphabet, lead by CEO Larry Page, and a number of products and services originally housed by Google will split off into their own divisions within the new parent company. Google will maintain control over search, ads, maps, apps, YouTube and Android, while more experimental initiatives like self-driving cars, drones and fiber-optic Internet services will split away.

The division of businesses is good news for Android. Alphabet cuts ties between Android and side projects that often skew expectations internally and externally. A clear definition of where the Android ecosystem begins and ends means there will be added focus and less pressure for offshoot technologies to be incorporated into the Android platform, which should give clarity to users, investors and engineers.

Android Experiments Goes Live

In addition to the Alphabet announcement, Google launched Android Experiments, a website that showcases apps that use new and innovative technology as well as creative interactions and interfaces. All of the apps featured in the Android Experiments Gallery will be open source, which means developers can see exactly how the apps were made. So far there are about 20 experiments highlighted on the website. Developers interested in having their work featured are now able to submit apps to the site.

Hilton Will Allow Guests to Use Their Smartphone as a Room Key

Hilton announced a program that it will allow guests to use their smartphones to unlock their hotel rooms. Hilton joins other major hotel chains, including Starwood and Marriott, as it begins testing mobile check-in and mobile keycard functionality this month in select locations. Already, guests have checked in with a mobile device 5 million times. The program is expected to roll out to all loyalty members in the first quarter of 2016 at which point the Hilton app will open doors (using Bluetooth tech) for 170,000 rooms across 250 United States Hilton hotel properties.

Apple Gears up for the Coming Launch of iOS 9

Apple is gearing up for the expected September launch of iOS 9 with the release of a series of public betas, which have added new features and tweaked previously released functionalities along the way. Included in these updates is Proactive Suggestions, a new functionality that provides contextually-aware recommendations for music, email, calendar events and more. Proactive Suggestions is Apple’s take on Google Now, offering users intuitive recommendations based on habits, location and other contextual information.

Apple Announces Record Breaking App Store Growth in July

Following recent concerns regarding iPhone sales in China, Apple announced $1.7 billion in App Store billings in July, it’s largest number of transacting customers in a single month to-date. And, according to Apple, China broke records for the number of transacting App Store customers in July as well. Since the App Store launched, Apple has paid out $33 billion to developers and $8 billion in 2015 alone.

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