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One app to rule them all

News, 25 January 2017
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SHENZHEN/MUMBAI: The lives of smartphone users across Asia could become considerably simpler in future as a number of players rethink the use of apps by making them cloud-based or integrating multiple separate functions within a single app.

While smartphone penetration has soared across the region, many of the devices consumers are buying are entry level. With limited memory, these are unable to cope with the average size of mobile apps as developers pack in more features to take advantage of the capabilities of devices at the top end of the market.

A second issue is not limited to developing markets, as users worldwide are regularly annoyed by the requirement of many apps, especially those related to e-commerce, for the registration of a range of personal details before they will work.

China's WeChat recently launched its Mini Programs concept, which, Yibada reported, solves both these problems. The programs are operated through the cloud, which not only deals with limited device memory but also avoids using up data while downloading and updating.

And users will not need to register separately for payment as the Mini Program will accept payments via WeChat's wallet.

In India, meanwhile, Tapzo has arrived at a similar place via a different route, aggregating more than 35 apps into one comprehensive platform, enabling consumers to switch between them without having to download any of them.

"We are a platform where external apps integrate with ours and the user can use the discounts offered by the main app on our app," explained Ankur Singla, founder and chief executive officer.

"If one has an Uber coupon you could apply it on our app and avail the discount," he told Afaqs!.

The Wall Street Journal noted that these developments could pose a threat to the app stores of Google and Apple, but that does not appear imminent. Industry experts noted that WeChat's Mini Programs, for example, had fewer features and functions than standard apps which they said would offer heavy users a better experience.

Data sourced from Yibada, Afaqs!, Wall Street Journal; additional content by Warc staff

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