Find out the week’s top mobile stories from around the world.
This week… how AT&T prepared for Trump inauguration, India privacy concerns over data sharing policies, Apple raises prices in UK, games more engaging than social media… and much more.
Donald Trump’s inauguration is expected to attract over 900,000 enthusiastic attendees, all of whom will be armed with a mobile phone. Photos and video of the event will resonate across the social web, and Washington, D.C. will grind to a congested crawl. Ironically the one thing that may flow smoothly at the ceremony, parade, and galas is mobile data.
Each inauguration attracts hundreds of thousands or millions of visitors to the D.C. metro area. Bill Clinton’s swearing-in ceremony attracted 800,000 people, George W. Bush pulled 300,000, and Obama’s 1.9 million attendees broke the 1.2 million record set by Lyndon Johnson in 1965. None of the historic events, however, had to wrestle with mobile connectivity challenges at the scale mobile networks contend with in 2016.
The Supreme Court on Monday issued notices to WhatsApp, Facebook and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India to explain their legal positions over privacy concerns raised in a petition on the instant messaging application’s data-sharing policy.
The Delhi High Court had on September 23 partially allowed a plea by ordering to delete all WhatsApp data prior to September 25, when the new data-sharing policy with the app’s parent, Facebook, took effect.
The new policy allowed for it to share user information with Facebook. The petitioners weren’t satisfied with the HC ruling and approached the top court, seeking its intervention to protect the privacy of 160 million WhatsApp users in India.
Apple is to put up the price it charges for apps in the UK, India and Turkey.
UK costs will numerically match those of the US, meaning that a program that costs $0.99 will now be 99p. That represents a 25% rise over the previous currency conversion, which was 79p.
“Price tiers on the App Store are set internationally on the basis of several factors, including currency exchange rates, business practices, taxes, and the cost of doing business,” it said.
“These factors vary from region to region and over time.” The rise will also affect in-app purchases but not subscription charges. A spokeswoman for Google was unable to comment about whether it had plans to alter prices on its Play store for Android apps.
Consumers feel happier and more engaged when they are playing mobile games than when they are using social networks, according to a research report from mobile monetization firm Tapjoy.
Tapjoy conducted the report to find out what motivates mobile gamers, which are a highly desirable consumer audience for brand advertisers.
One finding from “The Changing Face of Mobile Gamers: What Brands Need to Know,” is that consumers are twice as likely to say they feel relaxed when playing mobile games than they are when using social apps.
Ten years ago, Apple announced the iPhone, which soon gave birth to the App Store and the resulting broader app ecosystem. That industry has now matured, having reached critical mass, according to a new report from Flurry out this morning. While there’s still some growth to be seen — app usage is up 11 percent over last year, for example — that growth is slowing. And many app categories are now growing at the expense of others, when before, all were growing in tandem.
This indicates that apps have maxed out on the finite resource that is users’ time. That is, drawing attention to a new app will mean having to shift users away from others. This could be a problem for new app businesses — especially those that mean to take on the incumbents like 2016’s most used apps: Facebook, Messenger, Google, Gmail, Instagram, Amazon, Apple Music and others.
Voice and face recognition, and the addition of behavioural biometrics, have driven rapid innovation within the authentication market and will tip the market in favour of the mobile architecture.
A new research report from Mercator Advisory Group titled Biometrics called A New Wrinkle Changes the Authentication Landscape explains the need for multimodal biometric authentication and describes many types of biometrics available from various technology providers. Furthermore, the study reveals how biometrics technology has shifted from a primarily hardware-based solution to a software-and cloud-based solution enabled by smartphones that have become much more secure.
As criminal theft of passwords has made passwords obsolete, a new factor is required for authentication and biometrics will be that new factor. It boosts security and will prove more convenient for the consumer than passwords as biometrics transitions into a persistent identity over the next 5 to 8 years.
Pokémon Go racked up revenues of around $950m (£768m) in 2016, as the true extent of the game’s success has been quantified for the first time in a new report published by market researchers App Annie.
The report makes it clear that, although the game was highly successful, it did not have this success at the expense of other games’ revenue or usage.
“By attracting millions of non-gamers, Pokémon Go reached a level of success that eludes even some of the most successful traditional video games,” reads the report. “This was thanks to the game’s beloved IP, simple mechanics, real-world augmented reality gameplay, and perhaps most of all, its social nature.
Move over, America. The future of the app economy lies firmly in the hands of Asian countries.
As of 2016, US smartphone users are no longer the ones spending the most money on iPhone apps – it’s the Chinese.
The US also doesn’t contribute the most Play Store app downloads anymore – that’s India now. Indian Android users also spend more time using apps than their US counterparts.
China retains its position as top iPhone app downloader, while Japan still spends most money on Android apps.
Third party payment providers in China will be hugely impacted by the introduction of national bank regulations covering the use of customer funds, research company TrendForce predicted.
Under new People’s Bank of China (PBoC) regulations taking effect in April, third party payment companies must deposit client reserve funds in state-run accounts which generate no interest. According to China Daily reports, the measures are intended to guarantee customer funds and ensure institutions don’t use the money for “risky” financial services.
Taiwan-headquartered TrendForce estimated the policy will result in third party payment companies including Alipay and WeChat-owner Tencent placing CNY500 billion ($73.1 billion) under central Government management.
Health IT venture funding came roaring back to life in 2016 after a slight dip in the previous year, according to a new report from market intelligence firm Mercom Capital Group. And mobile health apps drew in more cash than ever before.
Total global health care IT funding crossed the $5 billion mark (not including bioinformatics or medical devices) while mobile health raised a record $1.3 billion. Volume swelled, too, with 622 deals completed in 2016 compared with 574 deals that raised $4.6 billion in 2015.
Right behind the mobile health market, wearable sensor companies raised $592 million, data analytics firms raised $574 million, and telemedicine companies raised $528 million.