Google’s annual I/O developer conference is one of the tech industry’s most prominent events, showcasing the latest developments from the tech giant and its partners. This year, newcomer e-commerce platform Temu featured among a select group of app developers that optimized their apps for Google’s first foldable, the Pixel Fold.
Known for its super cheap everyday household items and wide merchandise selection, Temu, which means “team up, price down,” has carved a niche for itself in the e-commerce landscape since its launch in September 2022. Its app is a crowd-favorite, ranking among the most downloaded on both Google Play and the Apple App Store. The Temu app was recently named a Google Play Editors’ Choice, an honor bestowed upon only the best apps in the Google Play Store.
At Google I/O, Temu stood shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the world’s most popular apps, such as Disney+, eBay, and WhatsApp as one of 25 developers highlighted by Matthew McCullough, VP of Product Management, Android Developer at Google during the Developer Keynote. Google and its hardware and software partners are going “all in” and betting big on large-screen mobile devices, he said.
“As people add more connected devices to their lives, they want their apps to work across them, and adapt to each form factor’s unique abilities,” McCullough said “We’re seeing a robust market continue to grow for large-screen devices: Tablets, foldables, and flippables provide a huge opportunity to reach premium consumers.”
In a collaborative effort, Temu and Google focused on enhancing the Temu app’s functionality and aesthetics for foldable smartphones such as the Pixel Fold. Their main aim is to optimize the app’s interface and performance on these larger displays. As part of this initiative, they’re introducing a dual-pane feature that enables users to view two elements simultaneously on the screen – for instance, a product list and a chat window. This dual functionality not only streamlines the shopping process but also facilitates seamless communication with customer service.
The demand for apps tailored to larger screens is set to escalate with Google’s introduction of its first folding phone, the Pixel Fold. The world’s biggest handset makers, such as Samsung, Motorola, Oppo, and Google, are investing heavily in the future of foldable, large-screen devices.
Industry projections for foldable devices are rosy. IDC forecasts suggest foldable smartphone shipments could rise by 50.5%, reaching 21.4 million units by 2023, while Counterpoint Research predicts that global shipments of foldable phones will reach 18.9 million units in 2023, up from 7.1 million units in 2022. The growth is being driven by a number of factors, including the increasing popularity of smartphones, the development of new and innovative foldable phone designs, and the falling prices of foldable phones.
Challenges and opportunities
To be sure, this emergent technology presents unique challenges and opportunities for app developers.
Developing apps for large-screen formats, including foldables, flippables, and tablets, presents unique complexities. Firstly, dynamic screen sizes and aspect ratios demand responsive layouts. Secondly, supporting multi-window environments, where apps run concurrently or span multiple screens, is challenging. Thirdly, facilitating seamless transitions between different device states, such as folding or unfolding, requires robust hardware and operating system understanding. Lastly, different user interactions with these larger devices necessitate thoughtful considerations for UI/UX design.
On top of these technical challenges, there is also a business challenge. As of now, the user base for large-screen, foldable devices is relatively small compared to traditional smartphones. This means the return on investment for developing and optimizing apps for these devices might not be immediately apparent. This could make it difficult for developers to justify the time, effort, and cost to develop their apps specifically for these devices.
Temu’s Proactive Approach
Temu, with its proactive approach, is taking the plunge and setting a new standard for e-commerce apps. As one of the first companies to offer an improved user experience for foldable devices, Temu’s innovations could inspire other developers to follow suit, revolutionizing the mobile shopping experience.
Despite the fast-paced and constantly evolving tech landscape, Temu’s appearance at Google I/O signifies a significant milestone for the company. By spearheading app optimization for foldable devices, Temu is not just staying abreast of technological advancements but is actively shaping the future of e-commerce.
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