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Mobile App Downloads Hit 218 Billion, Consumer Spend Reaches $143 Billion in 2020: App Annie



Market of mobile apps continued to grow in 2020 despite the coronavirus outbreak, with new app downloads growing seven percent year-over-year to 218 billion, according to a report. Consumer spending on app stores also resulted in a growth of 20 percent year-over-year. The expansion of app downloads and usage of smartphones has pushed mobile ad spend significantly. This has indeed helped app developers grow their earnings at a time when many professionals worldwide lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

Consumers spending on app stores comprising Google Play, Apple’s App Store, and third-party app stores hit $143 billion (roughly Rs. 10,45,988 crores) in 2020, mobile analytics firm App Annie said in its annual State of Mobile industry report. The spending was led by China, followed by the US and Japan.

app annie mobile report 2021 image App downloads  App Annie

App stores spend grew 20 percent year-over-year to $143 billion (roughly Rs. 10,45,988 crores) in 2020
Photo Credit: App Annie


Time spent on mobile devices also grew significantly in 2020 — owing to the COVID-19 pandemic that locked most of the world’s population at their homes. App Annie’s report mentioned that particularly in the US, time spent on mobile was eight percent more than the time spent on watching live TV. Consumers globally spent as much as 3.5 trillion hours particularly on Android phones, the firm noted.

In India, the average hours spent on mobile per day grew to 4.6 hours from 3.3 hours in 2019. Similar trends was observed in markets including China, Japan, South Korea, and the UK, among others.

The increased time spent on mobile devices wasn’t limited to a certain demographic. App Annie underlined that in the US particularly, Gen Z, Millennials, and Gen X/ Baby Boomers spent 16 percent, 18 percent, and 30 percent more time year-over-year, respectively. However, there were some differences on which apps certain demographics spent their most time.

Snapchat, Twitch, TikTok, ROBLOX, and Spotify were the most likely apps to use among Gen Z users, while Millennials preferred Discord, LinkedIn, PayPal, Pandora Music, and Amazon Music. Gen X/ Baby Boomers, on the other hand, spent their most time on Ring, Nextdoor, The Weather Channel, Kindle, and ColorNote Notepad Notes, according to the firm.

Among other apps, TikTok outcast the top social apps with up to 325 percent year-over-year growth in hours per user. That growth came irrespective of the ban in India and government criticism in markets including the US. App Annie projects that TikTok is on track to reach 1.2 billion active users in 2021.

WhatsApp, however, led the race in markets including India. Average time spent on the instant messaging app in the country grew to 21.3 hours per month from 17.2 hours in 2019.

The growth in time spent and app store downloads also helped developers earn more in 2020. App Annie mentioned in the report that 25 percent more app developers earned over $2 million (roughly Rs. 14.62 crores) per annum through app stores. Apple also recently announced its programme to cut its commission rate from 30 percent to 15 percent. That move would help 97 percent of developers who monetise through the App Store.

Mobile app market also attracted investors. Global funding to mobile technology companies from 2016 to 2020 more than doubled compared to the previous five years, App Annie reported. Investment capital poured into mobile companies also grew 27 percent year-over-year to $73 billion (roughly Rs. 5,33,939 crores) particularly in 2020.

In terms of mobile gaming, casual games dominated the market with 78 percent of total game downloads. Among Us, ROBLOX, and My Talking Tom Friends were amongst the most downloaded games. Mobile gaming market is also believed to be on track to cross the mark of $120 billion (roughly Rs. 8,77,728 crores) in consumer spend in 2021.

Alongside mobile games, finance apps saw a growth of 45 percent year-over-year worldwide outside of China in 2020. The case was, however, different in China. It was due to the new legislation in the peer-to-peer lending space, App Annie noted.

As people were mostly staying indoors in 2020, the annual report shows that 40 percent more hours streamed on mobile. YouTube saw up to six times increase in time spent per user when compared with the next closest app. It also ruled the market in average time spent per user per month, according to the report.

Business apps including Zoom and Google Meet also saw an uptick of 275 percent in the fourth quarter as people largely started working from home and embraced the concept of remote learning.

Facebook dominated the list of top apps with most monthly active users worldwide, with its native app securing the first position followed by WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram. However, TikTok emerged as the most downloaded app in 2020, followed by Facebook, WhatsApp, and Zoom.

On the gaming front, PUBG Mobile led the market in terms of having the most monthly active users. Candy Crush Saga, Ludo King, and Among Us came second, third, and fourth. However, Free Fire topped the most downloads chart, followed by Among Us, Subway Surfers, and PUBG Mobile.

Tinder emerged as the leading app with most consumer spend in the year, while in terms of mobile games, Honour of Kings beat the competition.

What will be the most exciting tech launch of 2021? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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Nokia 1.4, Nokia 6.3, and Nokia 7.3 May Launch in Late Q1 or Early Q2 This Year



Nokia 1.4, Nokia 6.3, and Nokia 7.3 could launch in Q1 or early Q2 of this year, a new report claims. All three of these Nokia phones have been in the news in the past with speculations around their release. While Nokia 1.4 is relatively new, Nokia 6.3 and Nokia 7.3 were originally expected to launch in the third quarter of 2020. It is also possible that whenever these two Nokia phones launch, they could also be named Nokia 6.4 or Nokia 7.4.

Starting with Nokia 1.4, the phone has made its way through multiple listings, as per a report by Nokiapoweruser. The report states that the phone may launch in February. Recently, specifications and pricing for Nokia 1.4 were tipped, suggesting a 6.51-inch HD+ LCD display, a quad core processor, 1GB + 16GB storage configuration, and dual-rear camera setup. The phone is expected to be priced under EUR 100 (roughly Rs. 8,800).

Nokia 6.3 and Nokia 7.3, on the other hand, have been in the news for quite a while now. The report by Nokiapoweruser states that they may launch late in the first quarter or early in the second quarter of 2021. These phones could also launch as Nokia 6.4 and Nokia 7.4.

Nokia 6.3 has been tipped in the past to come with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 SoC and a 24-megapixel shooter. Nokia 7.3 may feature a 6.5-inch full HD+ display with a hole-punch cutout and be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 690 SoC. It could come with a 48-megapixel primary sensor and a 24-megapixel selfie shooter. Nokia 6.3 and Nokia 7.3 are expected to be backed by a 4,500mAh and a 5,000mAh battery, respectively.

Originally, the two phones were expected to launch at IFA 2020 in September. Then, it was reported that they may launch in November. Even now, Nokia or brand licensee HMD Global has not shared any information on the launch date for these phones.

Is Android One holding back Nokia smartphones in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.


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Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Lite Could Be in Development, Galaxy Tab A 10.1 (2021) Leaked in Alleged CAD Renders



Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Lite could be in the works and come in Wi-Fi, LTE, and 5G variants, a new report suggests. The tablet will be part of the Galaxy Tab S7 series that includes Galaxy Tab S7 and the Galaxy Tab S7+. In a separate report, alleged CAD-based renders of the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 (2021) have been leaked and they show a similar design to the previous generation model. The specifications for both the tablets, Galaxy Tab S7 Lite and Galaxy Tab A 10.1 (2021), are unclear.

According to a report by SamMobile, Samsung is working on a Galaxy Tab S7 Lite that will be an upper mid-range tablet. It is expected to carry model numbers SM-T730, SM-T735, and SM-T736B/ SM-T736N for the Wi-Fi, LTE, and 5G variants, respectively. The report also mentions that the rumoured Galaxy Tab S7 Lite could be launched as Samsung Galaxy Tab S8e. Additionally, there could also be a Galaxy Tab S7 Lite Plus or XL variant that may have the same specifications as the Galaxy Tab S7 Lite, but with a bigger display.

A separate report by 91Mobiles shared alleged CAD renders of the rumoured Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 (2021). They hint at thick bezels around the display, a single rear camera, a 10.1-inch display as the name suggests, and bottom firing speakers. The renders also show a USB Type-C port at the bottom and a 3.5mm headphone jack at the top. The design of the Galaxy Tab A 10.1 (2021) is quite similar to the Galaxy Tab A 10.1 variant from 2019. The upcoming rumoured model may measure 245.2×149.4×7.4mm and could have a Wi-Fi and an LTE variant.

Specifications for either of the two tablets are unclear and Samsung has not shared any official information on them.

Recently, it was reported that Samsung is working on an M-series device that could be called the Galaxy M62 or the Galaxy Tab M62. It could be powered by the Exynos 9825 SoC.

What will be the most exciting tech launch of 2021? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.


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Xbox Live Gold Subscription Price Hike Plan Withdrawn by Microsoft Following Outrage From Users



Microsoft backtracked on a plan to raise the price for subscriptions to Xbox Live Gold, its paid online gaming platform, after outrage from users.

The price bump would have doubled the cost of an annual pass and bring a six-month subscription to $60 (roughly Rs. 4,400). Last year, Microsoft removed the option for a full-year subscription at that price from the online store. The cost for a monthly subscription will also stay the same.

“We messed up today and you were right to let us know,” the company said in a statement. “Connecting and playing with friends is a vital part of gaming and we failed to meet the expectations of players who count on it every day. As a result, we have decided not to change Xbox Live Gold pricing.”

The earlier move would have pushed the price of Xbox Live Gold closer to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, a more expensive subscription that also gives access to games and other perks.

Game Pass has become central to Microsoft’s strategy to attract loyalty with the recent release of the Xbox Series X console. But gamers were outraged that Microsoft announced the plan to raise the cost of a subscription so drastically, especially during the pandemic, when people have been spending more time on screens than usual and unemployment has risen. Users expressed frustration online, often comparing the subscription cost to Sony’s PlayStation Plus, which is $60 a year.

On Twitter, where the subject was one of the top trending topics on Friday, a gamer named Zay said “Xbox users gotta sell their Xbox just so they can get Xbox live gold.”

One user said Microsoft is out of touch with its community and the economic reality.

In justifying the earlier move, Microsoft said the price of Xbox Live Gold “has not changed for years and in some markets, it hasn’t changed for over 10 years.”

© 2021 Bloomberg LP

What will be the most exciting tech launch of 2021? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.


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