Each week the MEF team curates mobile stories from around the world. Essential news, the latest market insight & data nuggets, the Global News Round-up offers an instant international mobile content and commerce snapshot.
Global News Stories
Microsoft is to stop developing Android-powered smartphones beyond those already available, the BBC understands. Nokia X models will now become part of the Lumia range and run the Windows Phone operating system, although existing Android handsets will continue to be supported. The move comes as Microsoft announced 18,000 job cuts across its workforce. The tech firm acquired Nokia’s handset division earlier this year. Nokia unveiled its first family of Android phones at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona in February.
Visa wants to make the process of paying for goods on your phone or iPad as easy as swiping your credit or debit card at an offline retailer. To do so, it’s adapting to Internet retail with the launch of Visa Checkout, a new payment option that will allow users to speed through the online checkout process in just a few steps. Visa is introducing a username and password system for making payments, which would eliminate the need to enter a 16-digit credit card number. “Merchants want to sell, they want to convert cardholders to sales,” said Sam Shrauger, Visa’s senior vice president of digital solutions, at an event announcing the launch. “People want to buy, people want to enjoy what they’re buying. What they don’t want to spend their time doing is paying.”
Most consumers agree that making an online payment is easy, but 40 percent don’t take advantage of mobile payments, according to PayPal’s latest study. One of the biggest hindrances? Security. The e-commerce company surveyed 15,105 adults in 15 countries to see what people think about mobile payments and how much time they could save in a cashless society.
With hundreds of new mobile medical apps apps showing up in places like the iTunes App Store and Google Play each month, FDA officials have admitted that they’re having a hard time keeping up with the demand to regulate them. In fact, Bakul Patel, a policy advisor for the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, recently said many mobile health apps will likely slip through the cracks and bypass FDA scrutiny. But Patel, speaking at a June roundtable discussion on medical device security hosted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board, also resisted calls for the FDA to change the manner in which it reviews apps.
“The everything store” was never the extent of Amazon’s ambition. Jeff Bezos has built a business that is, ultimately, about offering every kind of access to every kind of thing. You can buy shoes and coyote urine, subscribe to periodicals and deodorant, stream music and movies and TV shows. Oddly, books have been the holdout, as Amazon’s fights with publishers have largely kept it from experimenting with new forms of packaging and distribution.
New York Just Released Its Bitcoin License, And They’re Going To Change The Face Of Digital Currencies In The US
The New York Department of Financial Services has released a draft for what the state’s BitLicenses will look like, and they’re going to change the face of digital currency commerce in the U.S. The greatest change is that anyone using a New York-sanctioned Bitcoin or cryptocurrency service will no longer be anonymous. This was something Bitcoin’s earliest users said was a key ingredient to the digital currency’s appeal, but which DFS, as well as other lawmakers, expressed strong distaste for at hearings earlier this year.
Facebook rolled out a new iOS app on Thursday for celebrities and public figures, making it easier for them to interact with fans. The app, Facebook Mentions, lets users see what fans are saying in a dedicated mentions feed and start mobile Q&As. Shout outs from other celebrities and media will populate at the top of their notifications page, and they’ll also be able to see which topics are trending so they can chime in on them if they want.
Happy birthday, iTunes App Store. Apple‘s App Store turns six today, and now offers consumers over 1.2 million apps, which have been downloaded 75 billion times, according to the most recent official data shared by the company.
But the business can sometimes be tough for app developers, and new numbers out this morning from two different analytics companies help prove this point. More than 21 percent of the apps that entered the App Store since its debut are now “dead,” notes one firm, while another is seeing a trend it calls “app burnout” now emerging. This latter trend indicates, perhaps, that many apps are seen as disposable by users – they’re things we play with until we get bored, finish a task, or until the next great new thing comes along.
Competition is heating up in Kenya’s mobile money sector with players engaged in schemes to outdo one another. Kenya Commercial Bank last week partnered with Safaricom in a pact that will see the two offer a new product that converges financial and communication services to take on Equity Bank’s planned mobile virtual network operation business.
Equity Bank recently launched its MVNO roll out plan in which it will use Airtel’s infrastructure to operate mobile phone and communication services key among them access to loans via phones and money transfer. Equity also targets other mobile commerce services like account transfers as well as communication products like data offerings under its MVNO offering.
Downloads of Android apps from Google Play exceeded iOS App Store downloads by around 60 per cent in Q2 2014, according to an App Annie report, widening the 10 per cent lead Android held in Q2 2013. Android’s growth is driven by emerging markets, including Brazil, Thailand and India, as large numbers of consumers in those countries make the move to smartphones.
iOS is still dominant when it comes to money, however, with the App Store bringing in 80 per cent more revenue than Google Play.
Global News Round-up – These articles are not written by MEF and do not represent any views of individuals, members or the organisation.