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
Apple has reportedly struck deals with Visa, American Express and Mastercard that enable customers to use their iPhones instead of credit cards to pay at the register. According to a Monday report from Bloomberg, Apple also has plans to put near-field communications chips in smartphones, the same kind of chip that lets you tap-to-pay with certain credit cards.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
McDonald’s is set to become fully accessible for NFC mobile payments from 15 September, according to an internal memo. While some restaurants in the fast food chain have been equipped with the VeriFone NFC system for a while, the memo suggests that instillation and training will now take place in all branches. The move from McDonald’s comes only a month after the company announced a raft of digital improvements – including a new food-ordering mobile app which is being tested in Georgia, US.
Virtual reality is fast approaching, and Samsung has officially jumped into the fray, unveiling its own virtual reality headset called “Gear VR.” Developed in collaboration with the Oculus VR team, the same company Facebook bought for $2 billion, the Gear VR looks a lot like an Oculus Rift headset that’s been painted white. But there’s a huge difference that sets the Gear VR apart from the Oculus Rift. While the Oculus Rift will rely on a PC as its source of power, the Gear VR is powered by Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 4 smartphone, meaning you can only use the device if you’ve slotted the smartphone into the front of the headset.
The Google Play Store more than doubled its total game revenue year-on-year from Q2 2013 to Q2 2014, with the iOS App Store also seeing game revenues rise by over 70 per cent. The figures come from App Annie and IDC‘s quarterly Portable Gaming Report, which also showed that Android’s share of the installed base grew 8.4 per cent, hitting 70 per cent, while iOS shrunk slightly, but 1.9 per cent. Games represented around 40 per cent of downloads for both of the dominant app stores, but spending on games rose for Android, with games making up almost 90 per cent of consumer spending in Q2 2014. Games spending held steady for iOS, accounting for approximately 75 per cent of app store revenue.
Indian cabbies who ferry passengers for taxi hailing app Uber are finding that it is not easy to air grievances and seek redressal from the company at all times, every day as the San Francisco-based startup does not offer a round-the-clock helpdesk for drivers. While this is a problem unique to Uber, it is not the only one to earn the ire of drivers as Indian taxi services firms battle the pangs of growth in a fiercely competitive market. Taxi rental firm Meru Cabs has faced strikes by the drivers while drivers on networks like Ola Cabs drivers complain of last minute cancellations impacting their earnings.
Apple’s foray into mHealth, given its reported upcoming iWatch device, its moves into electronic health record technology and the development of its HealthKit platform, will have a dramatic impact on healthcare and advance mHealth like few other initiatives, according to a report at Product Design & Development. “GlobalData believes that Apple’s strategy to unite medical applications, electronic health records and peripheral devices through a platform, reported to be the HealthKit, will be a major milestone in the wave of technology-healthcare alliances,” Linda Tian, GlobalData’s analyst covering medical devices, says, according to PP&D.
Tablet growth in the North American and European markets will be flat this year,according to IDC. The group revised its estimates after what it called a “second quarter of softer than expected demand.” The tablet market, which IDC counts as tablets and 2-in-1 devices, will grow by a slim 6.5 percent globally. In 2014, around 233 million tablets and 2-in-1 devices will be sold, according to the group. A number of things emerge from the above: Tablet sales won’t catch PC sales for a lenghty period of time. Yearly PC sales have roughly stabilized around the 300 million unit level, meaning that tablet sales will likely have to grow by a large percentage to meet PC sales, which, as the new numbers indicate, will not be easy.
With the mobile industry gearing up for Apple’s device launch day September 9, it’s a good time to take stock of the global smartphone market. The market has become much more competitive recently, particularly among smartphone brands. The two leaders, Apple and Samsung, are losing share to manufacturers out of China and elsewhere.
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The first instalment of India’s ambitious financial inclusion plans kicked off last week, as 15m bank accounts were opened on Thursday, the first day of the Jan Dhan Yojana scheme, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new initiative for every Indian household to have at least one bank account by 2018. Yet, the proliferation of cell phones and mobile money begs one important question: do we still need traditional bank accounts?
Global News Round-up – These articles are not written by MEF and do not represent any views of individuals, members or the organisation.