The economy and the app war, the Google Messages update and Telegram’s “TV”

This Week in Apps is a weekly TechCrunch series that rounds up the latest news on mobile operating systems, mobile apps and the overall app economy. According to the latest year-end reports, the app industry will continue to grow, with record downloads and consumer spending across both iOS and Google Play stores combined in 2021. In 2021, global spending across iOS, Google Play, and third-party Android app stores in China are expected to grow 19% to $170 billion. App downloads grew 5% to $230 billion in 2021, while mobile ad spend grew 23% year over year to $295 billion.

This Week in Apps provides a one-stop way to keep up with this fast-moving industry with the latest from the app world, including news, updates, startup funding, mergers and acquisitions, and suggestions on new apps to try be able . Want this week in apps in your inbox every Saturday? Sign up here: As the Russia-Ukraine war continued this week, so did the app ecosystem. As companies withdraw from Russia, the ability for Russian consumers to transact on the app stores and in apps will be similarly impacted. This week, Google announced it would suspend Google Play’s billing system for users in Russia in the “coming days,” meaning Russian users will not be able to purchase apps and games, make subscription payments, or make other in-app purchases of digital goods with Google Play in Russia. Free apps will still be available on the Play Store, the company said.

Today’s consumers are spending more time on apps than ever before – in some cases even exceeding the time they spend watching TV. For example, the average American watches 3.1 hours of television a day, but in 2021 they spent 4.1 hours on their mobile device. And they’re not even the world’s heaviest mobile phone users. In markets like Brazil, Indonesia and South Korea, users spent more than five hours a day on mobile apps in 2021. Apps aren’t just a way to fill idle hours, either. They can grow into huge companies. In 2021, 233 apps and games generated over $100 million in consumer spending and 13 surpassed $1 billion in revenue. This was a 20% increase from 2020, when 193 apps and games surpassed $100 million in annual consumer spending and just eight apps surpassed $1 billion.

But the app platform itself doesn’t necessarily have to stop payments for Russian users to face billing and transaction issues like some Russian app store users are now doing. Because this week Visa, Mastercard and American Express announced that they would suspend operations in Russia in protest of the invasion of Ukraine. If App Store or Google Play users had saved these maps, they would have stopped working anyway. Numerous technology companies including Apple, Airbnb, Microsoft, Adobe, PayPal, Netflix, Snap and many others have also ceased sales and operations in Russia as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In addition to the humanitarian reasons for their exit, there are other costs – sanctions and complications with payments make it difficult to continue to support Russian customers.

After the update, reactions from iPhone users will be sent as emoji to text messages on Android. As with iMessage, the emoji reaction — like love, laughter, confusion, or excitement — appears on the right side of the message. (On Android, it’s the bottom right.) However, Android’s interpretation of which emoji to use is slightly different than iPhone’s. For example, the “heart” reaction on Android becomes the “heart-eyed face” emoji. And the iMessage’s exclamation mark reaction becomes the “open-mouthed face” emoji. This update will roll out first on Android devices set to English, but other languages ​​will follow.

Google fixes Apple’s messaging issues with an app update. Alongside a broader Android update, Google announced new features designed to circumvent Apple’s decision to continue supporting SMS instead of the newer and more modern standard RCS. This week, Google’s Messages app, which comes preinstalled on most Android phones, was updated to fix the long-standing problem where iMessage “tapbacks” were sent as a separate message rather than as emoji reactions became. It was an annoyance that made chats between Android and iPhone users confusing, cluttered, and way too loud.

Related to the lack of RCS support, Google has also integrated Google Photos into the Messages app to improve the video sharing experience between iOS and Android users. While people with Android devices can share high-quality videos with each other, the same videos appear blurry when shared with those on iPhone because iMessage doesn’t support RCS. By sending the link to the video via Google Photos, iPhone users can watch the video in the same high resolution. This feature will later include support for photos.

Google has been very vocal about Apple’s decision to avoid supporting RCS – largely because the introduction of RCS would allow Google to better compete with Apple’s iMessage. But Google isn’t wrong in pointing out that Apple isn’t serving its own customers very well by resorting to iMessage

Summary of the news:

  • The economy and the app war, the Google Messages update and Telegram’s “TV”
  • Check all news and articles of the latest security news updates.

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