Chinese internet giant Tencent just announced its own take on mobile apps, ‘mini programs’ within WeChat, its chat app with 846 million monthly users.
These in-app “apps” are not referred to as such since Apple would not let the term “app” be used by Tencent, and since Apple does not allow apps to house in-app app stores, WeChat ‘mini programs’ can only be found by searching inside WeChat or scanning a QR code. Therefore, there is no “central location” where all mini programs are stored, only third-party means to discover and use the programs.
In addition, mini programs are all stored in the cloud, and users can access them without having to take up storage space on their smartphones. They are also much more comparable to apps on the iMessage App Store than those in the iOS App Store, as they provide smaller functions than, say, Candy Crush or Snapchat.
This announcement comes as WeChat continues to expand its functionalities, which already allows users to check the news pay bills, and buy movie tickers.