Find out the week’s top mobile stories from around the world.
This week.. FBI could use any iPhone for surveillance, mHealth set to skyrocket, a quarter of smartphone users download ad-blockers and much more.
Governments could demand access to iPhone cameras and microphones to spy on civilians if Apple loses its high-profile battle with the FBI, one of the company’s most senior executives has said.
Eddy Cue, Apple’s head of internet software and services, said if the security service wins its court battle over the unlocking of a terrorist’s iPhone, it could lead to a slippery slope in which governments ask for even-greater access.
Data from a recent report by Juniper Research indicates the number of mHealth users will increase to 157 million by the year 2020.
“The adoption of mHealth information services will significantly increase as service providers roll out initiatives to tackle issues such as infant mortality and infectious diseases,” explains anannouncement. “SMS, Apps and IVR (Interactive Voice Response) services are providing vital information to those who cannot access general healthcare services.”
The app first launched in India and The Philippines last June, meaning it has taken six months to pass this milestone. That’s quicker than Facebook itself, which hit 100m users four years after launch, in August 2008 – though it is of course worth noting that Lite has the benefit of the ready-built Facebook brand behind it.
The app is now available in 150 countries, with support for more than 50 languages. The latest addition is support for video playback, with Facebook attempting to counteract the issues of watching video on the slow connections thatLite is specifically built for by loading in the background and notifying the user when it’s ready to watch.
Mobile marketing company Tune is releasing a new report, where 24.6 percent of survey respondents said that they’d downloaded an ad-blocking app or browser.
The company says it surveyed nearly 4,000 smartphone owners in the United States and Europe, and it found that adoption is growing quickly — only 2.4 percent of respondents said they’d downloaded an ad blocker in the previous four to six months, whereas 7.8 percent said they’d done so since November 2015.
Tune is projecting that ad blocking could reach 80 percent of smartphone owners by the third quarter of 2017.
Some caveats here: This is a survey asking people about what they’ve got on their phones, rather than data directly from their phones. (In fact, 21 percent of respondents said they weren’t sure if they’d installed an ad blocker.)
China’s stock market has had a bad year, but the country’s game industry remains strong and on track to grow dramatically over time. That’s the underlying belief behind Chinese game market analyst firm Niko Partners’ annual predictions for the digital games industry in China for 2016.
Lisa Cosmas Hanson, founder of Niko Partners, passed along the company’s 14 top predictions for the year. It expects overall revenues for the entire Chinese game market — PC online, mobile, and console games — to be $26 billion.
Niko also predicts that mobile games will rise from $5.5 billion domestically (excluding export revenue of $1.3 billion) in 2015 to $11.1 billion in 2019. That’s healthy growth, but it also means that China is over the hump in terms of its peak growth rate for mobile games. (In this category, Niko only measures revenue generated in China).
Depositors at some of the largest U.S. banks are finally going to get the chance to do something quick and simple: send money to another person’s account instantaneously by mobile phone.
The idea has been in the works for at least five years, and in the meantime, Silicon Valley has made incursions into the industry’s role as a payment intermediary. But now, big banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co, Bank of America Corp, Wells Fargo & Co and U.S. Bancorp are starting to plug into a system they jointly own, called clearXchange, that will allow each others’ customers to transfer money in a flash when they split a dinner check, rent payment or vacation bill.
If you’re using a third-party Snapchat app, it’s time to delete it. Change the password to your Snapchat account while you’re at it.
Will Strafach of Sudo Security Group, a company that researches security vulnerabilities in apps, came across numerous third-party Snapchat apps ignoring modern security conventions by sending user data over insecure connections.
The apps tested were on iOS, but that’s not to say that Android apps are immune, just that they weren’t included in the test.
Apple’s iPhone remains top dog in China, the world’s largest smartphone market, but sales growth there has weakened.
For the three months ended January, the iPhone took home asmartphone market share of 25 percent in urban China, research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech said on Wednesday. Though that number helped Apple keep its top spot, the rate of growth was just 1 percent higher than the same quarter a year ago and was the slowest since late 2014, according to Kantar.
Why the slowdown in sales growth?
Companies that don’t help the US investigate encrypted data could be hit with contempt of court charges
Technology companies could face civil penalties for refusing to comply with court orders to help investigators access encrypted data under draft legislation nearing completion in the US Senate, sources familiar with continuing discussions told Reuters on Wednesday.
The long-awaited legislation from Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein, the top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, may be introduced as soon as next week, one of the sources said.