Find out the week’s top mobile stories from around the world.
This week.. Facebook hits 100m hours of video a day, half of China is online, banks concerns over mobile security of PIN, Apple & Samsung wary over 2016 smartphone earnings and much more.
Everything at Facebook seems to be growing, according to Mark Zuckerberg’s Q4 earnings call comments. Facebook now sees 100 million hours of daily video watch time.
There are 1 billion monthly users now users on Groups, up from 925 million at the close of Q3. 80 million people use Facebook’s stripped down app Facebook Lite for the developing world’s slow connections, up from 50 million at the end of Q3. 500 million users are on Events, up from 450 million in July, and they created 123 million events in 2015.
Facebook has 2.5 million advertisers and 50 million small businesses on Pages up from 45 million last quarter. Users are leaving billions of comments on these pages, which bodes well for Facebook’s plan to make Messenger the new way people communicate and complain to businesses.
China now has 688 million internet users, a record figure. The new data for 2015 from the state’s China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) shows that’s not the only major milestone.
For the first time ever, China has more than half of its population online – 50.3 percent of them.
Mobile web access accounted for a record high proportion of total netizens. The country’s 620 million mobile internet users in 2015 mean that 90.1 percent of all web users access it from their phones (when they’re not logging on from other devices like laptops and desktops).
Asian banks need to stop using PINs and SMS-based OTPs, which no longer provide adequate security and user assurance, and start tapping biometrics to authenticate mobile users.
In fact, the future of authentication resolves around biometrics on smartphones and banking apps must support the technology, sooner rather than later, urges Tony Chew, Citibank’s global head of cybersecurity regulatory strategy.
Speaking at the EmTech Asia 2016 conference, Chew expressed his frustration that most, if not all, banking apps available today “lacked imagination and creativity”, providing little beyond basic functions.
Apple reported fiscal first quarter earnings that beat analyst estimates, but came in below expectations on revenue, iPhone sales and more.
The company said it saw quarterly earnings of $3.28 per share on $75.9 billion in revenue. Analysts had expected Apple to report earnings of about $3.23 a share on $76.54 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.
Apple CEO Tim Cook described the quarter to CNBC as a period in which there were “a lot of great things happening in a turbulent environment.”
Tech giant Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS) warned on Thursday of possible weaker earnings this year due to softer sales of gadgets such as smartphones, a trend that is also hurting rival Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and major chipmakers.
The South Korean firm’s warning came a day after Apple shares fell more than 6.5 percent, the biggest percentage drop in two years, as the iPhone maker forecast its first quarterly sales drop in 13 years.
Slowing economic growth in China and weaker emerging market currencies are undercutting sales of electronics ranging from televisions to personal computers, spelling trouble not only for Samsung and Apple but also for their suppliers and the broader industry.
Google today released numbers showing the growth of its Cardboard virtual reality platform, and they’re impressive.
“5 million Cardboard fans have joined the fold,” Google’s vice president of virtual reality, Clay Bavor, wrote in a blog post.
That number, which reflects the number of Cardboard headsets that have been shipped to people, including those from third-party retailers and the ones Google and others gave away — suggest a real user base emerging, less than two years after Google first launched Cardboard at the 2014 Google I/O conference.
Almost 40 per cent of consumers were using ad blocking tools on their primary computer in Q4 2015, up 10 per cent from the amount using them in Q3, a gigantic bump which was primarily driven by the introduction of ad blocking availability on iOS’ Safari mobile browser.
Between Q3 2014 and Q3 2015, ad blocker use remained fairly consistent, hovering around the 27 per cent mark, according to data from GlobalWebIndex. However, Q4 saw a dramatic increase on this figure, up to 38 per cent.
Focusing just on mobile users, 36 per cent of consumers had used ad blocking tools on their smartphone within the previous month, with 41 per cent saying they had not done this, but were interested in doing so in the future.
Online spend using payment cards will grow up to $5 trillion in the next four years, says research firm RBR.
Its Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts To 2020 report says e-commerce now represents 11 per cent of the $20 trillion spent on payment cards. But the growth of smartphone-based spending will push this to 13 per cent of the total $38 trillion card spend projected in 2020.
Despite this boom, RBR also notes the importance of alternative payment methods such as PayPal and cash on delivery, which are popular in specific regions.
The European Commission is bringing together a working group to develop guidelines by the end of 2016 for assessing the validity and reliability of the data that mobile health (mHealth) applications collect and process in order to make these ubiquitous apps more useful for public health.
The working group comes as such lifestyle and well-being mHealth (everything from step trackers to heart rate analyzers to weight-loss helpers) has skyrocketed to more than 100,000 apps in recent years.
The development of such guidance comes as a public consultation from last year found no clear evidence on the quality and reliability of such apps, which raised concerns about their usefulness to consumers and their effectiveness in benefiting public health.
The UK’s National Health Service is getting ready to make its wearable tech and health management plans a reality. The Diabetes Digital Coach project, which involves giving wearable sensors to patients to use at home, is set to go live in the West of England (Bath, Bristol and the surrounding areas).
The project has been greenlit as one of seven NHS Innovation Test Beds as part of a three year, £40 million scheme by the UK government to bring the Internet of Things into healthcare.
People with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes will be able to manage their condition at home with both mobile and wearable sensors and software, presumably a beginner-friendly app. And there’s also a coaching element to the project, as the name suggests. If the trial is successful, the NHS could roll it out to the rest of the UK.