Home / Tag Archives: sarah-perez

Tag Archives: sarah-perez

Snapchat now has cat lenses. (Yes, for your cat.)

It’s 8:00 PM on Friday night and you’re home alone and already drunk. Oh, is that just me? Well no matter. Snapchat has made lenses for your cat now. Yes, that’s right. Your cat! This is what the internet is made for, friends. Not all that fake news and trolling. Not having to read tweets where people use words like “woke” unironically. Cat lenses!  So technically, I guess, Snapchat added the ability to recognize things in your photos last November , like food, sports, and even pets, then suggest appropriate filters – like a sticker that says “IT’S A PAWTY” above a photo of a dog. But now you can put a set of matching glasses on yourself and your cat. Or give you and your cat rainbow unicorn horns. Or give Mr

Read More »

Half of all devices now run iOS 12

Half of all devices are now running the latest version of the iOS mobile operating system, iOS 12, according to figures shared by Apple. On devices introduced in the last four years, that number is as high as 53 percent. And iOS 12 adoption is taking place more quickly than the last release did, Apple also notes. As we previously reported , it took until November 6, 2017 for iOS 11 reach 52 percent of all current iPhones and iPads. iOS 12 achieved that milestone in mid-October. Apple’s new figures, available here on its Apple Developer website , also confirm a third-party report released last week, which claimed to show a similar trend. According to Mixpanel’s findings , then roughly 47.6 percent of all iOS devices were running iOS 12, while 45.6 percent were running iOS 11. The remaining devices were running an older version, it had said. Apple’s data backs this up, too, showing iOS 12 at 53 percent on all devices introduced since September 2014, followed by iOS 11 at 40 percent, then the remaining 7 percent running an earlier version of iOS. In terms of all iOS devices, Apple’s figures are: iOS 12 at 50 percent, iOS 11 at 39 percent, with 11 percent running an earlier iOS version. The adoption rates related to the new version of Android look far different, by comparison . The latest release, Android Oreo (8.0 and 8.1), runs on just 19.2 percent of devices. Nougat, Marshmallow, Lollipop, and KitKat still have large install bases as well, at 20.3 percent, 21.6 percent, 18.3 percent, and 7.8 percent, respectively.

Read More »

Half of all devices now run iOS 12

Half of all devices are now running the latest version of the iOS mobile operating system, iOS 12, according to figures shared by Apple. On devices introduced in the last four years, that number is as high as 53 percent. And iOS 12 adoption is taking place more quickly than the last release did, Apple also notes. As we previously reported , it took until November 6, 2017 for iOS 11 reach 52 percent of all current iPhones and iPads. iOS 12 achieved that milestone in mid-October. Apple’s new figures, available here on its Apple Developer website , also confirm a third-party report released last week, which claimed to show a similar trend. According to Mixpanel’s findings , then roughly 47.6 percent of all iOS devices were running iOS 12, while 45.6 percent were running iOS 11. The remaining devices were running an older version, it had said. Apple’s data backs this up, too, showing iOS 12 at 53 percent on all devices introduced since September 2014, followed by iOS 11 at 40 percent, then the remaining 7 percent running an earlier version of iOS. In terms of all iOS devices, Apple’s figures are: iOS 12 at 50 percent, iOS 11 at 39 percent, with 11 percent running an earlier iOS version. The adoption rates related to the new version of Android look far different, by comparison . The latest release, Android Oreo (8.0 and 8.1), runs on just 19.2 percent of devices. Nougat, Marshmallow, Lollipop, and KitKat still have large install bases as well, at 20.3 percent, 21.6 percent, 18.3 percent, and 7.8 percent, respectively.

Read More »

App Store generated 93% more revenue than Google Play in Q3

There’s always been a gap between how much money Apple’s App Store makes when compared with Google Play. But in the third quarter of 2018, that gap widened considerably – possibly to the widest point yet. According to a new report from Sensor Tower , the App Store earned nearly 93% more than Google Play in the quarter, the largest gap since at least 2014 – or, when Sensor Tower began tracking Google Play data. The firm says that approximately 66% of the $18.2 billion in mobile app revenue generated in Q3 2018 came from Apple’s App Store. The store made $12 billion in the quarter, up 23.3% from the $9.7 billion it made during the same period last year. Meanwhile, Google Play earned $6.2 billion in the quarter, up 21.5% from the year-ago quarter’s $5.1 billion. Based on Sensor Tower’s chart of top-grossing apps across both stores, subscriptions are continuing to aid in this revenue growth. Netflix remained the top-grossing non-game app for the third quarter in a row, bringing in an estimated $243.7 million across both platforms. Tinder and Tencent Video remained in the second and third spots, respectively. Mobile game spending also helped fuel the revenue growth, with spending up 14.9% year-over-year during the quarter to reach $13.8 billion.

Read More »

Walmart will now allow shoppers to access PayPal cash in stores

Walmart and PayPal this morning announced a partnership that will see the two collaborating on financial services and products, including new PayPal cash in and cash out services at Walmart stores, as well as the ability for PayPal Cash MasterCard customers to access their cash balance in-store at service desks, ATMs and cash registers. The PayPal cash in and cash out money services will cost customers a $3 service fee, the companies say, as will the ability to pull cash out from MasterCard while in store. The companies declined to say how that fee is being shared. Customers are also able to load cash into their PayPal balance while at Walmart, but this is not a new service as of today, we’re told. The deal marks the first time that PayPal mobile app users will be able to take cash out from their PayPal balance while in a brick-and-mortar environment, though PayPal several years ago had partnered with retailers like Home Depot for integrations at the register. In the years since, PayPal’s brick-and-mortar ambitions have died down, as Apple Pay and other tap-to-pay solutions grew to become the more popular way to pay via mobile devices at checkout. In more recent months, PayPal has chosen to form closer ties with its earlier payment rivals, including through tighten integrations with Apple’s iOS , Samsung Pay , Android Pay, and other major stakeholders like  Visa  and  MasterCard. The Walmart partnership could be seen through the same lens, as Walmart, too, had once backed its own mobile payment platform, Current C, along with Target, CVS, Best Buy, and many other large retailers. It abandoned those efforts a couple of years ago and today, just offers Walmart Pay, its own scan-to-pay payments service that connects with customers’ saved credit, debit and gift cards. With the PayPal deal, Walmart customers aren’t necessarily able to “check out” with PayPal, but they can go into the store, and get cash from PayPal – which can then be used to make purchases. “Today’s news is the first time our two companies are working together to build products for our shared customers,” said Dan Schulman, President and CEO, PayPal, in a statement. “We consider this a key collaboration for both PayPal and Walmart. We are committed to working together to make it simple and easy for people to use PayPal cash in and cash out money services at every Walmart location in the U.S.

Read More »

Dish’s AirTV box now lets you watch and record live TV, access recordings through Sling TV

Following reports that Amazon is preparing to launch a new device that would allow Fire TV owners to record live TV, Dish’s AirTV has just done the same. The company announced the launch of a “Local Channels DVR” feature for AirTV customers that lets users watch and record live TV both in and outside the home. The recorded content is made available within Dish’s Sling TV application, alongside subscribers other Cloud DVR recordings. Dish first unveiled its AirTV Player, a 4K media streamer set-top box, at CES 2017, then later began doling out digital antennas to Sling TV subscribers with the AirTV Player as part of deal for pre-paying for the company’s streaming service. This year, it expanded its hardware lineup to include a new device , just called the AirTV , which is a networked TV tuner that doesn’t connect directly to a TV, but rather streams local programming via Wi-Fi. As with Plex – and, presumably, with Amazon’s forthcoming plans – being able to record and stream from live TV is one way companies are working around cable providers, or having to make content deals in order to expand their streaming line-ups. It gives cord cutters way to watch hard-to-access programming, like local news and sports, for example. Dish’s new Local Channels DVR feature will require an external storage device in order to work, which is not included. This means it’s similar to something like Tablo’s OTA DVR  for cord cutters, which has customers attach their own USB hard drive. In AirTV’s case, the maximum supported drive size is 2 TB. The DVR also supports dual-tuner functionality, so customers can record up to two shows at once, or watch one live while recording another

Read More »

Walmart to acquire Mexico & Chile-focused grocery delivery service Cornershop for $225M

Walmart is ramping up its grocery delivery business on the international stage with today’s announcement that it has acquired the crowdsourced, on-demand delivery marketplace Cornershop for $225 million. The rapidly growing service offers on-demand delivery from supermarkets, pharmacies and specialty food retailers in Mexico and Chile, which will continue following the deal’s close, Walmart says. Founded in 2015, Cornershop last year raised $21 million in a round led by Accel, according to Crunchbase, in order to expand its service in Latin America. At the time, CEO Oskar Hjertonsson credited Instacart’s success in the U.S. as inspiring enthusiasm for grocery delivery in other international markets, as well, saying ” I think Instacart can build a profitable business in the US, as can we down here.” To date, it has raised $31.7 million, Crunchbase says. Other investors include ALLVP, Creandum, NMT Network, Jackson Square Ventures, and Endeavour Catalyst. Similar to Instacart, Cornershop works with contractors who visit the stores to shop then deliver customers’ orders. However, it also lets you order from several stores – like grocers, speciality wine or meat shops, and others – in one order. The service has been expanding its reach a fast pace, Walmart’s announcement points out. Over the past 12 months, it has seen the number of unique customers double. Cornershop’s three founders, including CEO Oskar Hjertonsson; COO Daniel Undurraga, and CTO Juan Pablo Cuevas, and their teams, will continue to run the business following Walmart’s acquisition.

Read More »

Walmart’s Jet.com relaunches site with focus on urban shoppers, same-day grocery delivery

Jet.com, the e-commerce site Walmart acquired in 2016 for $3 billion , is relaunching itself today with an upgraded look and assortment, as well as a stronger focus on serving the needs of shoppers in urban metros. The site’s updated catalog now features an assortment that’s more relevant to city shoppers’ interests across categories like grocery, home, fashion, beauty and electronics, the company says. It will also introduce 3-hour grocery delivery as a challenge to Amazon’s Prime Now. Specifically, the site will now be localized to the city where the shoppers live. This localization involves the use of localized imagery and messages on the homepage and elsewhere, as well as Jet’s decisions about what products are featured in its assortment for that region. The site will also transition from a daytime theme to a nighttime theme as the day progresses. These localization efforts begin with New York, but will roll out to other cities over time. According to Simon Belsham, President of Jet.com, the Northeast will be a priority. After NYC, it will local sites for Boston, then Philadelphia, then D.C. The site will also focus on helping shoppers more easily reorder items and will be personalized to shoppers’ own preferences, in terms of things like product recommendations and when reorder reminders appear. And it will tailor its shopping experiences for each product category in different ways

Read More »

Dropbox may be adding an e-signature feature, user survey indicates

A recent user survey sent out by Dropbox confirms the company is considering the addition of an electronic signature feature to its Dropbox Professional product, which it refers to simply as “E-Signature from Dropbox.” The point of the survey is to solicit feedback about how likely users are to use such a product, how often, and if they believe it would add value to the Dropbox experience, among other things. While a survey alone doesn’t confirm the feature is in the works, it does indicate how Dropbox is thinking about its professional product. According to the company’s description of E-Signature, the feature would offer “a simple, intuitive electronic signature experience for you and your clients” where documents could be sent to others to sign in “just a few clicks.” The clients also wouldn’t have to be Dropbox users to sign, the survey notes. And the product would offer updates on every step of the signature workflow, including notifications and alerts about the document being opened, whether the client had questions, and when the document was signed. After the signed document is returned, the user would receive the executed copy saved right in their Dropbox account for easy access, the company says. In addition to soliciting general feedback about the product, Dropbox also asked survey respondents about their usage of other e-signature brands, like Adobe e-Sign, DocuSign, HelloSign, and PandaDoc, as well as their usage other more traditional methods, like in-person signing and documents sent over mail. Given the numerous choices on the market today, it’s unclear if Dropbox will choose to move forward and launch such a product. However, if it did, the benefit of having its own E-Signature service would be its ability to be more tightly integrated into Dropbox’s overall product experience. It could also push more business users to upgrade from a basic consumer account to the Professional tier. This kind of direct integration would make sense in the context of Dropbox’s business workflows. If, for instance, a company is working on a contract workflow, being able to move to the signature phase without changing context (or to share with a user who doesn’t use Dropbox) could add tremendous value over and above simply storing the document. Companies like Dropbox have been looking for ways to move beyond pure storage to give customers the ability to collaborate and share that content, particularly without forcing them to leave the application to complete a job. This ability to do work without task switching is something that Dropbox has been working on  with Dropbox Paper . While it remains to be seen how they would implement such a solution, it might be a case where it would make more sense to partner with existing vendors or buy a smaller player than it would be build such functionality from scratch — although it’s not clear from a simple survey what their ultimate goal would be at this point.

Read More »

Twitter ends support for iOS 9 and lower

Twitter says it’s ending support for all Twitter iOS users who are running older versions of the iOS operating system. According to a message in the app’s update text in its latest App Store release this week, only those users running iOS 10 or higher will continue to have a supported mobile client. The company’s message notes this decision will allow it to streamline its app development for all clients. Typically, moving off older platforms means a company can more quickly roll out new features and take advantage of the benefits provided by newer frameworks, without worrying how to support legacy users along the way. It’s not unprecedented for social apps to make this choice, either – LinkedIn and Snapchat also only support iOS 10 or higher. Facebook, meanwhile, caters to anyone on iOS 9 or above. iOS 10 was released nearly 2 years ago, and next month, Apple device owners will gain access to the public release of iOS 12. Ditching older versions of iOS is not as risky for Twitter as ditching users on older versions of Android, because a majority of iOS users upgrade when Apple rolls out a new mobile operating system. In fact, Apple’s data indicates only 5% percent of users are still on iOS 9 or below. At Apple’s scale, that’s still millions, but translated to Twitter’s install base it’s a much lower number. During its Q2 2018 earnings, Twitter said it had 335 million monthly active users. And of course, many of those are running Twitter on Android. Presumably a very, very small percentage of users are on iOS 9 or below. Twitter must believe it’s small enough to be an acceptance loss, if it comes to that

Read More »

Twitch will livestream Pokémon TV series and movies, while viewers ‘catch’ badges

Twitch has teamed up with The Pokémon Company to allow viewers to binge watch the  Pokémon: The Series TV show and related movies on its site, and “catch” Pokémon badges along the way. While the former is one of Twitch’s many retro binge watch fests – it’s previously streamed old shows like Bob Ross, Julia Child, Mister Rogers , SNL , and most recently, Knight Rider – the interactive feature it’s debuting is something new. According to the company, Twitch will launch its own Pokémon extension to accompany the broadcast. This overlay, called “Twitch Presents: Pokémon Badge Collector,” will encourage viewers to collect Pokémon badges that appear on the screen for points, which places them on a leaderboard. This is only the second time Twitch has added an interactive element like this to one of its viewing events, and its addition could see users watching for longer periods of time, as a result. The first was a “watch and win” extension during a Doctor Who broadcast, but it was different as it focused on collecting contest entries. Twitch also notes this will be the longest viewing event it’s ever held. The binge will see 16 movies and 19 TV seasons with 932 episodes streamed across Twitch’s network, starting on August 27, 2018, and spanning until 2019. This will kick off with the first season, Pokémon: Indigo League at 10 AM PDT on the 27ths for audiences in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Latin America, and Australia. The content will air on TwitchPresents and on its companion channels in French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Brazilian Portuguese. “The Twitch community has a passion for Pokémon based on the warm embrace the series received when we celebrated the brand’s 20th anniversary, as well as the cultural milestone that was set when over a hundred thousand Twitch members played Pokémon together,” said Jane Weedon, Director of Business Development at Twitch, in a statement about the launch. The viewing event comes at a time when reports claim Twitch is going after a wider audience than just gamers. The company has been wooing creatives like vloggers, cooks, artists, and others to come to its site, instead of only broadcasting on YouTube. And it’s been airing non-esports content through marathon events like this new one with Pokémon. According to Bloomberg , TV show livestreams are one of the two fastest-growing genres on the site, the other being “IRL” (in real life) content

Read More »

Monument Valley is becoming a movie

Monument Valley , the award-winning and beautifully designed mobile puzzler from ustwo Games , is being turned into a movie, according to a report from Deadline . While the game involves a manipulating Escher-like architecture in order to guide a princess through her quest, the movie version will feature live-action characters being thrown into the game’s “mind-bending world,” the report says. Paramount Pictures and Akiva Goldsman’s Weed Road Pictures have selected Patrick Osborne to direct the movie, which the studios hope to turn into a franchise. There’s already more material for them to use, if that’s the case – Monument Valley’s sequel continued the story, this time guiding a mother and a child through the magical architecture. Osborne won an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film for “Feast,” and is now directing “Nimona” for Fox and Blue Sky, based on the popular graphic novel. That experience could serve him well for this unusual choice. “Monument Valley is a one of a kind experience, at once small in its meditative, simple gameplay, as well as enormous in its sense of history,” Osborne told Deadline, in a statement. “I’m privileged to be handed the reins to Ida’s mysterious kingdom, to play in her world of impossible architecture where seeing things differently is everything. I am thrilled to bring this unique world to theaters with the talented storytellers of Paramount and Weed Road.” Dan Gray, Head of Ustwo Games also noted the company has been waiting for the right opportunity to bring the game to the big screen. While it’s common for movie studios to option game material for their films, in this case, the choice appears to be largely based the name recognition Monument Valley offers, and the success of films with virtual worlds, as in “Ready Player One.” The game itself has been downloaded over 160 million times worldwide, giving the film version a built-in audience, and has won a number of awards from Apple and others. Still, it’s hard to contemplate how Monument Valley will make for a compelling movie – the game’s storyline is minimal, lacking in dialog, and really only uses the character as a means of moving players from one puzzle to the next. The beauty of the game is its gorgeous animations and overall design, which are combined with a mesmerizing soundtrack to make gameplay more of a meditative experience. Whatever story will be told by the movie will be largely original, then, it seems. Deadline says the studio is now looking for a screenwriter to craft that tale alongside Osborne. A release date was not announced.

Read More »

Facebook is removing over 5,000 ad targeting options to prevent discriminatory ads

Facebook announced this morning it’s making a change to how its ad targeting system works in order to tackle the misuse of its platform to discriminate and exclude audiences based on factors like ethnicity and religion. The company says it’s now removing over 5,000 ad targeting options that could have been misused to place discriminatory ads across its platform. The news comes shortly after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) filed a new complaint against Facebook that accuses it of helping landlords and home sellers violate the Fair Housing Act. It says that Facebook’s ad settings disregard the law by allowing advertisers to target certain demographics. “When Facebook uses the vast amount of personal data it collects to help advertisers to discriminate, it’s the same as slamming the door in someone’s face,” Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, Anna María Farías had said in a statement issued by the department. Facebook responded by saying this practice was prohibited in its advertising policies and that it would continue to work with HUD to address its complaints. Today, the company says that it will remove over 5,000 targeting options which have the potential for misuse. “While these options have been used in legitimate ways to reach people interested in a certain product or service, we think minimizing the risk of abuse is more important,” the company explained in a blog post. Facebook didn’t provide a list of the options being removed, but noted they related to attributes such as religion and ethnicity. It also said that it would roll out a new certification to U.S

Read More »

Google Assistant’s latest feature delivers just the ‘good news’

You’re not the only one feeling run down by the news of the day. The folks at Google apparently believe we could all use a dose of good news, at times, too. The company today announced it’s testing a new Google Assistant feature called “Tell me something good” that will allow users to hear a summary of more uplifting news stories. The stories will focus on people who are “solving problems for our communities and our world,” says Google. To activate the feature, Assistant users in the U.S. can say, “Hey Google, tell me something good” to kick off the daily briefing of happy stories. Google offers some examples of what the “good news” may include, like a story about how  Georgia State University  stopped students from slipping through the cracks; or how backyard beekeepers in East Detroit are bringing back the dwindling bee population; or how Iceland curbed teen drinking. The stories are selected and summarized by the nonpartisan nonprofit  Solutions Journalism Network , an organization that helps train journalists to better cover how people are responding to problems and how those actions can have positive results. The stories themselves, meanwhile, will be chosen from a wide range of media outlets. The feature arrives at a time when many people are feeling overwhelmed by the news, much of which is negative and troubling. Some psychologists believe this sort of exposure may have long-lasting effects on mental health, contributing to stress, anxiety, depression, and even PTSD, in some cases. The impact may be greater if the news outlets you’re exposed to emphasize the suffering and emotional components of the stories they present, according to psychologist Dr. Graham Davey, who spoke to The Huffington Post about the topic back in 2015. In addition, a more  recent survey  from the American Psychological Association found that more than half of Americans now say that the news causes them stress, and many report feeling anxiety, fatigue or experiencing sleep loss as a result. And new data from Blue Cross Blue Shield states that more than 9 million people in the U.S.

Read More »

Twitch Prime ditches ad-free viewing as one of its perks

Twitch Prime, the perks program for Amazon Prime members offering free loot, games and other benefits, is ditching one of its best features: ad-free viewing. According to an email sent out to Amazon Prime members today, ad-free viewing will no longer be included as a part of Twitch Prime for new members, beginning on September 14. However, members with existing annual subscriptions will be able to continue to enjoy ad-free viewing until their subscription comes up for renewal. Those with monthly subscriptions will have access to ad-free viewing until October 15. Twitch’s email offered a simple explanation as to why ad-free viewing was no longer going to be a part of the benefit program, saying that: “advertising is an important source of support for the creators who make Twitch possible.” The company also stressed that this change would “strengthen and expand that advertising opportunity for creators so they can get more support from their viewers for doing what they love.” In an accompanying blog post , Twitch further explained that the change will allow Twitch to remain a place where “anyone can enjoy one-of-a-kind interactive entertainment” and where creators can “build communities around the things they love and make money doing it.” In other words, creators need to make more money, and so does Twitch — especially if it ever wants to challenge YouTube. As you may expect, Twitch user reaction has been swift and negative. In the comments of Twitch’s post, users are threatening to ditch Twitch Prime altogether saying that its other features — like in-game loot, monthly channel subscriptions, exclusive badges and the like — were not the main reasons they were interested in this perks program. Twitch Prime was launched in September 2016 as a benefit for Amazon Prime members — one of the now many perks that accompany a Prime subscription, in addition to Amazon’s Prime two-day shipping. Amazon had acquired Twitch in 2014, and this was the first big move it made to integrate the two properties beyond airing some TV pilots on the service. Since Twitch Prime’s launch, Amazon has been adding features to the program — most recently, free games every month , for example. Twitch says this year it’s given away more than $1,000 worth of games and loot to members, and promises “more and better free games” and loot in the future. Although ad-free viewing across Twitch won’t be included in Twitch Prime in the future, the company did note that there will still be a way to turn off ads. If Twitch users have an Amazon Prime membership (meaning they’ll still have Twitch Prime, too), they can use their monthly subscription token on a channel that offers ad-free viewing to subscribers. In addition, users can opt for  Twitch Turbo , a separate monthly subscription program that offers ad-free viewing across all of Twitch, plus other features like additional emoticons, chat badges, priority support and more

Read More »