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The Week in Mobile: October 11-17, 2015

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Google adds VR to Street View, Facebook adds 3D Touch, Domino’s sees a major boost from mobile 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 Adds Virtual Reality Support to its Street View App

Google announced that its Street View apps will now support the Google Cardboard headset, so users can explore locations in 360 degrees. It’s an immersive experience that’s not quite 3D, but will give users a new way to virtually navigate streets. And because Cardboard is a low-cost virtual reality headset, it’s an opportunity to bring VR to a larger audience.

Just after Google’s announcement, Facebook-owned Oculus opened up about what the Oculus Rift VR platform is capable of with a new video demoing “Toybox”. The demo shows VR users playing games and interacting with virtual objects. Similarly, Microsoft is working on a project called “Comrade”, which will allow multiple people to interact with the same virtual reality object.

Facebook Integrates 3D Touch into its Flagship Mobile App

Facebook rolled out an update to its flagship iOS app, which supports 3D Touch, the new feature introduced with the recent launch of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. Now, users accessing the Facebook app from one of Apple’s new devices will be able to utilize a number of shortcuts by making a hard press on Facebook’s app icon. The update includes shortcuts for uploading photos and videos, writing status updates and more. 3D Touch was initially available on many of Apple’s default apps, like Mail and Maps, but has slowly been rolling out to third-party apps since the devices launched in September.

Facebook is also rolling out new e-commerce capabilities. The update features a new shopping section separate from the news feed and an update for mobile ads, which will allow companies to offer a selection of products that can be purchased without leaving the Facebook app.

LinkedIn Introduces New Mobile App

Last week, LinkedIn introduced a new version of its core app, which has been code-named “Project Voyager” and is expected to go live in the coming weeks. The revamped app will feature an updated home page that boasts a seamless onboarding process, intended to weed out unwanted content based on user preferences. The app will also feature a new notification center, replacing the old “inbox” contact system. “Project Voyager” is part of a larger initiative to modify the LinkedIn brand and platform to be more relevant to the latest app usage trends.

Pepsi to Launch Line of Mobile Phones in China

Pepsi plans to take things a step further when it comes to mobility. While the company says it won’t be manufacturing its own line of devices, Pepsi is working with a licensing partner to create a line of mobile phones, which will be sold in China. That means Pepsi will be using mobile devices to build brand loyalty—similar to how the company uses apparel and other goods for marketing purposes. Leaked images suggest that these devices will feature a Pepsi logo on the back of the smartphone and will come preloaded with Pepsi branded backgrounds. The initiative points to the power and importance of mobility and marks a unique attempt by Pepsi to tap the mobile mindshare in a new way.

Domino’s UK Sales See Major Boost Thanks to Mobile

Domino’s Pizza is reporting a 21 percent increase in its latest quarterly sales in the UK, with 75 percent of orders placed online and 61 percent of those made with a mobile device. Domino’s first launched mobile ordering five years ago and since then, Chief Executive of Domino’s, David Wild, says mobile devices have transformed the market. The ease of ordering and ability to keep customers up-to-date on new menu items has been indispensable to the company, leading to increased sales and more engaged customers.

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