Tech Digest daily roundup: Third of waking hours spent on mobile phones


People are spending an average of 4.8 hours a day on their mobile phones, according to app monitoring firm App Annie. In 2020, UK regulator Ofcom found similar amounts of time spent, although its research included watching TV. App Annie’s report indicates that apps were downloaded 230 billion times in 2021, while $170bn (£125bn) was spent. TikTok was the most downloaded app worldwide, with users spending 90% more time there compared to 2020. “The big screen is slowly dying as mobile continues to break records in virtually every category – time spent, downloads and revenue,” said chief executive of App Annie, Theodore Krantz. BBC 

No good deed goes unpunished – as is the case with Wordle, the viral linguistic guessing game which found itself with a deluge of apparent clones flooding Apple’s App Store this past week. Initially created by software engineer Josh Wardle for his partner, a puzzle aficionado, the brainteaser skyrocketed in popularity earlier this year, blooming from just 90 daily players in November to now more than 2 million. While Wardle’s game is entirely housed in a web browser, a host of apps – in an apparent effort to capitalise on Wordle’s popularity – soon sprang up with names like What Word – Wordle, Wordus and Wordle 3D. The Guardian

Google has been accused of stifling an Indian news website that criticised billionaire businessman Mukesh Ambani after the search engine invested in his company. Janta Ka Reporter has alleged it was punished by the search company after writing a series of stories about the tycoon, who is one of the richest men in Asia and owns British assets including the Stoke Park country club. Janta Ka said that the stories were a “big hit on Google”, but were wiped off key parts of the Silicon Valley titan’s website following a $4.5bn (£3.3bn) investment which it made in Mr Ambani’s companies. Telegraph

Google has been spending a lot of time on its once-neglected smartwatch platform, releasing Wear OS 3 as a major overhaul last year. The company isn’t stopping there though, as it turns out that it’s also tackling an oft-neglected demographic with an upcoming feature addition. A Googler confirmed that Wear OS will let you rotate the watch screen by 180 degrees (h/t: Mishaal Rahman and Redditor ultra_HR). This means you can wear your smartwatch upside down. “Our development team has implemented the feature you have requested and will be available on future new devices,” reads the Googler’s comment. Android Authority

Meta has lost an attempt to dismiss a US Federal Trade Commission antitrust lawsuit which could force the company to sell WhatsApp and Instagram. Judge James Boasberg has ruled the FTC had a plausible case against the Facebook owner that should be allowed to proceed, although he did not suggest that it would be successful. “Ultimately, whether the FTC will be able to prove its case and prevail at summary judgment and trial is anyone’s guess,” he wrote. Sky News

Fortnite’s battle royale mode has always been about escaping the storm. Now, it’s asking you to run towards one. Dynamic weather has been added to the game today, as part of Fortnite’s 19.01 update. Tornadoes can now form across the map, picking up items, damaging structures, and – if you get sucked up – providing a handy airborne method of escape. Dark clouds overhead can also now forecast lightning storms, which can strike objects and players. Being struck by lightning deals a small amount of damage and sets the surrounding area on fire, but also grants a speed boost. Eurogamer

Chris Price
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