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Temu, the popular shopping app started out of Boston in 2022, was featured during Google I/O for its work on optimizing experience on large-screen mobile devices.
Google’s annual developer conference took place on May 10 this year in Mountain View, California, where it unveiled the much-anticipated Pixel Fold and Pixel Tablet. The tech giant and its hardware and developer partners are going “all in” to meet the demand for large-screen devices, according to Matthew McCullough, VP of Product Management, Android Developer at Google.
“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 onstage during his presentation. “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.”
Temu was one of the select group of 25 apps featured in the Developer Keynote about Google’s optimized Android OS for large-screen formats, alongside BBC News, Zoom, Whatsapp, Canva, Evernote, Adobe, Disney+, Calm, eBay. Google is adapting over 50 of its own apps to look great on these devices, according to McCullough.
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Since making its debut in September 2022, Temu has been one of the most downloaded apps on both Google Play and the App Store. The online shopping platform is now available in 10 markets, namely the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands.
Known for its wide selection of affordable merchandise, Temu was recently designated a Google Play Editors’ Choice app, an accolade given to apps and games that demonstrate exceptional quality, innovation, and design.
Temu and Google have been working together to create an optimized version of the Temu app for foldable devices like the Pixel Fold. The collaboration aims to develop a user experience tailored for large-screen devices like foldables, promoting seamless integration and enhanced user experiences.
Temu worked on features that allow users to display the app in two columns, embedding chat, shopping cart, and payments in one panel while browsing products on the other. This innovative approach enables users to access all necessary features while shopping, making it super convenient for users.
Technical challenges for foldable devices
Optimizing apps for foldable devices poses several challenges for developers, such as diverse screen sizes, aspect ratios, and folding mechanisms. Developers have to create responsive layouts, ensure seamless transitions between states, and consider ergonomics for various user interactions.
Then there is the matter of scale. One reason there are relatively fewer apps for large-screen devices and foldables is that the user base is smaller, and developers lack the motivation to invest the time, effort, and cost to develop their apps for these unique shapes and sizes.
According to IDC, worldwide foldable smartphone shipments are expected to reach 21.4 million units in 2023, up 50.5% from the 14.2 million units shipped in 2022. Even so, IDC forecasts that foldable smartphones will account for only 4.7% of worldwide Android phone shipments this year, up from 3.1% in 2022.
App developers will have more incentive to create seamless and enjoyable user experiences for these devices as they gain traction in the market, which is expected to happen as prices for handsets decrease and more models become available.
The partnership between Temu and Google sets a new standard for other e-commerce apps, which may be encouraged to follow suit and optimize their applications for foldable smartphones.