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Find out the week’s top mobile stories from around the world.

This week..  Facebook soars on mobile ad revenues, iPhone sales flatline, India gets its first mobile only bank and much more.

Apple iPhone sales flatline as growth falls well short of expectations

The Guardian

Apple’s iPhone sales are flatlining, the tech company said on Tuesday, as it announced a sharp slowdown in sales growth for its top-selling mobile device.

The company sold 74.8m of its flagship devices in the final three months of 2015, below analysts’ expectations. In the same period in 2014 the company sold 74.46m iPhones, meaning sales were essentially flat.

Sales of the iPhone account for about two-thirds of Apple’s revenues, which worries some investors. “Apple is a one-product company,” declared Berenberg’s Adnaand Ahmad last year, when the German bank downgraded the company’s stock to “sell”.

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Blocking Ad-blockers Pays Off for French Publishers

Mobile Marketing Magazine

A tough approach might just be the right tactic for publishers when it comes to fighting back against the rise of ad blockers which disrupt the value exchange at the heart of a free internet, a new experiment by a group of French publishers has found.

A collective of news and sports publishers, along with music streaming service Deezer and a number of other online services, organised a week-long initiative that saw people who visited their sites with ad blocking software active served with a message. Some websites simply asked visitors to consider switching off ad blockers, while others prevented any content from being accessed while a blocker was active.

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Nokia enters the digital health realm with $192 million acquisition of France’s Withings


Nokia has today announced that it is acquiring Withings, the company behind a range of connected health products, including watches, fitness bands, sleep-trackers, thermometers, and scales.

Founded in 2008, Withings had raised a little more than $30 million in equity funding and claims 200 employees across Paris, Cambridge (U.S.), and Hong Kong. Today’s acquisition values the French startup at €170 million ($192 million).

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China leaps ahead of Japan, is now second in global iOS app revenue


China just beat Japan to take second position for global revenue from iPhone and iPad apps, a new report says.

The US is still the king of iOS app revenue generation in Q1 2016, according to App Annie. However, China’s snapping at its heels, with a 2.2 times growth year-on-year that made it move up a notch since January.

In terms of the sheer number of app downloads, China took the top spot last year, overtaking the US. That’s thanks to China’s huge number of smartphone owners as well as Apple’s big screen iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, say the App Annie analysts.

But as any startup will tell you, getting people to download apps and making money off them are two different things.

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Vodafone announces 25 million active M-Pesa users

UK telco Vodafone has announced that M-Pesa, its mobile money platform designed for developing markets, grew by 27% last year to top 25 million active global users.

M-Pesa was launched back in 2007 by Kenyan operator Safaricom, with part-owner Vodafone’s backing. Its aim is to provide basic banking and money transfer facilities to people otherwise denied them via their phones and operator accounts. It subsequently expanded to other African countries as well as Afghanistan, India, Romania and, most recently, Albania. It is now found in 11 countries and has 261,000 agents offering it.

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US government wants your help building a rather confusing messaging app

The Next Web

The Department of Defense’s innovation arm DARPA has made a pretty balls-out request for someone to help build a blockchain-based encrypted messaging app to replace “expensive, inefficient [and] brittle” systems that leave it exposed to cyber attacks.

Like many big organizations, its backend is currently a complete mess, with emails all over the place, duplicated databases and an inability to sync files leaving it wide open to data theft.

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Facebook revenue smashes expectations as mobile ad sales surge


Facebook Inc’s (FB.O) quarterly revenue rose more than 50 percent, handily beating Wall Street expectations as its wildly popular mobile app and a push into live video lured new advertisers and encouraged existing ones to boost spending.

The company’s shares rose 9.5 percent in after-hours trading on Wednesday to $118.39, setting it on track to open at a new high on Thursday, at nearly triple its initial public offering four years ago.

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IDC: Tablet shipments decline for sixth straight quarter, leaders Apple and Samsung still losing market share


The tablet market has now been in decline for six quarters in a row. Q1 2016 saw a 14.7 percent year-over-year decline: 39.6 million units shipped worldwide compared to 46.4 million units that shipped the same quarter last year, according to market research firm IDC.

The numbers include both slate and detachable form factors, meaning tablets with keyboards are counted. Detachables experienced triple-digit year-over-year growth on shipments — 4.9 million units in total, an all-time high for Q1.

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Chinese phone makers Oppo and Vivo pass Xiaomi in global phone sales


Being the “it” smartphone sure doesn’t last long.

New data from IDC finds that Xiaomi now trails several of its less well known Chinese rivals when it comes to global market share. Overall, there were 334.9 million smartphones worldwide in the first quarter of 2016, IDC said, up very slightly from the 334.3 million units a year ago. That marks the smallest year-over-year growth on record.

Oppo and Vivo, two names unfamiliar to most Americans, are now the No. 4 and No. 5 phone sellers behind Samsung, Apple and Huawei, another big Chinese hardware maker. Huawei is also on the rise, still far short of its goal of supplanting Apple and Samsung, but at least closing the gap on the two leaders.

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DBS unveils India’s first mobile-only bank, targets 5-mn customers

The Indian Express

DBS Bank, Singapore’s largest bank, has unveiled digibank, India’s first mobile-only bank, targetting five million retail customers.The bank said Digibank brings together an entire suite of ground-breaking technology — from biometrics to artificial intelligence (AI) —for customers, breaking away from conventional banking norms with their onerous form-filling and cumbersome processes, to a paperless, signatureless and branchless bank.

Account-opening can be done at an extensive network of outlets run by DBS’ partners which include over 500 cafes across India. Since there is no paperwork involved, customer authentication is done purely using the Aadhaar card, a biometrics-enabled ID which has been issued to over one billion Indians.

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