What’s happening among the MEF membership? Here’s your weekly round up of all the latest announcements from MEF Members including product launches, partnerships, research insights and more…

Has Opera Software just re-invented the browser?

The basic web browser has been based on the same template for over 20 years. Now, Opera is testing a new concept: Opera Neon.

The firms says traditional browsers are “are not as fresh as they used to be”. Its new concept presents a re-think with elements such as:

  • A start page that uses desktop wallpaper as its background
  • A sidebar with its own video player, gallery and download manager
  • A vertical tab bar on the right side
  • A dynamic system for tabs. Frequently used ones float to the top
  • An new omnibox that supports multiple search engines

Neon is still a work in progress. It doesn’t feature an ad-blocker, VPN, and so on. But Opera says its features will be added to Opera this spring.

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Bango adds two new Google Play operators in a week

Charge to bill specialist Bango has switched on carrier billing for Google Play users in Bahrain and Oman.

It’s just connected Batelco, the Bahraini mobile operator, and an unnamed operator in Oman to bring total connections in the region to 20.

The deals mean Android users in these countries can purchase from Google Play using one-click carrier billing for the first time.

Globally, more than 150 app store billing routes have been launched for app stores through the Bango Payment Platform.

Bango CEO Ray Anderson said, “Launching Batelco Bahrian in Google Play ahead of schedule confirms the power of our platform approach, supported by the effectiveness of Bango expertise.”

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BNP Paribas launches new wallet with security by Gemalto

European bank BNP Paribas has just unveiled its Wa! wallet to support payments, coupons and loyalty programs. It will be secured with Gemalto’s Mobile Protector solution.

Mobile Protector lets customers enrol with by a PIN code sent via SMS, and validate payments with PIN or fingerprint.

The bank is currently piloting Wa! in France with the hypermarket group Carrefour.

“Gemalto provided a perfect fit for our mobile security needs, combined with ease of use,” said Jacek Szpakiewicz, CEO of RMW1. “The strong involvement of Gemalto teams throughout the project has enabled us to optimize the integration of the solution and the development of the application.”

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Deutsche Telekom invests $3.1m in IoT startup Roambee

Silicon Valley startup Roambee has raised $4.1 million from Deutsche Telekom Strategic Investments (DTSI) and other investors.

Roambee describes itself as ‘the first IoT smart logistics and asset management company’, which offers tracking of goods as a managed service. Deutsche Telekom has invested $3.1m through its corporate customer arm, T-Systems.

“DTSI has a strong history of success and high bar for choosing their investments,” said Sanjay Sharma, Roambee CEO and founder, in a statement. “We are delighted to be a part of their portfolio.”

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Smaato: Android now top for mobile ad spend

Android has finally de-throned Android as the biggest platform for eCPM on mobile, says Smaato’s new study.

Its Global Trends in Mobile Advertising Report for Q3 2016 says the Google OS accounts for 55 per cent of monthly ad spending. That said, Apple remained the top device brand at 41 per cent.

Other highlight findings include:

  • Overall mobile ad spending up 64 per cent in Q3
  • In-app was 81 per cent of mobile ad spending on Smaato. However, mobile web grew four per cent
  • Ad requests from women’s smartphones were 1.5 times more likely to come from an iOS device
  • Video ad spending grew 557 per cent in Q3 2016 versus the previous quarter

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Orange rolls out 5G connected car pilot

A new partnership comprising Orange, Ericsson and PSA Group will examine how 5G networks can meet the needs of the automotive industry.

It will address Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle-to-everything (V2X) architecture to see how road safety and in-car connectivity can be improved.

“Connected vehicles are part of our IoT strategic vision along with home, smart cities, e-health and Industry 4.0. By teaming with Ericsson and PSA Group, we are combining our capabilities to drive 5G development for innovative services with the perspective of the availability of 5G by 2020,” said Mari-Noëlle Jégo-Laveissière, Executive Vice President, Innovation, Marketing and Technologies, Orange.

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