Are Apps the new magazines? Bloomberg’s doubling down on apps

Forget the mobile web or social platforms: Bloomberg Media’s betting its mobile future on apps.

Starting with its redesigned flagship mobile app, Bloomberg plans to launch several new apps in the coming year with a focus on delivering personalized content to users in a more seamless and controllable fashion than what’s currently available on the mobile web and inside social platforms.

“Apps are the new magazines and newspapers,” said Scott Havens, global head of digital for Bloomberg Media. “I know if I have brand affinity [for a publisher], it’s because I get what I need and I find it a useful part of my daily media diet — that’s the underlying philosophy for the app.”

Six months in the making, the new Bloomberg app has a completely overhauled interface. It replaces the previous app’s pared-down, black-and-white design with more color and imagery. And instead of a “hamburger”-based navigation menu, the new app comes with tabs on the bottom of the screen — similar to the current Facebook app. (This is intentional as Havens said the previous setup wasn’t working that well. “Who better to copy than the biggest platform in the world?” he said.)

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New Bloomberg app.
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Old Bloomberg app.

There are also practical reasons for the new design. The previous version of the app did not do a good job of highlighting Bloomberg’s media and markets content — the new one does. For instance, the media tab curates Bloomberg’s library of on-demand videos, radio streams, podcasts and even its TV channel. On the home tab, Bloomberg also posts markets data as banners at the top of the screen, which users can click on to quickly access the markets page.

The company hopes to double or triple the audience in the coming year. One way the publisher plans to do it is by introducing so-called day-parted content. Within the main tab, users will now get a personalized stream of three to five relevant stories depending on what time of day it is — morning, afternoon or evening — and where they’re accessing the app (users in Europe will get the afternoon diet while U.S. users get the morning feed).

The app was built by Bloomberg’s 20-person mobile apps team, which includes four full-time mobile editors. This group will also work on a new video app that will “rethink” how on-demand video and live video can function in streaming environments, Havens said.

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Google launches cloud based App Maker

Google has announced the launch of App Maker, the newest entry in the low-code, drag-and-drop app building market. Like its competitors from Microsoft and numerous startups, App Maker promises to make it easy for anybody to quickly develop basic apps that serve a very specific purpose inside an organization.

The new service features a cloud-based drag-and-drop development environment that lets you build the user interface and populate it with data from your G Suite applications, Google Maps, Contacts and Groups and virtually any service that offers an API. These applications then run on the same infrastructure on which Google’s own G Suite apps run, and IT admins can also manage them in exactly the same way as Gmail, Drive and other G Suite applications.
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The typical use case for these kind of apps are time-tracking solutions, or tracking orders and inventory — essentially any problem inside a company that can be easily digitized and solved by a very basic custom app.

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2017 Top mobile app development trends to watch out for

The booming rise in smartphone numbers all over the world has also led to a surge in the number of apps that people use on them. Google Play houses 2.2 million while the Apple App Store has a mammoth 2 million apps – and this number will not slowdown any time soon.

• A comScore report says that mobile users surpassed desktop users way back in 2014

• Gartner predicts that more than 268 billion downloads will generate $77 billion worth of revenue in 2017

Cloud-based apps and services have gathered increased importance over 2016 and here are some of the key mobile app development trends to look out for in 2017.

1 # Location-Based Services (LBS) to continue its rise

2 # Integration of Augmented Reality (AR) into utility apps

3 # Android Instant Apps to become a common trend

4 # Embedded AI within apps to become a norm

5 # IoT app integrations to continue unchallenged

6 # Application security to be more important than ever before

(Read full article authored by Jayavardhan BN, CEO & Co-founder, Hashtaag)

Orange Money app debuts in France

Image result for Orange Money appOrange made available an Android app in the Play store that enables money transfer between French users and those in three African countries.

The operator announced Orange Money France back in June and said an app would be coming “soon”.

The app enables users in France to transfer funds to Ivory Coast, Mali and Senegal, as well as within mainland France. France’s leading operator will target Orange Money at French users with friends and family in Africa.

The Orange Money Service is available in countries across Africa and the Middle East where Orange is present.

Users do not need a bank account to use Orange Money in France, but they must have a mobile plan and register at a point of sale offering Orange Money with an ID card and proof of address. It is free to open an account.