Mobile loans app Tala among apps nominated for 2018 Google Play Awards

May is almost here and that can only mean one thing: Google I/O 2018 is upon us. Do you know what else comes with Google I/O besides the many announcements that we can expect with regards to our favourite mobile platform? Some presents for the best applications on the platform. After all, a platform is only as good as the quality apps it manages to attract. Just ask Windows Mobile people.

It is with this in mind that Google, the Android platform’s custodian, has, for the last 3 years, been recognizing developers and apps that stand out from the rest on the Google Play Store. Normally, Google teams pick apps by looking at the following aspects:

  • The best experiences available on Android
  • Good quality
  • Design
  • (Technical) Performance
  • Innovation
  • High star rating on the Play Store
  • Received at least one major update over the last one year
  • Get all the Android vitals right

The apps that are picked by the Google teams, 5 per category, are considered as nominees out of which the winners will be picked and announced during Google I/O.

This year, Tala, a mobile loans application whose service is operational in Kenya, Tanzania and the Philippines, is one of the select few that made the cut.

Others include popular Indian e-commerce platform Flipkart, popular bot-driven email app Astro and insanely popular multiplayer shooter PUBG (Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds) Mobile, developed by Tencent Games.

The full list of this year’s Google Play Awards nominees can be found here.

Last year, Netflix, FIFA Mobile, Swiftkey Symbols and Quik made the nominations shortlist. Pok√©mon Go, which is one of the games nominated for this year’s awards, was also nominated in 2017. Automation service IFTTT’s app, which had also been nominated, won in its category last year.

Early in the year, Google also identified and recognized several apps and games in the Android Excellence Awards.

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Tala’s parent company which goes by the same name, is just fresh from raising a new round of funding worth Kshs 6.5 billion.

Tala has repeatedly ranked as one of the top financial applications in the country.

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According to the company’s data, the Tala app, which is only available on the Android platform, has seen over 2.7 million downloads which has in turn allowed the company to disburse “over 5.6 million loans to over 1 million customers with an origination value Ksh 28 billion”.

May the best apps win.

Have something that you believe I need to have a look at? Hit me up: echenze [at]