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The Week in Mobile: January 29 – February 4, 2017

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Apple and Facebook break earnings records, Snap files for IPO, Citi activates credit cards using device cameras 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.

iPhone 7 Sales Fuel Record Earnings

Apple announced all-time record quarterly earnings, reporting $3.36 per share, which comes in above Wall Street’s projection of $3.21. The company also exceeded revenue expectations, reporting $78.4 billion. Most importantly, iPhone 7 sales are up and the company has reclaimed its spot as the world’s top smartphone vendor. According to Apple, the company sold 78.3 million iPhones during the quarter. While this growth is a major milestone after reports of decreasing revenue for three quarters in a row, Apple believes iPhone sales may drop again as customers wait to upgrade in anticipation of the 10th anniversary iPhone release in September.

Additionally, Apple announced that the Apple Watch broke records for both units sold and revenue. However, the company still has not released any information on the exact revenue or number of units sold.

Snap Officially Files for a $3 Billion IPO

Snap, which originally launched as Snapchat five years ago, has officially filed for a $3 billion IPO on the New York Stock Exchange. Reports suggest that the IPO would value the company at over $20 billion. The news follows on Snap’s recent foray into camera offerings, with the release of Spectacles. With 158 million daily active users on the Snap app, the company hopes to become “a camera company” in which the app is just one piece of a larger puzzle.

Facebook Q4 Revenue Driven by Mobile

Facebook announced $8.81 billion in revenue for Q4, exceeding the average analyst projection of $8.51 billion. That increase in revenue was largely driven by mobile advertising, which made up approximately 84 percent of total revenue for the quarter. What’s more, Facebook has secured itself as the second largest market for mobile advertising, just behind Google. The company announced a 17 percent year-over-year increase in monthly active users, with 1.74 billion users accessing the platform daily from their smartphones.

In other Facebook news, the company is allegedly working on a new video app for devices like the Apple TV or Amazon Fire TV. The goal is to deliver video content, from quick clips to “TV-like” shows that are 10 minutes or longer. At this time, it’s unclear exactly what the app will look like or when it will be available.

Starbucks Mobile Ordering Causes In-Store Bottleneck

Starbucks baristas are struggling to balance mobile orders with in-store orders, resulting in longer wait times at the counter. The company is well aware that too much demand is starting to cause customer frustration, and says it’s committed to fixing the problem. Starbucks is adding additional baristas at high-volume locations to focus specifically on mobile orders and payments. Meanwhile, the company is testing new ways to speed up drink delivery with text notifications that tell customers when their drink is ready.

As the company strives to better support mobile and in-store demands, Starbucks continues to push forward with mobile innovation with the launch of My Starbucks Barista — a new app feature that allows customers to order and pay for drinks by voice command.

Citi Turns to Mobile to Streamline Card Activation

Citi is streamlining credit card activation with a new feature for the company’s mobile app, which allows customers to activate new credit cards by simply scanning the card with their smartphone camera. Once the card has been scanned, the account number is automatically registered and users can complete the process by providing the CVC, their date of birth and last four digits of their SSN. According to Citi’s Digital Experience Officer, Alice Milligan, the majority of customer logins take place on a mobile device, which is why the company is committed to rolling out app updates that make life easier for users.

Google Sends Hands Free Payment App to the Graveyard

Google’s Hands Free payment app for iOS and Android, which originally launched in March 2016, is shutting down for good on February 8. Hands Free was originally intended to speed up the checkout experience by allowing users to pay by simply telling a cashier that they’d like to pay with Google. Triggered by the cashier, the Hands Free app would then communicate payment information via a combination of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and location services as long as the user’s phone was in-store. While the technology worked as intended, Hands Free wasn’t as widely accepted as Google’s Android Pay. The Hands Free platform was only accepted by select McDonald’s and Papa John’s locations and a handful of other shops in South Bay, San Francisco.

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