Sign up to receive 5 free days of our daily summary for tech news.

Read this article for free.

Already a subscriber? Log in here

An Android App Bubble or Something Else?

Fast-growing caller-ID app TrueCaller, which is starting to attract attention in Silicon Valley, has joined a wave of so-called utility apps that have hooked themselves into hundreds of millions of smartphones by focusing on mundane features like saving battery life, offering wallpaper options or screening for spam calls.

New high-fliers seem to pop up every quarter among Android phone users in emerging markets. The latest group includes Apus Launcher, one of many Chinese-made apps that let people customize the look of their devices, such as the background “wallpaper,” and mCent, which lets Android users in emerging markets use some apps without having to pay data charges.

The open questions: whether many of the apps’ technology and features will actually make money, are susceptible to copycats or will eventually be baked into the Android operating system itself. Some are currently monetizing their apps by selling ads and getting bounties from sending traffic to other sites or facilitating app downloads. And some of the app makers are spending enormous amounts of money in marketing in order to get distribution.

What Is The Information?

Notebook b5103017ee163370a1667c9ce59ab0ef023875a17888105d26c185cadf31bb69

Daily news analysis

Every weeknight, we'll send you our reporters’ views on the day’s top tech news—distilled into one email.

Notes bb3aa5069205d702dda37fc71dc6f1c59df2310c4379304e9f1199f052af4884

Exclusive Articles

We broke it first. Receive original reporting, stories, and exclusives you won't read anywhere else from the largest newsroom in tech.

Conference calls c9e664e8b96ee347d3e92b8309938f268422b9db98cfabca5c826fbb75054b23

Conference calls

Go deep into areas like crypto and VC diversity—or get real-time analysis of breaking news—via conference calls with our reporters and other experts.

Events 499acedd16cffc41445edd76bfd302b2836c2a27419890f17130a6b10e2aa3df

Special Events

For no extra fee, subscribers get access to more than a dozen events yearly, from intimate dinners to larger gatherings with marquee speakers.

Access the best reporting on the tech industry read by tens of thousands of global executives.

Become a contributor

Share your views and find other subscribers by completing your profile. You’ll be listed in our contributor directory.

Org Charts

Access the only collection of tech company org charts. Our expanding database includes companies like Amazon, Snap, and Uber.

Slack community

Discuss topics and current events with our subscriber-only Slack group and share news about your company with other subscribers.

Share with your team

Subscribers can unlock any article and share it with friends and co-workers through a special share link.

Stay up to date on Silicon Valley

Sign up for Jessica Lessin’s (The Information’s CEO & Founder) free Saturday newsletter and also receive a complimentary week of our daily afternoon tech commentary email.

Already a subscriber? Log in here

Recent Articles

Asia Media Apple

Death by a Thousand Brands

By Amir Efrati and Peter Schulz

Facebook Telecom

What Zuckerberg Faces at Mobile Conference

By Cory Weinberg

Asia Facebook

Why Facebook and Baidu Are Becoming Fast Friends

By Cory Weinberg

Asia Media Amazon Telecom

Verizon-backed Jana Rides India’s Mobile Web Boom and Bust

By Cory Weinberg

mCent’s advertising customers include Amazon.com, Tencent Holdings and Twitter, which pay Jana anywhere from 50 cents in India to $1.50 in markets like Brazil for every user who installs and keeps using their apps.