Android Pay gets in-app purchases, Messenger adds new services, “Now on Tap” expands, Apple and Google vie for share in India 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 Updates Payment Platforms
Last week, Google announced Android Pay will now support in-app purchases. That means developers will be able to integrate the payment platform into their apps so users can make purchases with card information stored in Android Pay. It’s a nice convenience for users that puts Android Pay on par with Apple Pay, which has supported in-app purchases since its October 2014 launch.
Additionally, Google Wallet now allows users to transfer money via text message to anyone in their contacts. Text message transfers made to those who don’t have the Google Wallet app installed will be able to access payments through a secure link.
Google Rolls out New Features for “Now on Tap”
Google is rolling out new features for the company’s contextual assistant, “Now on Tap”, which allows users to access additional information while in mobile apps. When “Now on Tap” first launched on Android’s Marshmallow, it allowed users to access information about movies, celebrities, restaurants and more without having to navigate away from in-use apps. Now, it will be able to pull flight statuses, package tracking information and news articles related to the subject being viewed. As new “Now on Tap” features continue to roll out, apps will be able to use Google’s vast search abilities for better in-app experiences.
Messenger Moves One Step Closer to Becoming a Platform
Last week, Facebook announced that users will be able to request and pay for Uber services from within the Messenger app. By integrating services like Uber into Messenger, Facebook moves one step closer to transforming its messaging app into a true platform. The goal is to keep users actively engaged in Messenger by providing services, P2P payment capabilities and mobile shopping functionality. That way, users won’t have to leave in order to perform other tasks.
It’s a move that mirrors many Chinese companies such as TenCent’s messaging app, WeChat, which allows users to make purchases and run services on top of the app. While messaging apps serving as complete platforms is nothing new in BRIC countries, Facebook has an opportunity to transform messaging for the West.
Apple and Google Position for Market Share in India
In order to compete with mobile industry leaders in India such as Samsung and Micromax, Apple has cut the cost of its iPhone 5S, which first released in India in September 2013 for $665, but will now be sold for $370. It’s a smart move, according to experts, who believe Apple will need to focus on the sale of older generations at discounted prices in order to be successful.
Meanwhile, Google plans to launch a new educational program in India, which will train two million Android developers within the next three years. The company announced that it will partner with more than 30 universities in order to increase the number of Android developers in India and potentially grow the number of Google employees based in the country.
Apps Seek to Elevate the Theater and Mall Experience
AMC Theaters is turning to mobility to solve the “popcorn pinch point” problem—the inconvenient bottleneck of waiting in line for food and drinks. The multiplex chain, with about 350 theaters across North America, is testing mobile ordering that will allow customers to order and pay for food and drinks from their smartphones and skip the line at the concession stand. Regal Entertainment is also testing mobile ordering through the Atom Tickets app.
Similarly, Westfield, which owns and operates approximately 40 shopping centers in the US and more internationally, is testing a mobile app that will help users find parking spots at Westfield locations. The company is also working on license-plate-scanning technology for more convenient ticketed parking services and a “searchable mall” feature, which would allow users to search mall stores for specific items from their smartphone. Many see improving the experience critical to competing with growing online retailers and staving off falling shopping center traffic.