Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps the latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications and the overall app economy.
The app industry is as hot as ever, with a record 218 billion downloads and $143 billion in global consumer spend in 2020.
Consumers last year also spent 3.5 trillion minutes using apps on Android devices alone. And in the U.S., app usage surged ahead of the time spent watching live TV. Currently, the average American watches 3.7 hours of live TV per day, but now spends four hours per day on their mobile devices.
PearPop a new Los Angeles-based company, is on its way to racking up nearly 25,000 users in less than a month, and has already landed seed funding from the firm Rocket One Capital.
The company’s premise is simple. Allow fans to bid for shared screen time with their favorite TikTok celebrities, and it’s one that has attracted the attention of a few of the platform’s stars with several million followers.
The company was able to hook 3,000 users with one post from Anna Shumate, a TikTok star with 6.5 million followers who goes by the handle of “annabananaxdddd,” according to the company’s founder, Cole Mason.
The past few weeks have been one of the more stressful periods in 16-year-old Parker Pannell’s life. His comedy vlogs had amassed sizable fanbase on TikTok, some 2.2 million followers, and he was earning thousands of dollars from creating sponsored content for businesses like Cash App and House Party. Much of that work evaporated over the last month. “Super discouraging,” says Pannell. “But who wants to put money into a brand that could potentially be on the decline?” Companies were shying away from advertising on TikTok as the Chinese-owned app raced to appease President Trump’s demand for it to sell itself or face a ban in America.
TikTok’s algorithm is almost too good at suggesting relatable content — to the point of being detrimental for some users’ mental health.
It’s nearly impossible to avoid triggering content on TikTok, and because of the nature of the app’s never-ending For You Page, users can easily end up trapped scrolling through suggested content curated for their specific triggers.
President Donald Trump casually dropped Friday that he would “ban” TikTok. That added heft to earlier statements made by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the administration was considering a ban.
But how would a ban on an app that’s already been downloaded by 165 million Americans, and that anyone can currently download from Apple and Google app stores, actually work?
You could almost hear the internet cracking apart this week as international businesses pulled away from Hong Kong and the US considered a ban on TikTok. Software can no longer eat the entire world like it had attempted last decade. Startups across tech-focused industries face a new reality, where local markets and efforts are more protected and supported by national governments. Every company now has a smaller total addressable market, whether or not it succeeds in it.
If you’re bored in the house and you’re in the house bored, pancake cereal is the next recipe to add to your list of TikTok-famous foods. Essentially a batch of mini pancakes doused in maple syrup and butter, the new trend has even led to IHOP teasing a new cereal dubbed Panflakes. To learn more about the recipe and variations to try, read our quick guide to the delectable treat.
Just like most other viral TikTok food trends like the three-ingredient peanut butter cookie and dalgona coffee, pancake cereal is easy to make. The recipe begins with making regular pancake batter, which can be store-bought or made at home using flour, eggs and milk. After pouring the mixture into a Zip-loc bag or squeeze bottle, all you need to do is make mini pancakes by squeezing out small portions of the batter onto a buttered pan. Once they’re golden brown, toss them around and let them cook a few minutes more to achieve a crispy texture. To finish off, serve in a bowl with butter, maple syrup or any topping of your choice, along with milk if preferred.