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The Week in Mobile: January 10-16, 2016

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Uber launches Trip Experiences API, Apple releases beta of tvOS 9.2 and iOS 9.3, Google gets serious about virtual reality 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.

Uber Launches New Trip Experiences API

Last week, Uber launched a new API, which allows developers to deliver notifications and content directly to users during their Uber ride. The Trip Experiences API grants developers access to location data and travel time estimates, so that third-party apps using the API can promote relevant information and keep users entertained while they travel. The goal is to enrich the trip experience. The new feature enables devs to offer riders location guides, playlists and reminders based on trip details. Users will have full control over the notifications they receive and Uber has restricted developers from distributing unsolicited advertising using the new API.

Apple TV Beta tvOS 9.2 Now Available

Apple released a beta of tvOS 9.2, which comes with a number of minor additions and adjustments. Many of the updates address complaints from customers frustrated with the lack of a remote app and keyboard support. The beta features new folders, a podcast app, an app switcher, keyboard support and more.

In other news, Apple is rumored to be one of several companies vying to acquire Time, Warner, Inc, which would be a valuable asset should Apple launch its own streaming service. The company would be able to leverage HBO and other major stations including CNN, HLN, TNT and TBS. Such stations would help Apple TV compete with other, more established services such as Hulu and Netflix.

Apple Brings Myriad of New Features to the iPad and iPhone with iOS 9.3

Now in beta, Apple’s iOS 9.3 comes with several new features including Touch ID protection for the Notes app, improvements to Apple News and screen lighting adjustments based on time and geolocation. Additionally, the updated OS offers a number of updates geared toward education. Apple is positioning its tablet as the ideal classroom assistant with a new Apple School app, multi-user support and screen sharing capabilities.

Google Sets the Date for Next I/O Developer Conference

Google announced that its annual I/O developer conference will be held in Mountain View, California from May 18-20. The company is expected to announce its next OS at the conference. Rumors suggest that Android N will support split screen and multi-window functionality, pressure sensitivity, battery management and more. The new OS is also expected to support a new messaging app based on Rich Communication Services. It’s also likely that Google’s work with driverless and connected cars will play a large role at the event.

Google Gets Serious About Virtual Reality

Google announced the creation of a new virtual reality division, which will be run by Clay Bavor, the company’s VP for product management. Previously, Bavor was responsible for overseeing major apps including Gmail, Drive and Docs. Now, his attention will be squarely dedicated to Google Cardboard and other VR go-to-market initiatives.

Additionally, Google’s Cardboard SDKs for Unity and Android will now allow developers to manipulate the direction of sounds in VR experiences. New support for spatial audio means developers can take the experience to a whole new level, properly delivering sound from the direction a user would expect it to come from.

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