Google’s Android platform dominates the U.K.’s smartphone landscape, powering 54 percent of the handsets in use at the end of 2012 (Kantar’s data). But what apps are U.K. Android owners spending increasing amounts of time on? Researcher Nielsen has come up with a method of measuring the fastest-growing Android apps and has just crunched the data on app usage during May to October 2012 — which it says flags up growth in mobile shopping and commerce.
The rise of mobile shopping in the U.K. was also flagged up last December in research put out by the U.K.’s telecoms regulator. Ofcom’s data suggested the U.K. leads several international markets when it comes to technology adoption and usage, indicating the market is something of a bellwether. There are also plenty of signs that mobile shopping is growing in the U.S. (Data put out by Flurry last month found time spent in retailers’ mobile apps grew more than 5x between 2011 and 2012.)
Nielsen’s new U.K. Android app usage study is based on devices used by a monthly average of 1,500+ adults who have opted to install a meter on their smartphone. The meter measures the total time an app is visible on users’ screens (the screen has to be on and the app has to be in focus, with background activity “deliberately removed,” for usage to be measured). The study excludes system apps, such as camera and native email. Nielsen’s criteria for applications to be included is a minimum reach of 4 percent and a “minimum time-spent growth” of 30 percent as of October.
Nielsen has also ranked the most popular U.K. Android apps, which features the usual suspects of Google Play, Google Search and Facebook in the top three slots (for the full top 10 of most popular apps see the bottom of this post). But its meter measure system also allows it to take the temperature of what’s blowing up in popularity. Nielsen’s take on the fasting-growing Android app data is that U.K. consumers are becoming more sophisticated in how they use their smartphones — looking for apps to help with “real world tasks” not just “fun gimmicks and games,” as its managing director for digital in Europe, David Gosen, puts it on the company’s blog.
According to Nielsen, seven of the top 15 fastest-growing “major” Android apps for usage over the May to October 2012 period were ‘commerce apps’ – by which it means apps that let users “buy digital products, general retail products, and experiences through social commerce.” Of the other eight, two were also banking apps.
The top 15 fastest-growing apps in Nielsen’s commerce category were: Amazon AppStore, Tesco (supermarket shopping), Quidco (cash-back shopping), Google Play Movies & TVs, TopCashBack (cash-back shopping), Asda (supermarket shopping) and Google Books. The two banking apps in the list were HSBC Fast Balance and Lloyds TSB Mobile Banking.
Here’s Nielsen’s full breakdown of the top 15:
Worryingly for Google, time spent on Amazon’s rival Android AppStore, the fastest growing major app in Nielsen’s list, increased 7.6x over the metered period, with the quantity of time per user spent on the app now up to 15.24 minutes per month. As you’d expect Google’s Play store remains the most popular U.K. Android app, reaching 95.5 percent of users vs. 10.7 percent reach for Amazon’s AppStore, but considering users have to go out of their way to install Amazon’s store (which is not on Google Play), its reach is significant.
Second in the fast growing list was HSBC’s banking app, which saw usage grow 6.4x over the metered period and users spend 19.80 minutes per month using it to check whether they are overdrawn or not. Third fastest was social magazine app Flipboard, which saw usage increasing 4.4 x and users spending an impressive 53.19 minutes per month using their phone to read stuff their friends have liked.
Returning to the mobile shopping theme, Nielsen said its data shows retail apps are experiencing increasing reach and engagement. It noted that supermarket apps for Tesco and Asda are the fastest-growing in their sector in the study. Tesco’s app reached 145 per cent more users and those users spent 45 per cent more time engaging with it between May and October 2012, according to Nielsen. Two cash-back service apps also made the list: Quidco and TopCashBack, growing 3.5x and 2.5x respectively.
Other fast-growing, non-commerce Android apps include: MX Player (video player), Coin Dozer (a game), and the Google+ social network — which Google has been integrating heavily with its other services in order to try to drive usage. If Nielsen’s data is anything to go by Google’s press-gang tactic appears to be yielding some results, with usage of the Google+ app up 2.7 x and time spent per user standing at 19.38 minutes per month (still light years behind Facebook mobile usage levels, of course). Google+’s U.K. reach was 17.5 per cent vs 71.9 per cent reach for Facebook, according to Nielsen’s data.
Facebook-owned photo-sharing app Instagram, which only landed on Android in April last year, also made the fast-growing list — increasing by 2.1 x over the metered period, and achieving a reach of 13.9 per cent. Instagram users spent a very impressive average of 78.76 minutes per month using the app to look at their buddies photos and presumably also create and upload their own.
Turning to the U.K.’s top 10 most-popular Android apps by reach, the list is, as you’d expect, dominated by Google services which come bundled with (most) Android handsets sold in the U.K. — namely Google Play, Search, Maps, Calendar, Gmail and YouTube.
In the third-party/non-native app category Facebook takes the prize, grabbing third place in the popularity stakes, while eBay Mobile (more mobile shopping!) is in ninth place, and the WhatsApp Messenger app takes 10th place. WhatsApp’s reach is around a third (32.9 per cent) of the U.K. Android users, according to Nielsen’s data.
Here’s Nielsen’s full top 10 most popular U.K. Android apps:
Created by Canadian development firm Yafoy, Timehub is a service which lets programmers generate invoices from their GitHub repositories. Yes, developers can now track the time they spend on projects without ever leaving GitHub.
Yafoy details that Timehub is targeted towards “freelancers who need to submit time-based invoices and who spend their time on GitHub.” Given that GitHub passed 3 million users last month, there’s clearly a large potential user base.
To get started, you’ll need to sign in with your GitHub account — that way Timehub can load in your repositories and commits. Then, annotate your commits with the time you spent coding, select which commits to include and generate your invoice (you can send it via email or download it as a PDF).
By tracking the time spent on each commit, developers end up with an easy way to monitor and summarize their work. Timehub also touts itself as a way for developers (aka usually non-designers) to create “beautiful invoices” with little work.
Check it out via the link below and let us know what you think!
For more, check out TNW’s full Design & Dev channel.
Virgin America is the hip, new airline with cool in-seat displays complete with TV shows, games, and the ability to order food. So it only makes sense that they’ve tapped Califonia-based startup MOGL to power their Elevate frequent flyer dining rewards program.
MOGL is a loyalty rewards app that serves restaurants by using gamification and a bit of charity to increase engagement and repeat visits. Users earn 10 percent cash back on meals purchased at MOGL partner locations, and have the chance to win a cash jackpot by being a loyal customer to their favorite spots. Plus, MOGL gives back by donating a meal to Feed America for every $20 spent on the platform.
Since its launch in April of 2011, MOGL has partnered with 2,000 restaurants across California, including 300 in SF alone, and its members have earned nearly $2 million in cash back rewards to date. The company has raised a total of $14.5 million in VC funding.
We spoke with MOGL founder Jon Carder about the partnership, and he said a union between the two California-based companies just made sense. “Virgin is a great brand and a great way to kick off our partnerships, but we’ll have many more of these partnerships with brands in the future,” he said. “This is just the beginning.”
Virgin Elevate members are asked to sign up here to earn 10 percent cash back on every bill from one of MOGL’s partner restaurants, which will then be converted to Elevate points (at a rate of 30 points per $1).
Elevate points are redeemable for miles, upgrades, food, and any other services Virgin offers.
From now until the end of February, Virgin and MOGL are offering double the Elevate points per $1 spent to kickstart the venture.
When asked if MOGL would start moving toward a more partnership-focused private label model, Carder responded with a resounding no. “We’ll always be a destination site and a brand,” he said. “These partnerships help us acquire more users, but we’ll never go to the point where we’re only working with private labels. We’re trying to build the MOGL brand.”
He also explained that while Virgin will let MOGL users convert their rewards to Elevate points, cash back will always remain an option for MOGL users, who are some of the first to ever enjoy cold hard cash as opposed to discounts from a rewards platform.
Facebook and Google have increased their respective lobbying budgets yet again, easily spending more in 2012 than in 2011. Facebook spent a record $1.4 million on lobbying in Q4 2012, passing the seven figure milestone in a quarter for the first time. Google meanwhile shelled out $3.35 million on lobbying in Q4 2012, passing the eight figure milestone in a year for the first time.
Facebook spent more in Q4 2012 than it did in all of 2011, when its lobbying budget was just $1.35 million across all four quarters: $230,000 + $320,000 + $360,000 + $440,000. Last year, Facebook’s lobbying budget was $3.99 million across all four quarters: $650,000 + $960,000 + $980,000 + $1,400,000.
So where did all this money go? Facebook’s Q4 2012 report lists the following specific lobbying issues:
Facebook’s Q4 2012 was up 218.18 percent from the $440,000 the company spent in Q4 2011, and up 42.96 percent from the $980,000 it spent in Q3 2012. You can really see the growth on a yearly basis though: 195.56 percent between 2011 and 2012. In other words, this past quarter Facebook poured more than three times the money it put into lobbying when compared with the same period a year ago, and nearly triple the amount in all of 2012 when compared to all of 2011.
Google has been lobbying DC for longer than Facebook, and is understandably spending more, though its budget isn’t growing as quickly anymore. In 2011, Google’s lobbying budget was $9.68 million across all four quarters: $1.48 million + $2.06 million + $2.38 million + $3.76 million. Last year, Google’s lobbying budget was $16.48 million across all four quarters: $5.03 million + $3.92 million + $4.18 million + $3.35 million.
Again, let’s take a look at where all this money went; Google’s Q4 2012 report lists a massive list of lobbying issues. This is a select few of them:
Google’s Q4 2012 was down 10.90 percent from the $3.76 million the company spent in Q4 2011, and down 19.86 percent from the $4.18 million it spent in Q3 2012. Yet there was still growth on a yearly basis, though not as large as Facebook’s: 70.25 percent between 2011 and 2012.
While Facebook’s lobbying budget is growing more quickly than Google’s, the latter’s still largely outweighs the former’s. This is to be expected, given that Facebook’s business is centered on one website while Google has fingers in more pies than you can count.
In fact, that’s the really odd part here. Facebook’s lobbying budget seems to be gaining on Google’s, yet the number of issues listed by the latter is significantly bigger. In the lists above, we stripped out many of the issues for the sake of keeping things a bit more concise and to avoid listing bill upon bill upon bill; for Facebook it was just a few but for Google there was a lot more removed.
This may come down to the simple fact that Facebook’s business is simply that much more controversial than Google’s. Either way, although the two are fighting a bitter battle online, when it comes to getting politicians on their side, they have a common enemy, one which only money can buy.
Image credit: Alexander Korabelnikov
Go here to read the rest: Facebook and Google spent record amounts on lobbying in 2012, up 196% and 70% over 2011
This CES has been a surprisingly musical. Aside from the usual headphones and speakers, we’ve already seen a number of electronic musical instruments including the Artiphon Instrument 1, a well-made electronic guitar analog with a pressure sensitive fretboard.
Unlike the Jamstik, the Instrument 1 doesn’t have real strings but instead you play on the raised ridges on a pressure sensitive surface. The iPhone receives MIDI input from the device and you can even plug it into a computer.
The Instrument 1 is made of hardwood and can be played like a guitar, banjo, bass (by tapping on the strings), or even a fiddle. It should cost under $1,000 and will be made in and around Nashville by the creator, Mike Butera.
We spent a few moments playing the instrument on stage at CES 2013.
Continue reading here: Artiphon Instrument 1 Is An Ultra-Swanky Multi-Instrumental Music Gizmo