Displaying items by tag: apps

HUAWEI’s AppGallery gains great traction in UAE

Written on Thursday, 07 May 2020 09:49

Huawei’s AppGallery, the tech giant’s official app platform and the world’s third largest app marketplace, has captured the attention of users across the UAE despite it being a relatively new player to the market.

Huawei achieved this by adopting a “glocal” strategy which combined the best attributes of globalized collaboration with those of localized business operations, hence encouraging developers to create innovative and high-quality apps that enhance the experience for users in the Emirates.

Designed for all users

HUAWEI AppGallery offers consumers in the UAE a boutique app experience with intuitive apps that integrate the best elements from around the world while adapting them to the needs of users in the UAE.

Through the dual principles of “glocal” and "Security above all else", only quality apps are selected with personalized recommendations that are based on the needs, requirements and preferences of users in the UAE. These apps aim to enrich the lives of users through locally driven content and services. This brings added convenience to consumers by removing the trial and error approach of searching through a sea of apps for the most suitable choice.

Consumers are often confronted with App platforms that are packed with a vast selection of apps. However, a lack of screening or filtering leaves many confused when searching for a particular app. This is made more complicated with the huge increase in the number of smart devices, which means developers need to account for different hardware, thereby affecting app performance.

Huawei is well placed to offer users a more integrated experience across devices due to the experience it has built up by developing a wide range of smart consumer-facing electronics products.

As a result, Huawei is uniquely positioned to directly engage with users in the UAE and address their demands with quality apps, especially in times where staying at home is still encouraged. This means dedicated apps for stylus-equipped tablets, foldable phones and the App Multiplier feature work cohesively with devices to deliver a more comfortable and interactive user experience.

HUAWEI AppGallery has been tailored to ensure that only premium services are accessible, encompassing globally distributed apps and popular local UAE content. It integrates a stringent app screening mechanism as well as an exclusive classification system that is applied on a global scale.

This approach has seen HUAWEI Video secure over 140 million monthly active users (MAUs), and in-depth collaboration with global and regional partnerships and content partners. Huawei smartphone users in the UAE are free to browse a rich pool of content, which is global in scope but local in character, to enjoy immersive entertainment at any time.

HUAWEI Music aims to enrich the lives of its listeners with the sounds they crave and has so far gathered tens of millions of tracks from leading music production companies. It is now available in over 100 countries and regions around the world, with more than 160 million MAUs.

*Note: All MAU data is as of the end of 2019.

End-to-End support for UAE and regional developers

Huawei understands the crucial role developers in the region can play in creating apps that cater to the needs of users. As such it provides app developers with localized operation support. In fact, the "Shining-Star" program committed 1 billion USD in comprehensive assistance for the less downloaded, under-monetized apps, as well as quality local apps in innovative development, app publication, application integration and lifecycle end-to-end operation along with point-to-point technical assistance.

The "Shining-Star" program is complemented by the all-new Huawei DigiX Labs initiative, where Huawei works closely with local developers to fine-tune the user experience in AppGallery. Huawei DigiX Labs are focused on innovation, testing, R&D and various services, in wide-ranging technological fields such as gaming, education, child care, financial services, quick apps, AR (Augmented Reality), VR (Virtual Reality) and AI (Artificial Intelligence).

DigiX Labs play an important role in final device commissioning, development capability testing and tool experience fine-tuning, and have so far made it to eight global cities: Dubai, Dublin, Moscow, Dusseldorf, Warsaw, Mexico City, Johannesburg and Singapore.

HUAWEI Developer Day (HDD) events provide opportunities for both Huawei and app developers to discuss industry trends, new technologies and previous cases, so that outside developers can fully leverage the shared capabilities and services of Huawei's consumer business. This in turn delivers more integrated and innovative experiences to the end user.

In 2019, 45 HDDs were held in 32 countries, with tens of thousands of developers including many from the UAE participating in-person. This resulted in 163% (yoy) more developers outside of China opting to design for the AppGallery platform. In the near future, HDD will continue to expand its footprint to cover Europe, the Middle East, South Africa, and Latin America etc., to share the unique benefits of AppGallery with interested developers around the world, and to build a seamless AI life.

HUAWEI AppGallery has quickly established itself as one of the top 3 app marketplaces globally where users can enjoy a safe finetuned experience. By supporting UAE-based developers in creating exciting apps, local users will be able to enjoy even more enhanced experiences tailored to their needs.

 

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In light of the COVID-19 pandemic which has struck the entire world, forcing it into a great global lockdown, social distancing has become key to our survival.

This has caused an enormous growth in meeting apps such as Google Hangouts and especially Zoom.

Zoom has gained a lot of traction over the past few weeks, especially in the UAE, as the government eased restrictions on various VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) platforms such as Skype for Business and Google Hangouts and made Zoom available to the public.

One of Zoom’s key features is that it could host calls with up to 100 participants which has been the go-to for consumers all over the world in times of social distancing.

While WhatsApp is one of the most prominent messaging apps in the world, it now faces fierce competition since Zoom has taken the market by storm with its unique features. Due to this, it has been speculated that WhatsApp plans to introduce a new feature which will essentially enable group calls which would exceed the current limit of 4 users per call.

A report by WABetaInfo, a fan website which tracks WhatsApp’s latest updates, revealed, “WhatsApp, probably due to the concerns for the COVID-19 and the fact that more users are using group calls, has decided to extend that limit to allow calls with more participants.”

Adding that, “All participants will have to be on the most recent WhatsApp version for iOS and Android to be able to participate in a bigger group call.”

Zoom has very quickly become a key player in the VoIP market as of late. Apple’s FaceTime can support up to 32 people in a group call whilst Facebook Messenger can support a maximum of 50 people; this places Zoom at the forefront.

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HUAWEI Video launches new streaming service in UAE

Written on Wednesday, 08 April 2020 06:33

Consumers across the UAE can now enjoy thousands of hours of some of the best Arabic and global content with the launch of the HUAWEI Video streaming service app. 

The new platform is the latest example of the growing ecosystem of features available on HUAWEI Mobile Services. HUAWEI Video can be viewed on Huawei and Honor smartphones and launches with a library of more than 10,000 hours of Arabic content, millions of videos and over 10,000 of hours of global content.

 “HUAWEI Video shall be committed to building a content ecosystem based on the global layout of the HMS, and to attracting more high-quality partners, thus providing all Huawei users with well-rounded and superb sensory experience around the world,” said Adam Xiao, Managing Director, HUAWEI Mobile Services in Middle East and Africa, HUAWEI Consumer Business Group.

The platform was developed by Huawei and has operated successfully in Mainland China since 2016. HUAWEI Video provides free and paid content that includes AVOD (Advertising Video on Demand) and SVOD (Subscription Video On-demand) giving users the option to purchase paid content with Huawei's In-App Purchases (IAP) service, and will soon have a live TV section that will host over 200 top international and regional channels.

HUAWEI Video offers an online streaming video service where users can browse, search, playback and cache online videos. Viewers can also opt into online promotions through the app.

There is a wide range of content already available from some of the region’s most famous actors. The service will initially be available on smartphones and tablets before also being accessible on Smart TV.  Users are greeted with a Home Screen that highlights recommendations as well as new content and the ‘best of’ from other channels.

Viewers can get the latest breaking news from the BBC, there is a section for trending videos with Dailymotion, thousands of hours of long-form content provided by H+ Network and other dedicated channels including: The Explorers, QelloConcerts, ToonGoggles, TVB and Mango TV.

HUAWEI Video offers a high level of customization allowing users to create an easily accessible favourite videos section. Sophisticated parental controls provide protection for younger viewers, while the ability to download content and view it offline means it can fit around your life. So, whether you are commuting or keeping the kids busy, you will always have something to watch. While watching a video, users have an extensive range of options to select their preferred playback quality and speed, change brightness or even share with others.

Meanwhile the VIP Experience provides gold color vision, ad-free and SVOD/VIP titles access. Huawei is working with well-known labels and producers to provide even more content for users such as video on demand and live TV.

Users can access this new service by simply logging into HUAWEI Video with their HUAWEI ID.

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Spotify recently made an official complaint against Apple to the European Commission, accusing it of anti-competitive behavior and their complaints have now warranted an investigation.

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Apple has announced news, gaming and TV/streaming services which will be launched later this year.

Apple has set out to build a streaming and TV service which will offer original content and programs, on-demand and ad-free.  The price of this new service is yet to be determined.

Several people have been recruited to collaborate with Apple on this project such as Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams and Jennifer Aniston.

Apple TV is expected to be launched in May and be available on all Apple devices with a new feature for Channels where users will be able to subscribe to a variety of additional streaming services such as Showtime and HBO.

The app will also be available on Amazon Fire TV as well as smart TVs from Sony, LG and Samsung.

In addition to this, Apple has also been working to increase the popularity of mobile gaming so it also plans to launch Apple Arcade. This service will require the user to subscribe to it where they would receive access to over 100 exclusive games which could be played on any Apple device whether it be online or offline.

As part of its offer, Apple emphasized that privacy was part of their new offer and mentioned that Arcade will not track what gamers play or which devices they play from.

Apple has not disclosed the expected price of this service as well but they have stated that it will be offered to more than 150 countries.

Apple also announced a news service called Apple News+ which will collect content from 300 magazines. There will also be live covers, infographics, lists of trending stories and personalised recommendations to give the users a more interactive experience.

The News+ subscription would cost $9.99 per month according to Apple, which includes family sharing.

The service was made available in the US on Monday and will be released in Canada soon before it reaches the rest of the world.

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War of words between Spotify and Apple escalates

Written on Sunday, 17 March 2019 12:53

Spotify has filed a complaint against Apple to the European Commission. Spotify claims that Apple gives itself an “unfair advantage at every turn” as it takes a 30 per cent cut of digital goods sold via iOS apps.

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US technology behemoth Google is at the centre of an investigation by Indian competition officials after it was alleged that Google may have engaged in anti-competitive practices.

Google stands accused of abusing the market dominance of its Android platform. The European Union conducted a 3-year investigation that only concluded last year.

The European Commission determined that the deemed requirements for Android device makers to use Google apps were illegal. The US tech leader was subsequently fined €4.3bn.

Reports emerging from India claim that the Competition Commission of India (CCI) began probing potential abuse of Android’s position six months ago, following a complaint filed by a group of individuals.

In addition to this, it has been further disclosed that Google executives met with Indian officials to discuss the matter in greater detail. The CCI must now make their deliberations before deciding whether the case merits a further investigation, or if it should be dismissed.

A source told Reuters, “It is on the lines of the EU case, but at a preliminary stage. The EC’s action would make it difficult for the CCI to reject further investigation without demonstrating the problem has been addressed.”

Following the decision handed down by the EC, Google announced its intentions to stop bundling preinstalled apps with its Android platform and instead charge manufacturers a fee to licence its apps, as part of a bid to avoid additional fines.

Google has been in trouble in India before.

In February 2018, the CCI imposed an INR1.36 billion ($19.3 million) fine on the company for abusing its dominance in online web search and search advertising markets.

Google appealed against the fine, stating it could cause irreparable harm and reputational loss.

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Facebook’s new app will cover news across 400 US cities

Written on Thursday, 29 November 2018 12:27

Facebook has announced it is expanding its local news alert to 400 US cities, and is testing the feature in Australia. “Today In” includes previews that link to news websites and relevant government pages about top headlines, current discussions, weather and more. A separate section within the app will allow users to receive local updates.

A decline in the number of local news organizations is said to have inspired Facebook’s “Today In” section. It is understood the social network will monitor the app in a bid to remove fake news and biased sensationalism.

"Earlier this year, we started testing Today In after we did research in which over 50 percent of people told us they wanted to see more local news and community information on Facebook -- more than any other type of content we asked about," said product manager Andrea Watson Strong in a blog post.

"The research showed that people wanted both what might be traditionally understood as local news -- breaking news or information about past events like city council meetings, crime reports and weather updates -- as well as community information that could help them make plans, like bus schedules, road closures and restaurant openings.

The app will also feature a First Responder page which could be used to inform citizens in emergencies such as floods or hurricanes. 

"People tell us it is important to receive timely, local updates in situations that directly affect them or that require them to take action, such as major road closures, blackouts or natural disasters," Strong said.

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Facebook under fire from former colleague

Written on Thursday, 29 November 2018 12:10

A former strategic partner manager at Facebook has shared a public memo about Facebook’s failings in regards to their black workforce and users. In a post to his personal profile during his last week at the company, Mark Luckie openly criticised the Californian social network, claiming they have a ‘black people problem’.

 Luckie, who is black, felt he had to resign from his position as he had ‘lost the will and the desire’ to advocate on behalf of Facebook, and felt his authenticity whilst at the company was compromised. He believes the multi-billion dollar service does not hire enough workers from ethnic minorities and carelessly removes positive content from the black community despite adhering to its terms and conditions.   

Luckie states he was one of only a small number of black people at Facebook and is cynical about his inclusion in that he was only hired as a bid for the company to appear diverse. "Facebook's disenfranchisement of black people on the platform mirrors the marginalization of its black employees," He states, “We need black employees, women, and people of colour to feel good about working at this company.”

He shared a personal account, in which a fellow colleague he would pass in the corridor would clutch at his wallet, suggesting that he felt Luckie would steal from him.  He noted that whilst the number of black and Hispanic workforce had increased from 2% to 4% from 2016, he alleges that colleagues would often remark, ‘I didn’t know black people worked at Facebook.’

Luckie also asks that Facebook must do more to provide a ‘safe haven’ for the black community, who - as one of the most engaged demographic - rely on the social media platform heavily to be heard.  He reports that positive material posted is being wrongly interpreted as ‘hate speech’ and reported; despite it not violating any of Facebook policies.  He claims Facebook is removing content and suspending accounts without properly investigating, and that underrepresented voices will be deterred from sharing content on its platform.

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UAE ride-hailing services company Careem has invested $500,000 in a start-up entity which focuses on connecting commuters with private buses in the Egyptian capital city of Cairo. Careem, which is seen as Middle East rival to global ride-hailing colossus Uber, acquired the minority stake in SWVL after weeks of negotiations. It has also been disclosed that in addition to the investment, CEO and co-founder of Careem, Magnus Olsson will also join the board of SWVL.

SWVL is only three-months old, but has already generated the interest of prospective investors after making an immediate impact in the transportation sector in Egypt. Careem, which operates in 12 countries, mainly in the Middle East will look to accelerate SWVL operations, although it declined to disclose the exact size of its minority stake in the organization.

SWVL was founded by a former Careem executive in April, and the company provides a bus transportation service which enables passengers to reserve and pay their fare through SWVL’s mobile application. The application formulates and maps the shortest journey time home based on the passenger’s location and destination by identifying the nearest bus station that travels along fixed routes.

Careem CEO expressed his desire to see the Egyptian start-up develop quickly, and he believes the best way of enabling that is by keeping the entity independent. Olsson said, “We want them to run and learn and develop at a very high pace and high agility and we believe the best way for them to do that is to stay independent.”

Careem announced last month that it had raised $500m from investors such as German car manufacturer Daimler and Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding. It said the investment would help them accelerate their expansion plans. SWVL is unlike Careem and Uber in the sense that it isn’t an on-demand service, but it has a strong foundation of over 50,000 passenger and 200 buses using the mobile application.

Chief executive of SWVL, Mostafa Kondil said its primary objective is to really improve the product and disclosed that it is targeting 300,000 monthly trips by the end of 2017. Analysts have suggested that SWVL will utilize the investment made by Careem in order to increase its workforce, develop new app features and expand into other cities beyond Cairo, and to Middle Eastern and Asian countries such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Pakistan next year.

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