As we make our way through 2015 it is interesting to examine the biggest app changes that we have seen over the previous few months. For some businesses, the changes that they have implemented have resulted in a complete change of direction for their company, but how is it panning out? Have their changes been a success?
WhatsApp launches calls
We begin by looking at one of the most popular apps in the world, WhatsApp. They used to be restricted to instant messaging, but they have now taken things to a new level by launching a free calling service to their business.
This is in direct response to other apps such as Tango and Skype which have largely dominated this market and were starting to make inroads with the number of subscribers. Facebook, which owns WhatsApp after paying $19 billion for the app in 2014, clearly were not too happy with this, which resulted in the change of direction with free calls. How well it works out for them, and whether they will make money, remains to be seen.
Twitter and Periscope
So we know that Twitter has over 100 million people logging into their account every single day and they join forces with or buy up various companies on what seems like a daily basis. One such company was Periscope, which Twitter bought in February before it had even launched. This marked a change in direction for Twitter as Periscope is an app that focuses on live streaming and it does raise the possibility of some rather interesting link ups between the two over the next year.
Quizup introduces social interaction.
Quizup has been around since 2013, but it took them until early 2015 to realize that they were missing out on something pretty important. That is why they revamped their app so that it could include a greater sense of social interaction around the games. Now, you are able to find potential opponents depending on a number of factors and when you consider it has over 20 million users it is difficult to understand what took them so long to make it more social.
Flickr does a massive new roll out.
Flickr is closing in on having 100 million users, so it does seem to be a good time for them to roll out some serious changes to their app, which they did in May of this year. Perhaps the biggest update is providing support for Instagram users and this makes sense since Instagram now has 300 million monthly users, which is up from 200 million this time last year. By providing support, they are clearly trying to tap into this market although they have produced other updates including new filters and edit tools.
Full Tilt no longer relies on just poker
One major change in the mobile gaming industry was the news that Full Tilt were changing their app to include mobile casino games such as Blackjack and Roulette, rather than purely focusing on poker. It is easy to understand why they have made this change to their business as the mobile casino market was worth $21 billion in 2014 and is on course to beat it this year. Indeed, Apple has stated that spending on casino apps has increased by 55% and on Google Play they saw an increase of 105%.
Potentially, Full Tilt has seen the need to invest in this part of the industry and it could be argued that this is a clever business move on their part since they can market it to their poker players who are already impressed with the professionalism of their existing app. If we can learn anything from TNG, it’s that card games will be here for years into the future, which means Full Tilt’s evolution is a smart move.
Google Now integrates with more third party apps
April 2015 was a big month for Google Now, an app that acts as your own personal assistant. Forget about the fact that it is on the Jelly Bean 4.1 system, which accounts for over 50% of all Android users, and concentrate on the simple fact that they have now started to add a number of companies and third party apps to their system. This now means that you can link it with YouTube (no surprise since Google owns it) as well as Spotify, which in itself is a rather interesting linkup.
What is clear is that Google is branching out and connecting with companies that it feels can benefit from being linked with the search engine supergiant.
Facebook Adds video calling and payments
As more people are using instant messaging for social and business purposes, Facebook is in the unique position of owning the two most popular Instant Messenger apps that are available today. However, 2015 saw a major shift in how they plan on targeting their customer base (at least with their own branded app) with the appearance of a video calling option.
They have also added an option in their app that allows people to send payments to one another which is certainly brand new for them and unlike anything that they have done before. It remains to be seen how popular this feature is, as it is too early to tell.
Now, when you consider that they have over 200 million regular users which contribute to their 700 million total users, and when you then also take into consideration the fact that the mobile video calling market has tripled in size in the last couple of years, it does seem like a clever business move.
Companies have certainly caught on to the idea of making the most out of the app market and indeed a number of them are more than willing to change their business just to claim an even bigger share of the market. Who knows what else could happen in 2015.