This Week in Mobile

Posted February 24th 2016



Brands can double mobile user retention rates with smart messaging, according to the latest industry benchmark released by Kahuna. The quarterly report includes anonymized data from more than 400 million user profiles, across brands in 15 different verticals, including travel, sports, music, finance, and eCommerce. The report analyzes messaging opt-in rates, retention rates, mobile email consumption, and other valuable metrics for marketers.



1. Samsung delivered the announcement of its newest phone, the Galaxy S7, via virtual reality. Attendees of this week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona were instructed to don Samsung’s Gear VR headset to view the announcement.

2. BuzzFeed has launched an all-video app. Taking a step back from its “distributed content” strategy, BuzzFeed Video encourages users to binge-watch all of BuzzFeed’s videos.

3. 5G wireless technology is being tested in real-world environments. The next generation of wireless technology would let users download data up to 100x faster than current 4G networks and pretty much every technology giant wants to prove they’re at the leading edge of the new technology.

4. Bill Gates weighed in on the government’s side on the legal wranglings between Apple and the FBI over the creation of an iPhone backdoor, but then backed off on making such a strong statement.

5. Selfie deaths have become more common than shark attack deaths. So far this year, 12 people have died while taking selfies and 8 have died from a shark attack.





Quartz has updated their news app and it looks radically different than any other news app out there. Instead of letting users browse by categories, Quartz adopts a text-like format that makes it feel like you’re having a conversation with the news while staying informed.

Once you’ve read the initial blurb describing a news story, you’re presented with two options: you can learn more about the topic, or move on to the next story. You can also tap on the text to read a full-length article for more detail. You’ll only receive a few stories each time you open the app, but there are notifications that alert you to breaking news. You can customize these notifications from a few times a day to only being informed of “really, really big news”.

Using the text-style interface, the Quartz app is able to focus on its strengths: curating the news, making it consumable, and delivering it to you quickly. The app is definitely more whimsical than the average news app, incorporating photos, GIFs, and emojis to illustrate the news.

In addition to the main app’s newsfeed, the app includes a Today widget that gives you a “Chart of the Moment” and an Apple Watch complication.

The redesigned app has been launched as a free iOS app, but an Android version is in the works.




Mobile & Innovation Strategies for Travel March 14-15, 2016 | San Francisco, CA, USA

Mobile Tech Conference March 14-17, 2016 | Munich, Germany

Connected Cars March 15, 2016 | Detroit, MI, USA


Contributed by Tathagata Samanta and Tracy O’Neil