Here are all of the posts tagged ‘Tuesday Tuneup’.
The name says it all. Facebook has launched a “Lite” version of its social networking service, targeting users in emerging markets where user growth is expected to expand at a rapid pace. According to reports, India is set to be the largest Facebook user base in the world by 2017, so this is hardly a surprising move from Facebook, really.
In sum, Facebook Lite is a stripped-down version of the regular app while retaining all the original functions of the service. It is less than 500 KB in size, and works well on 2G, 3G and 4G networks.
Local communication apps, text are preferred modes of mobile communication in Japan, South Korea
That’s according to a report by Ericsson Consumer Lab, which surveyed 100,000 individuals in Japan, South Korea, India, UK and the US. The findings reveal some interesting insights. For instance in India, users spend nearly half of their time on smartphones on communication apps. In markets like Japan and South Korea, local communication apps are more popularly used as compared to those surveyed in the UK and US markets. Japanese and South Koreans also prefer text over voice calls. According to Ericsson, 1 in 4 Japanese smartphone users do not make traditional voice calls anymore.
Taiwanese chat messaging app Pal+ secure $1.3m in funds
Taiwan chat messaging app, Pal+ has received all of $1.3 million in fresh funds to expand its growing venture. The funds came from Asiasoft, a listed game publisher in Thailand.
Pal+ is a forum-based app which invites individuals with common interests to participate in online discussions. Users get to share and discuss a wide range of topics from entertainment to animation and games, and share them with friends instantly.
Internet.org’s Asia rollout continues in Indonesia
Internet.org has proceeded to launch in Southeast Asia’s most populous nation Indonesia, even in the midst of poor reception in India. The Facebook-backed programme provides internet services to developing countries through a range of free apps and websites. Last week, a group of Indian companies withdrew their support for Internet.org, citing concerns over ‘net neutrality’. They were afraid this would come at the expense of local businesses.
WeChat may soon appear in BMW cars in China
Online messaging in your car is a close possibility, if you’re driving a BMW in China. BMW AG has revealed that it plans to introduce Tencent’s WeChat into its cars in the country. The carmaker says this is coming in response to consumer requests for the app, which currently boasts roughly half a billion active users a month. Ford Motor has also said that its in talks with Tencent to integrate WeChat into their cars.
YouTube offers offline playback for India, Indonesia and Philippines
The latest update from YouTube’s Android app allows users in India, Indonesia and Philippines to watch videos offline. The update aims to provide a buffer-free video experience for those without high-speed mobile data access. YouTube videos can be saved to users’ devices and played from an offline mode of the app without an internet connection for up to 48 hours.
Viber launched Viber games
Chat app Viber has rolled out Viber games, which allow users to play games into the app using their Viber ID. The launch lineup includes games similar to ‘Candy Crush Saga’ as well as a bubble shooter game. It seems Viber is trying to replicate the success of its counterparts, Line and WeChat, who have been successful in generating huge revenue from in-app games. It will be interesting to see how Viber’s new strategy will impact the landscape of chat apps.
BBC news available on the messaging app Line
Users can now read the BBC news using messaging app Line. According to Line, the official BBC account (@BBCnews) has over 151,000 followers from 11 countries – Australia, Spain, Germany, Italy, France, India, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and the United States. The service is currently only available in English; however, local language capabilities are expected to launch after a similar experiment with WeChat and WhatsApp proved successful in India. In response to the launch of the BBC account on the Line, Akira Morikawa, the CEO of LINE Corporation described it as “just the beginning of further expansion to the infrastructure of the global services.” With messaging apps getting involved in news distribution, we’ll soon see what kind of impact it has on traditional news media.
Kakao Corp to launch own local news services
South Korea’s top mobile messenger service provider, Kakao Corp, announced a plan to launch its own local news services. Kakao has allegedly been exploring its partnership with local news providers for the new content distribution channel, to be launched later this year. A test version will be available for all users by the end of September. Details on what type of content will be involved has not been revealed yet, but will include news stories from major media outlets, as well as other stories from social networking services. The company says the app will show selected news articles based on the users’ interests, allowing them to share the content with their social networks. Kakao’s new service is expected to challenge Naver, South Korea’s dominant portal service with nearly 80% market share. It will be interesting to see how Naver reacts to the competition with Kakao in the battle over the local news market.
Weibo adds new feature for video records and uploads
Weibo app added a new feature that allows video recording, uploading and playing directly in Weibo. Although embedded videos have been there for a while, it’s meaningful that this is the first time Weibo ever built video function directly without involving third party sites. However, the new function doesn’t seem to be a threat to existing local video sharing apps like Tencent’s Weishi and Sina’s Miaopai at the moment as it doesn’t have video editing ability. But the new feature might add more burdens on Sina for the responsibility to censor inappropriate video content.
WhatsApp might no longer be free in India
Free messaging or call apps like WhatsApp and Skype might not be free anymore in India. The issue all comes down to the conflict between Telecom companies and OTT (over-the-top) service providers. (OTT refers to text, audio or video sent over the internet.) With rising smartphone usage and data access in India, increasingly fewer people are using SMS or phone calls, which are more profitable than data plans for Telecom companies. In order for revenue to bounce back, Telecom companies have requested the Telecom Regulatory of India (TRAI) to approve a so-called ‘connectivity charge’ for free messaging and calls. But it is not clear whether this ‘connectivity charge’ will be applied to consumers in addition to data usage. However, the Internet and Mobile Association of India argues that TRAI should not be involved in this matter. It remains to be seen how the issue will pan out.
All chat apps in China to verify users with real identities
In an effort to “clean up” all instant messaging services, the Chinese government has ruled that all public account owners on any chat apps in China have to register with their true identities and get permission to publish. Although some chat apps like Weixin already has started real-name verification processes last year, this is the first time that the government has issued a formal regulation on this matter.