In the shadow of TikTok, China’s apps quietly hoover up downloads

While SHEIN has its origins in China it is one of the biggest shopping apps in the United States, SHAREit has been banned in India despite being massively popular elsewhere, and Likee is chasing TikTok — but desperate to avoid a similar fate.

China’s app makers are having to be agile in a world where key markets have turned hostile to their country’s tech. 

They are either going under the radar in territories where the war over privacy, security and geopolitics rages — or are moving to friendlier markets to win millions of downloads.

Experts say that could signal an unstoppable rise for China’s smart and responsive tech, depending on the long-term damage that security and diplomatic squabbles may bring to the Made in China brand.

For now, the strategies of Chinese-owned platforms — quick reflexes to their customer base and aggressive social media marketing — are winning fans in

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Commentary: COVID-19 contact tracing apps: Choose the technology wisely

There has been significant interest in leveraging smartphone apps for contact tracing, a public health strategy that involves tracking people who are COVID-19 positive to identify disease hot spots. Traditionally this is done by workers on foot and over the telephone, and we know this labor-intensive method works — it has helped in the elimination of smallpox and in curbing the spread of sexually transmitted infections. However, the efficacy of the app-boosted method is still unknown.

Unfortunately, pressure to ease lockdowns has led to a mad dash to develop and use such apps for COVID-19, resulting in a wildly different array of options. As public health departments are pushed to follow suit, we must be careful about which technologies we adopt.

Several dozen states and companies have already started developing and using digital tools. In the spring, Utah released an app, called Healthy Together, which was built by a social

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Smartphone apps processor revenue surges in quarter two

The global smartphone applications processor (AP) market once again defied the COVID-19 pandemic and grew 20% in revenue terms to $5.8 billion in quarter two (Q2) of 2020, according to Strategy Analytics’ Handset Component Technologies (HCT) service report.

The research group says that Qualcomm, HiSilicon, Apple, MediaTek, and Samsung LSI captured the top-five revenue share spots in the global smartphone applications processor (AP) market in the quarter. Qualcomm maintained its lead of the smartphone AP market with a 32% revenue share, followed by HiSilicon with 22% and Apple with 19%.

Strategy Analytics estimates that smartphone AP shipments declined 16 percent year-on-year in Q2 2020, driven by COVID-19-led weakness. However, increased mix of higher-priced 5G APs more than offset this weakness and helped the AP market to register 20 percent year-on-year revenue growth.

Smartphone APs with on-device artificial intelligence (AI) registered strong growth even as the total market declined and accounted

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Spotify threatening developers over apps that transfer playlists to other services

Developers who provide the ability to transfer Spotify playlists to Apple Music, or other services, are reportedly being told their access to the Spotify SDK will be revoked.

As it continues to say Apple “threatens our collective freedoms to listen, create, and connect,” Spotify has allegedly begun notifying developers that they can no longer transfer playlists to other services. SongShift reports that it has been told to cease such transfers or risk losing access to the Spotify SDK.

“The Spotify Developer Platform Team reached out and let us know we’d need to remove transferring from their service to a competing music service or have our API access revoked due to TOS [terms of service] violation,” announced SongShift in a blog post.

“While this is not the news we wanted to hear, we respect their decision,” it continued. As of the next release, SongShift v5.1.2, Spotify transfers will end. “This

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When Your Last $166 Vanishes: ‘Fast Fraud’ Surges on Payment Apps

Charee Mobley, who teaches middle school in Fort Worth, Texas, had just $166 to get herself and her 17-year-old daughter through the last two weeks of August.

But that money disappeared when Ms. Mobley, 37, ran into an issue with Square’s Cash App, an instant payments app that she was using in the coronavirus pandemic to pay her bills and do her banking.

After seeing an errant online shopping charge on her Cash App, Ms. Mobley called what she thought was a help line for it. But the line had been set up by someone who asked her to download some software, which then took control of the app and drained her account.

“I didn’t have gas money and I couldn’t pay my daughter’s senior dues,” Ms. Mobley said. “We basically just had to stick it out until I got paid the following week.”

In the pandemic, people have flocked

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Venture Funders Flock to Religious Apps as Churches Go Online

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Covid-19 has upended the traditional Sunday service, taking sermons from the pulpit to the screen. It’s sparking a long overdue digital awakening for churches across the country and investors are taking notice.

The pandemic has given more people a reason to seek solace in God and faith-based communities at the same time that houses of worship were forced to close their doors. Pastors have resorted to streaming on YouTube or Facebook Live in a bid to keep congregations engaged. Membership in spiritual apps has surged. The top Christian meditation apps raked in 2.3 million downloads in the U.S. from March to August, up 325% from the same period a year earlier, according to mobile data and analytics company App Annie.

Traditionally secular venture capitalists have largely shied away from religion. In Silicon Valley, “no one wanted to touch religion five years ago” says Peter Pham, co-founder

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Google Assistant Now Works With Android Apps

Google announced that now it’s possible to use Google Assistant with third-party apps on Android phones. So, Android users will be able to search and control their third-party apps when they ask it to Google Assistant. Google is rolling out the ability to search apps, use voice commands for popular tasks like sending text messages, ask for the news on Twitter, or browsing your shopping cart. For example, you can now say, “Hey Google, search cozy blankets on Etsy” and get right to what you’re looking for. Or if you’re looking for something (or someone) specific within an app, just say, “Hey Google, open Selena Gomez on Snapchat.” 

Previously, Google Assistant’s third-party support was largely limited to some custom actions, mostly apps that run within Assistant. With the new functionality, Google Assistant will work directly with apps that you have installed on your phone. Now, these kinds of voice commands

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Android users urged to delete 240 apps that can bombard your smartphone with ads

From Huawei to Samsung, Android smartphones are some of the most popular handheld devices around the world.

But if you use an Android device, you may want to reassess which apps you have installed.

Experts from the White Ops Satori Threat Intelligence and Research Team have warned about 240 dangerous apps that can bombard your smartphone with fraudulent ads (scroll down for the full list).

In a blog about the findings, the researchers said: “These apps make it appear that ads are actually coming from popular applications and social media platforms including Youtube and Chrome.”

During the investigation, dubbed ‘RAINBOWMIX’, the researchers discovered that the apps had been downloaded a whopping 14 million times.

Man shocked at phone

They explained: “At first glance, RAINBOWMIX apps seem to work as advertised, although their quality likely leaves users wanting.

“They are often nothing more

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Technology and apps you need when an earthquake or fire strikes the Bay Area

Power blackouts and poorly-thought-out evacuation alert systems have left Californians without critical information during natural disasters in the past.

But there are some free apps for your phone, numbers to text, systems to register for and technology to buy that could ensure that you have the most accurate and up-to-date information when disaster strikes, even during a power blackout.

To best ensure you get critical information when you most need it, it’s best to choose a diverse range of disaster preparedness technology options in case any one particular solution fails. The Federal Emergency Management Agency also reminds people that mobile networks can become overwhelmed in a crisis, and it is often easier to receive information via text than over a phone call or on an app during those times.

All of these apps are available for iOS in the Apple App Store or Android in the Google Play store unless

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Lawsuit alleges Apple blocks cloud gaming apps to stifle Apple Arcade competition

A new class action lawsuit alleges that Apple enjoys monopoly power in the iOS mobile gaming marketplace, and exhibits anticompetitive behavior to keep it that way.

The complaint, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, claims that Apple has “unlawfully [foreclosed] competition” through “persistent, pervasive, and secretive” misconduct.

New Jersey man John Pistacchio, the plaintiff in the case, claims to be paying “supracompetitive prices” for Apple Arcade as a result of the company’s alleged anticompetitive behavior.

More specifically, the lawsuit suggests that Apple exerts monopoly power over the iOS App Store by requiring developers to follow its app guidelines and by prohibiting third-party app stores. It adds that developers and app publishers are “powerless to constrain” Apple’s conduct by refusing to publish apps on iOS.

“No developer or group of developers have sufficient power to entice enough iOs users to leave iOS, such that

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