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The Week in Mobile: July 24-30, 2016

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Facebook hits 1 billion daily mobile users, iPhone sales decline for second quarter in a row, Google Play expands app categories 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.

Over 1 Billion Served

Facebook is a mobile force to be reckoned with. The company announced its Q2 earnings on Wednesday and revealed significant growth of its mobile presence. Most notably, Facebook has reached a new milestone, with over 1 billion users now accessing Facebook from a mobile device on a daily basis. Facebook’s mobile ad division now brings in $17 billion a year – up from zero just four years ago. In fact, overall ad revenue is driven largely by mobile with 84 percent of Q2’s ad revenue coming straight from mobile sales.

Apple Announces 1 Billion iPhones Sold as Sales Decline

Last week, Apple announced 1 billion iPhones sold. However, the announcement comes on the heels of another tough quarter for the company. For the second quarter in a row, Apple announced a decline in iPhone sales—this time reporting a 14.9 percent decrease, with 40.4 million units sold during Apple’s fiscal third quarter. That said, iPhone sales came in just above forecasts, which were projected 40.2 million. Although Apple is outpacing expectations, forecasters believe the slowdown in sales will continue into Apple’s fiscal Q4.

Meanwhile, data from IDC indicates a 55 percent decline in Apple Watch shipments, resulting in an overall decline in shipments for the smartwatch sector. In Q2 2016, 3.5 million smartwatches were shipped – a 32 percent decrease from last year’s 5.1 million.

All 2017 Ford Vehicles to Support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

Auto manufacturer Ford announced that every 2017 model will come fully equipped with Ford’s Sync 3 entertainment system, which supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. That means drivers will be able to access apps via voice command and on their car’s dashboard screen. The best part? Mobile connectivity isn’t an upsell luxury item. Every car—even base models—will be equipped with the mobile capabilities.

Google Rolls Out New App Categories

Google is rolling out new categories for its app store. Earlier this summer, Google Play added a VR category, but now Google is expanding the options further. New categories include art and design, auto and vehicles, dating, events, food and drink, house and home and parenting. The refined categories could help developers increase app discovery and make it easier for users to find what they’re looking for. Meanwhile, Google is also adding a Family Library feature to the Play Store, which allows users to share apps across devices with up to six people.

Microsoft Rolls out AI Updates for Office

Earlier this month Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, declared the company’s future is in artificial intelligence. Now, we’re starting to get a glimpse of what that actually looks like. Microsoft released several updates for Word, Outlook and Powerpoint, which improve workflow using the cloud and AI technology. Word now comes with a Researcher function, which helps you find sources and then automatically cites them in your document, and smarter spell check functionality. Outlook now offers more intelligent search and sorting capabilities. And as an add-on to Microsoft’s AI Designer and Morph feature for Powerpoint, the company is introducing Zoom, which allows users to navigate slides in a more fluid, website-like manor.

Separately, Microsoft launched an AI powered camera app for iOS, which helps users take better pictures by adjusting exposure, image color and more.

The 2016 US Presidential Election Goes Mobile

Hillary for America, a group supporting Clinton’s bid for president, launched an app, which allows users to engage with the campaign through daily challenges, quizzes, a virtual headquarters and more. The app also promises physical rewards and prizes to those that sign up for text updates or engage with the campaign on the local, state or national level.

Meanwhile, Mark Cuban’s app allows users to register to vote from the comfort of their mobile device. If you reside in one of the 23 states that allow online voter registration, this is likely the quickest and easiest way to ensure you’re registered when the election rolls around. And for those confused about the rules and regulations for registration (which vary from state to state), Google Now has you covered.

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