Find out the week’s top mobile stories from around the world.
This week.. Twitter unveils faster Lite app for data-deprived users, WhatsApp is set to join the Indian mobile money revolution, Comcast launches new wireless service, Huawei defeats Samsung in patent battle in China and much more.
Twitter is following in the footsteps of Facebook Lite and YouTube Go by launching a faster, smaller, data-saving version of its mobile website called Twitter Lite. It’s aimed largely at users outside the US, UK and other nations that have fast wireless connectivity, and instead targeting emerging markets where 4G networks are sporadic or nonexistent.
The new site is a progressive web app (PWA) that’s more like a mobile website than a mobile app. As such, it takes up minimal space on your device (just 1MB) and has quicker launch and navigation speeds — ideal for slower smartphones. “While smartphone adoption grew to 3.8 billion connections by the end of 2016, 45 percent of mobile connections are still on slower 2G networks,” the company wrote in the announce blog.
Facebook-owned WhatsApp is reportedly looking to get into mobile payments and has picked India as the best place to start, writes Telecoms.com (Banking Technology‘s sister publication).
India is in the middle of an ambitious state-sponsored bid to move away from its current cash-based economy to a digital one. The government kick-started the bid by taking a bunch of currency out of circulation, leading to an entirely predictable wailing and gnashing of teeth. The paid seemed to be short-lived, however, indicating the Indian public is willing to adapt.
Comcast announced Xfinity Mobile on Thursday, a new wireless service that will be available for its nearly 25 million broadband customers.
The company, parent company of NBCUniversal, is hoping the new service will lock in existing customers as well as attract new ones, going after the 130 million mobile phone lines in places where Comcast offers services.
The company says the service is “designed for the way people use their phones today, with Internet and data at the center of the experience.”
The Chinese smartphone-maker Huawei has won a patent victory over its South Korean rival Samsung.
A Chinese court in Quanzhou has ordered the Galaxy S8-maker to pay 80m yuan ($11.6m; £9.3m) to Huawei for infringing the firm’s smartphone cellular technologies.
The two are also suing each other over patents in other courts.
Huawei’s victory was tempered, however, by news that it could face a sales ban in the UK.
On March 29, billionaire banker Uday Kotak welcomed reporters to a press conference in Mumbai with a wide grin. Indian media was rife with speculation of a big-bang merger announcement by Kotak Mahindra Bank, the country’s fourth-largest private lender.
Instead, 58-year-old Kotak, managing director of the bank, announced a new digital initiative that will let anyone, anywhere open a bank account through a mobile app. His announcement was a significantindicator of how he wants to grow Kotak Mahindra. From eight million users currently, the “811 mobile banking plan” (pdf) will help it double its customer base in 18 months, according to Kotak.
WeChat, China’s ubiquitous messaging app with not far shy of 900 million active users, already has an array of services baked into it, like cashless payments, food delivery, and movie tickets. And now it has one more – bike-sharing.
WeChat’s users in China now see a “bicycle” button in the Wallet section of the app, allowing them to use their phones to unlock and pay for a popular city bike-share service called Mobike.
Tencent, maker of WeChat, is one of several investors in Mobike, a startup that has over 1 million bikes deployed across 33 Chinese cities. Mobike this month began its global expansion by rolling out to Singapore.
Amazon this morning announced the launch of Amazon Cash, a new service that allows consumers to add cash to their Amazon.com balance by showing a barcode at a participating retailer, then having the cash applied immediately to their online Amazon account. The service will support adding any amount between $15 and $500 in a single transaction, Amazon says.
Amazon Cash will be available at brick-and-mortar retailers across the U.S., including CVS Pharmacy, Speedway, Sheetz, Kum & Go, D&W Fresh Market, Family Fare Supermarkets, and VG’s Grocery. Other stores will be added in the future.
Apple ended an agreement with Imagination Technologies to use the company’s graphics technology in its iPhones and other products, in a move which could open up a patent row.
In a statement, Imagination said it received notification from Apple – the company’s largest customer – of its intention to stop using Imagination’s intellectual property (IP) in new products within the next 15 months to 24 months.
Imagination said Apple had used its technology and IP for many years as the basis of Graphics Processor Units (GPU) in Apple’s phones, tablets, iPods, TVs and watches, but the US giant had now “asserted” it was working on developing its own GPU “in order to control its products” and reduce reliance on Imagination’s technology.
There is a place we all go to on a daily basis, some people once or twice a day whereas others let it consume their lives, taking up every waking moment of their existence. It is of course the internet.
The internet provides users with a plethora of content and interactions and has become a necessity in the lives of millions of people around the world. Whether it be for work purposes, communication, social interaction, research, entertainment… the list of uses of the internet is endless.
Africa, just like the rest of the world is reliant on the internet. One of the aspects which differentiates countries around the world in terms of internet usage is how they access it.
The three main devices which people use to access the internet are desktops, tablets or mobiles. The question is which one of these devices dominates the market share in Africa?
Brazil, home to the highest-ranked university in Latin America, has struggled to provide good primary education to its sprawling student population. The quality of country’s education system came in 60th in an evaluation of 76 countries by the OECD. And the results of a recent national math exam revealed that 67% of 15-year-old students in Brazil had not mastered basic math concepts.
Now, Nova Escola, a Brazilian education nonprofit, is attempting to get teachers the resources they need to improve education standards—by sending lesson plans to their phones.
Nova Escola has recently received $5.1 million in funding from Google.org and and another $1.6 million from the Lemann Foundation, a leading Brazilian education nonprofit founded by Brazilian billionaire Jorge Paulo Lemann, to create a set of digital lessons for elementary school teachers that they can access from their phones. Google’s donation is part of the company’s commitment to invest $50 million over two years towards efforts that use technology to improve education standards globally.