YouTube is busy developing a first batch of original content for its highly popular YouTube Kids platform. The YouTube Kids channel was born two years ago and has since racked up more than 30 billion in-app views. Some 8 million active viewers engage each week with its mix of DIY tutorials, language learning, scientific experiments, magic tricks and animated shows.
Total time spent in mobile apps around the world increased by over 150 billion hours over the course of 2016 to total 900 billion hours. And annual downloads reached over 90 billion, an increase of more than 13 billion across the iOS App Store and Google Play, according to App Annie metrics. And on the former, the top categories by absolute growth were finance, travel and photo and video apps, while Google Play’s leaders were productivity, tools and social (reflecting the fact that iOS is more prevalent in developed markets).
Nokia is officially back in the mainstream mobile phone business after years in the wilderness precipitated by a massively wrong call on the future of the smartphone. Nokia has cut a deal with fellow Finns HMD Global which has now kickstarted a programme to put Nokia-branded handsets back in consumers’ hands. The objectives aren’t modest as they include the aim of becoming a ‘significant player’ in the global smartphone market. Maybe the demise of Samsung in the space will prove fortuitous.
The main sources of future smartphone growth? Think India, along with other emerging markets such as Nigeria and Indonesia where adoption will be driven by ongoing declines in device costs and rising incomes. Expect several low-income countries – ie GDP/capita below $10,000 – to have smartphone take-up rates of 60–70% by 2020, similar to most advanced regions, according to the Global Mobile Trends report from GSMA Intelligence.
Kodak may be out of the film stock business but it’s looking to make a mobile play with the launch of a new smartphone. The Ektra smartphone is targeting keen photographers with its 21 megapixel fast-focus camera with DSLR functionality and 4K video capture, along with a price tag of £499. The phone features a Super 8 app so that users can create videos in the style of old-fashioned Kodak film stock.
The London Sperm Bank has launched a Tinder-style app which lets women search through sperm donor files to find that ideal reproductive mate. The individual profiles are pretty comprehensive and include the likes of physical characteristics, achievements, personality type, donor self-summaries, staff impressions and pen sketches.
Africa can now boast some 310 active tech hubs, among them 180 accelerators/incubators, and these initiatives represent a key source of locally developed mobile apps. And the top three African countries in terms of numbers of technology hubs are South Africa with 51, Kenya (26) and Nigeria (23), according to research by the GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator programme.
Cool Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is looking to enter the US handset market and plans to push its communications along social media channels to target young consumers keen on getting their hands on new technology. Xiaomi does already have a US presence selling audio earbuds and fitness bands via its online store.