This week in Applications is a week-long TechCrunch series featuring the latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications, and general application programming. According to the most recent weekend reports, the app industry will continue to grow, with a record number of downloads and user spending in all iOS and Google Play stores combined in 2021. By 2021, global spending on iOS, Google Play, and third-party Android app stores in China expect to increase 19% to $ 170 billion. Application revenues increased by 5% to 230 billion in 2021, while mobile advertising spending increased by 23% annually to $ 295 billion.
Consumers today spend more time in appliances than ever before – especially when they spend more time watching TV. The average American watches 3.1 hours of TV a day, for example, but in 2021, they spend 4.1 hours on their mobile device. And they are not even the heaviest mobile users in the world. In markets such as Brazil, Indonesia and South Korea, users have spent more than five hours a day in mobile applications in 2021. Applications are not a way to go beyond working hours, either. They can grow to become big businesses. By 2021, 233 applications and games generated more than $ 100 million in consumer spending, and 13 generated $ 1 billion in revenue. This is 20% from 2020, when 193 applications and games raised $ 100 million in annual user spending, and eight applications received $ 1 billion.
This week the Apps offers a way to keep up with the fast paced industry in one place, with the latest from the world of apps, including news, updates, startup expenses, collections and assets, and suggestions about new tools to try, especially. Do you like This Week in Applications in your inbox every Saturday? Register here: techcrunch.com/newsletters As the Russia-Ukraine war continues this week, the ecosystem also sees further effects. As businesses pull out in Russia, the ability for Russian customers to trade on appliances and in appliances is equally affected. This week, Google announced that it has suspended the Google Play billing program for users in Russia in the “coming days,” which means Russian users will no longer be able to purchase apps and games, do subscribe payments or make other in-app purchases of digital products using Google Play in Russia. Free apps will be available on the Play Store, the company said.
But the app platform itself does not have to keep payments for Russian users to experience issues with billing and transactions, according to some Russian App Store users now. That is because this week Visa, Mastercard and American Express all announced that they would suspend operations in Russia against its invasion of Ukraine. If the App Store or Google Play users had these cards on file, they would have stopped working anyway. Several technology companies, including Apple, Airbnb, Microsoft, Adobe, PayPal, Netflix, Snap and many others have also suspended sales and services in Russia as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In addition to humanitarian reasons for their departure, there are other factors – sanctions and complications with payments making it difficult to continue to support Russian customers at all costs.
Google fixes Apple messaging issues with app updates. Along with the expanded Android update, Google announced new features designed to work around Apple’s decision to continue to support SMS instead of the newer and more standard RCS standard. This week, the Google Messages app, which is already installed on most Android phones, was updated to address a long-standing issue where iMessage’s “Tapbacks” were not displayed as emoji reactions, but rather posted as message separately. It is an annoying thing that makes interactions between Android and iPhone users confusing, cluttered and very noisy.
After the update, reactions from iPhone users will be sent as emoji on text messages on Android. Like iMessage, emoji results – such as love, laughter, turmoil or happiness – will appear on the right side of the message. (On Android, it’s the bottom right.) The Android version of which emoji to use is slightly different from the iPhone, however. For example, the “heart” mood on Android becomes the “face with one eye” emoji. And the attention-grabbing iMessage logo became an “eye with an open mouth” emoji. This update will first be released to Android devices set to English, but additional languages will follow.
In relation to the lack of RCS support, Google also integrated Google Photos into the Messages app to enhance the video sharing experience between iOS and Android users. While people with Android devices can share high quality videos with each other, the same videos appear blurry when shared with those on the iPhone, as iMessage does not support RCS. By sending a link to the video via Google Photos, iPhone users will be able to view the video at the same high resolution. This feature will include later support for photos, especially.
Google has now been very vocal about Apple’s decision to avoid RCS support – mainly because receiving RCS will allow Google to compete better with Apple iMessage. But Google is not mistaken when it points out that Apple did not serve its customers well by having iMessage fall back on