Shares of Snap (NYSE:SNAP) have jumped today, up by 5% as of 3 p.m. EST, after CEO Evan Spiegel made some positive remarks at a tech conference. The executive said an improved version of Snapchat on Android is expected to be deployed by the end of the year.
Speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference 2019, Spiegel said that the revamped Android version is expected to be released by the end of 2019. The Android version of Snapchat has long suffered from performance problems compared to the iOS version, which has limited the Snapchat parent's ability to grow its user base, particularly in emerging markets.
When asked by an analyst what might drive user growth for Snapchat in 2019, Spiegel responded:
Android is absolutely critical to our strategy. There's something like 2 billion Android users that don't use Snapchat. A couple percent of those I think would be well-received by all of us. So that's something we're definitely excited about in terms of the future opportunity. And that explains a lot of the delta, as I mentioned, between the strength we see in core markets -- like U.S., U.K., France -- and international markets -- like India or Indonesia, where the vast majority of users have Android phones.
Historically, Snap has prioritized the development and performance of Snapchat on iOS, a focus that has held back its growth potential, as Android is the most popular mobile platform on the planet. The company's daily active user (DAU) base stagnated throughout much of 2018, but appeared to stabilize in the fourth quarter.
"Our engineering team remains focused on rebuilding our Android application to improve performance and quality," Spiegel said on the earnings call earlier this month. The company's progress with its Android app will be a key storyline for investors to watch in 2019.