Find out the week’s top mobile stories from around the world.
This week.. Facebook prepping messenger for in store payments? Singapore to intro smartphone paid public transport, WHO release mhealth checklist plus much more…
Ever since it launched Messenger as a standalone app separate to its core social network, Facebook has been trying to transform the messaging service into something more central to consumers’ everyday lives.
The company added a peer-to-peer payments platform into the app around a year ago, and has slowly expanded functionality through partnerships with firms like Uber, as well as innovations like M, its AI assistant. Now, there are rumours the social network is aiming to enable in-store payments through Messenger.
You know that near field communication (NFC) function on your smartphone that you never use? Well, if you live in Singapore, you will soon be able to do more with it than just getting the thingamajig at Starbucks to work to pay for your latte. Specifically, you can now use it to pay your way on public buses and the MRT, Singapore’s subway system. All you need is an NFC Transit SIM card, and luckily, the country’s three telcos just announced they’ll start selling it soon.
M1, Singtel, and Starhub subscribers will be able to get their NFC Transit SIM cards on the telcos’ respective outlets from April 2016 onwards. The cost will be S$37.45 (US$27), same as getting a new SIM card. M1 will waive the S$9.10 (US$6.70) card activation fee until 30 April, while Starhub and Singtel won’t charge the S$5 (US$3.70) EZ-Link registration fee for a limited time.
Uber’s developer team has unveiled a Ride Request “widget” — essentially an SDK — that directly brings the Uber service into third-party apps, eliminating any deep linking. Although it’ll be available worldwide, this offering is aimed directly at developers in China and India, those whose feedback helped Uber understand that users in these countries are more comfortable with an embedded experience.
Although it’s being introduced now, the SDK won’t be available until mid-April.
Today analyst firm IDC partnered with App Annie to release a report on the global game industry. It shows exactly how much mobile has taken over the industry, in terms of revenue — but also how little its users spend (in both money and time) compared to those on other platforms.
It’s knowledge you already probably have in the back of your head, but it’s very striking to see it spelled out in graphs that clearly illustrate the data.
Mobile revenues globally overtook PC and console game revenues in 2014; that trend shows no signs of stopping. The share of revenue (of total apps) for games increased on both the App Store and Google Play in 2015, the report reveals.
World Health Organization releases mHealth research checklist to improve quality, accelerate adoption
The mHealth Technical Evidence Review Group of the World Health Organization (WHO) has released a new mHealth research checklist for the reporting of studies involving mobile health interventions.
The team was led by researchers from the Johns Hopkins University Global mHealth Initiative, the School of Global Public Health at UNC-Chapel Hill, the School of Nursing at UCSF, and other other institutions. They sought to create a standardized approach to the reporting of mobile health interventions to simplify interpretation of this rapidly expanding body of work and help replicate the interventions described in other areas.
Marketing technology company RadiumOne has released its State of Mobile Acquisition report, which analyzed the activities of ‘high-value’ users in iOS and Android apps during January 2016. The report defined high-value users as those who have generated revenue from an in-app purchase or ad monetization in the last 30 days, or who have had at least 30 sessions with an app in the last 30 days.
The report showed high-value users engage with apps four times more than the average user, and, on average, account for 85 percent of app revenue across the retail, books and music, sports and communication app categories.
Virtual reality is great for gaming and movies, but when it comes to real-world use cases there’s still quite a bit of room for VR to prove itself.
Google is hoping to kickstart this process by making 360 VR content a bit more simple to implement and, in the process, way more spontaneous for users to discover and view.
Today, the company announced a new initiative, VR View, a tool which allows developers to easily embed 360 photo and video content into sites and native apps to be viewed on Cardboard viewers or through a single lens “Magic Window” viewer. To make this even more accessible to developers, today Google is also adding iOS support to the Cardboard SDK.
“VR is great for entertainment purposes,” Google Product Manager Nathan Martz told me in an interview. “But for VR to be as transformative as we all hope it will be, it has to be useful as well.”
The FBI has offered to unlock another iPhone for police after revealing it could access the handset used by San Bernardino killer Syed Farook.
Police in Arkansas wish to unlock an iPhone and iPod belonging to two teenagers accused of killing a couple, according to the Associated Press (AP).
Less than a day after its San Bernardino announcement, the FBI agreed to help in the homicide case.
Syed Farook and his wife were shot dead after killing 14 people in December.
A judge agreed to postpone the Arkansas case on 28 March to allow prosecutors to ask the FBI for help.
Hunter Drexler, 18, and Justin Staton, 15, are accused of killing Robert and Patricia Cogdell at their home in Conway, Arkansas last July.
In a signal of how important the Indian phone market is to Chinese gadget maker Xiaomi, the company today took one of its flagships phones to India faster than it has ever done before.
At an event this afternoon in Delhi, Xiaomi’s Hugo Barra and India boss Manu Jain introduced the Xiaomi Mi5 smartphone to local fans. The Mi5 was first debuted in China just five weeks ago.
The Mi5, which has a 5.15-inch screen, goes for sale on Xiaomi’s online store in India on April 5. It’ll cost INR 24,999 (US$376) in India for the 32GB model. There was no sign of the pricier Mi5 Pro, which features a ceramic rather than a glass rear.