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
The feds have officially kicked off their hotly anticipated crackdown on IT firms violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The first two victims are review site Yelp, which announced on a little noticed blog post yesterday it had settled for $450,000 and admitted it had been collecting names and other identifiers of children in violation of COPPA. Yelp is now faced with the task of making it harder for underage children to register with the site. Yelp chalked up the issue to a bug in its systems.
South African consumers have been caught up in a whirl of excitement around mobile payment solutions with the launch of no fewer than three major players: FlickPay, Snapscan and Zapper. While each of the services offers something slightly different to consumers and merchants, their collective value in driving adoption of this new technology cannot be understated.
Suddenly, every food stall, restaurant, coffee shop, farmers’ market and even our local doctor now proudly offer customers the opportunity to pay for goods and services with their mobile phones. Consumers are clearly enjoying this new, secure way of paying – just look at how many people whip out their phones next time you visit a market or a vida e caffe, for example
The smartphone market isn’t kind as Sony is finding out. With stiff competition from other Android makers on one side and Apple on the other, losses are mounting for the company which is taking a 180 billion yen charge after revaluing its mobile division. After a revaluation of its mobile division, Sony’s expected losses for the company’s current fiscal year have expanded four times over, from 50 billion yen to 230 billon yen, or $2.41 billion. In a press release on Wednesday,
Global smartphone shipments are expected to reach 1.2bn this year, an increase of 19 per cent from last year’s figure as economy smartphone sales surge. The figures come from mobile analyst firm Juniper Research, who predict that between them, Apple and Samsung will account for nearly 45 per cent of the smartphones shipped this year, but the firms are facing pressure from local vendors in emerging markets, such as China’s extremely successful Xiaomi. These new manufacturers and vendors are building increasing market shares, and achieving large economies of scale which will enable them to expand their offering and challenge other smartphone sectors in the next few years.
Amazon, the e-commerce giant that recently added smartphones to its growing mobile empire, is now turning on another element to bring more users and usage into its mobile business. It will now enable carrier billing, so that when people buy paid apps and make in-app purchases through Amazon’s appstore, they can charge that directly to their phone bills. Working with UK carrier billing company Bango — a relationship that was first announced way back in December 2011 — Bango says the first market to go live is Germany, with Telefonica’s O2, where it will work over the next year to deploy the service on “certain Amazon mobile applications running on Telefonica devices in Germany.”
A joint venture between mobile operators meant to grab them a slice of the payments industry via smartphone ‘wave and pay’ services has been drastically scaled back, just as Apple prepares to move in on the market with the iPhone 6. Weve, a company owned by EE, O2 and Vodafone, has abandoned plans for a standard ‘mobile wallet’ service that it was hoped would make it easier for retailers and banks to work with the operators.
The amount of time people spend in apps has increased by 21 per cent over the last year, according to data from app analytics platform Localytics. While the average length of each individual app session has stayed relatively static over the past year (5.7 minutes), the number of launches per month has increased from 9.4 to 11.5. The app category which saw the biggest increase in time spent is Music, up 79 per cent from a year previous – which also has the longest session time of any category – followed by Health & Fitness (up 51 per cent) and Social Networking (up 49 per cent).
Global News Round-up – These articles are not written by MEF and do not represent any views of individuals, members or the organisation.