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

This week..  smartphone numbers return to growth, Europe heading cash free, global mobile gaming benefits from the Pokemon effect and much more.

Smartphone shipments return to growth after early 2016 decline, says Canalys

TechCrunch

During the second quarter of 2016, smartphone shipments saw a modest return to growth after a first quarter which saw the first ever year-over-year decline in worldwide smartphone sales, according to research firm Canalys.

But sequentially, shipments didn’t improve, and historical data reveals that the year-ago quarter was also relatively disappointing, all of which points to this return to growth being a tenuous one overall.

Canalys has Samsung first in overall smartphone shipments, with about 80 million in total.

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Europe to Go Cash-free By 2030?

Mobile Marketing Magazine

Europe could be looking at the end of cash for day-to-day transactions as contactless payments via smartphones see mass adoption on the continent, which is considerably more progressed than other global markets.

According to a report from global think tank Fung Global Retail & Technology, some European countries are well on their way to a cashless ecosystem, with retailers, transportation companies and even bank branches no longer accepting cash.

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Global mobile gaming market re-energized by Pokémon Go

Venturebeat

The global gaming market was stuck in neutral with market saturation for apps and smartphones. But Pokémon Go has given it a new burst of energy, and opened up new opportunities in the augmented reality market, according to a new report by market researcher Frost & Sullivan.

The report showed plenty to worry about, with an impasse in mobile games due to saturation, heavy consolidation, and declining smartphone shipments. Strong game companies such as Supercell and Mixi came to dominate the industry, forcing smaller players out. And emerging markets were stalled by the lack of payment options on mobile.

In the U.S., Frost & Sullivan said the combined hardware and software overall game market reached $52 billion in revenues in 2015. Among the key findings: Mobile games will show significant growth by 2020.

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Yahoo Sells To Verizon In Saddest $5 Billion Deal In Tech History

Forbes

Yahoo was once the king of the Internet, a $125 billion behemoth as big in its time as Facebook or Google are today. Now it’s being sold to Verizon for comparative chump change.

On Monday morning, Yahoo announced the end of the long process to extricate itself from a mess of its own making with a sale of its core operating business to Verizon for $4.8 billion in cash. The transaction ends the independence of one of Silicon Valley’s most iconic pioneering companies. Yahoo’s seventh and final CEO, Marissa Mayer, will reportedly depart upon the deal’s conclusion with severence pay worth more than $50 million.

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‘I think this is the reason I was born,’ SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son shares his dream

Tech In Asia

“I want to meet,” said the voice over the speaker.

Sailing off the coast of Turkey, ARM chairman Stuart Chambers was on vacation when he received the unexpected phone call. On the other end of the line was Masayoshi Son, founder and CEO of SoftBank Group, and Japan’s most famous entrepreneur.

Stuart brought the ship to port in the town of Marmaris. The two met in a restaurant to start the flurry that would lead to SoftBank’s US$32 billion bid for the UK-based chip designer.

“The first time I seriously approached ARM about the acquisition was two weeks ago,” revealed Masayoshi on stage yesterday at the company’s annual SoftBank World conference.

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Challenger banks ramp up mobile to challenge big four

Finextra

Challenger banks and building societies are redoubling their mobile banking efforts in a bid to take market share from the Big Four (Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and RBS), according to new research from Aspect Software. However, according to the customer engagement specialist, a lack of mobile clarity risks stifling their ambitions.

The research, which was conducted by Vanson Bourne on behalf of Aspect, polled 100 senior decision-makers from challenger banks and building societies with an operation in the UK, and found that 55 per cent of these organisations offer mobile banking today.

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NIST declares the age of SMS-based 2-factor authentication over

TechCrunch

2-factor authentication is a great thing to have, and more and more services are making it a standard feature. But one of the go-to methods for sending 2FA notifications, SMS, is being left in the dust by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

NIST creates national-level guidelines and rules for measurements, and among the many it must keep up to date are some relating to secure electronic communications.

An upcoming pair of “special publications,” as its official communiques are called, update its recommendations for a host of authentication and security issues, and the documents are up for “public preview.” I put the phrase in quotes because technically, a “public draft” triggers formal responses from partners and, in fact, from NIST itself.

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Most of the World’s Mobile Connections Are in Asia-Pacific

eMarketer

A June 2016 report from Ericsson reveals that there will be almost 4 billion mobile connections in Asia-Pacific in 2016. That’s nearly 2 billion more connections than Central Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the area with the second-most connections in 2016.

Ericsson projects that by 2021, there will be 4.6 billion mobile connections in the world’s most populous region, or 51.4% of the worldwide total. This year, just under 51% of all mobile connections will originate in Asia-Pacific.

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Osram’s Lightify smart bulbs suffer from several serious security flaws

TechHive

Those smart lightbulbs you installed may just be dumbing down your home network’s security, creating cracks that hackers can slip through to press attacks.

“Nine issues affecting the Home or Pro versions of Osram Lightify were discovered, with the practical exploitation effects ranging from the accidental disclosure of sensitive network configuration information, to persistent cross-site scripting (XSS) on the web management console, to operational command execution on the devices themselves without authentication,” security firm Rapid7 said in vulnerability report posted earlier this month.

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Number of unique mobile subscribers in Africa surpasses half a billion

IT News Africa

More than half a billion people across Africa are now subscribed to mobile services as the continent continues to migrate rapidly to mobile broadband networks, reveals a new GSMA study.

‘The Mobile Economy: Africa 2016 study was published at the GSMA Mobile 360 Africa event being held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 26 – 28 July.

The report also highlights the increasing contribution of Africa’s mobile industry to the regional economy, including employment and public funding, and mobile’s role a platform for digital and financial inclusion.

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