Find out the week’s top mobile stories from around the world.
This week.. Mary Meeker delivers her annual internet report, Android creator Andy Rubin launches his Essential Phone, M-Pesa grows its African footprint and much more.
Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends report has become an annual ritual for Silicon Valley. It’s as if the tech industry had an annual physical exam and received a health report in the form of a 355-page presentation.
As in years past, Meeker’s 2017 report contained a few notable trends in its firehose of data points, which are interesting in how they show the tech industry evolving. Here are some of the key takeaways.
Growth in Internet population is slowing, but growth in online ads is accelerating….
Gemalto released its ‘Mobile Customer Experience’ report revealing that 48 percent of consumers expect a mobile device to become their primary form of identification by 2025 as a result of biometric technologies.
Based on research of nearly 2,000 consumers in the United States, UK, Germany, France, China and Brazil, the report reveals expectations across all aspects of the mobile experience including data privacy.
The survey results suggest that the trend of mobile payments increasing in recent years will continue. By 2025, 45 percent of consumers expect to be able to use mobile devices to pay for anything, anywhere, at any time, while 43 percent consider mobile as their preferred payment method.
JUST a third of consumers have installed anti-virus software on their mobile phone despite 94% appreciating the importance of data security, a survey has found.
Almost 24 million Britons use their mobile to shop, and nearly 23 million use internet banking services, the poll for Virgin Mobile found, but just 34% have protected their phone with software.
Meanwhile, 17% of Britons admit to storing their passwords on their mobile phone. Of these, 43% save passwords in the Notes app, 28% save them as the names of the organisation in their contacts list and 26% save them under celebrity names.
Some 43% do not use a numerical passcode to secure access to their phones, while 11% admit that they have never changed any of their online passwords.
The health & fitness sector is the sector most dominated by smartphone usage, with mobiles accounting for 82 per cent of the time people spend visiting health & fitness sites and apps.
According to a study by Verto Analytics, of nearly 5,000 UK adults, the next most dominated by smartphones are the people, family & lifestyle at 69 per cent of time spent, and sports at 63 per cent.
Alternatively, the only sector that Verto found to be dominated by tablet usage is property – with 67 per cent of people’s time spent on property sites. Meanwhile, technology – at 84 per cent – and government & law sites – at 83 per cent – are most reliant on PC usage.
Andy Rubin, one of the creators of Google’s Android software, has launched his own high-end smartphone.
Mr Rubin left Google in 2014 to create Playground, a technology investment company. Essential is one of the companies it funds – and the Essential Phone is its first product.
The device runs the Android operating system and has gone on sale in the US for $699 (£540).
However, it will be difficult to break into the huge market dominance of established brands. Samsung currently has the largest share of the smartphone market, with 21% of global sales, according to analyst firm Gartner. Apple enjoys 14%.
Ditching cash in favour of mobile payments for loan repayments provides huge benefits to Kenyan farmers, reducing costs, uncertainty, inefficiency and insecurity, a new UN study shows. Written by the UN-based Better Than Cash Alliance, the paper shows how agriculture non-profit One Acre Fund and Citi Inclusive Finance helped farmers reap the benefits of digitising their loan repayments.
Of 250 Kenyan farmers quizzed, 100% say that they prefer using M-Pesa mobile payments to cash, citing transparency and convenience as the main benefits. Processing times for repayments have been slashed from 12 to 16 days to two to four days, with farmers knowing immediately when their payments are received.
So, you should go set up that two-factor authentication now.
Facebook has picked up on the fact that everyone thinks its security settings are confusing. So, it has rolled out a redesign based on user research to bring some much-needed clarity to its security page.
Some of the changes include bringing important tools, like trusted contacts and two-factor authentication, to the top of the security and login page in a new “recommended” section that’s customized for you based on your current settings. And about that two-factor authentication option — it’s no longer called “login approvals,” because it took research for Facebook to realize it should just call it what it is. They’ve also grouped similar tools together under single headings and simplified the “Where you’re logged in” section, making it much easier to see where, when and on what devices you were last on Facebook.
It’s been a banner year for The Pokémon Company: Pokémon GO was a global phenomenon and the latest full-on Pokégame for the 3DS sold very well indeed. One would expect the company to be doing well financially — perhaps even doubling or tripling last year’s profits. Well, apparently it quinvigintupled them, which is to say multiplied by 25 times. (I had to look it up.)
The news comes courtesy of TechCrunch (CrunchGear, technically) alum Serkan Toto, who noticed the line item in Japan’s Kanpo gazette. Private companies don’t have to report all their financials, but many post a summary in the gazette regularly.
Last year’s net profit was a mere $5.6 million, down from $18.4 million the year before that (probably owing to Pokémon X&Y sales). But this year’s net profit? ¥15.92 billion, or $143.3 million. That’s more than 25 times last year’s take.
In the next five years, another 2.5 billion smartphone users will come online — of which 2 billion will come from emerging markets. What’s more, the largest percentage of smartphone users in these markets are millennials, offering brands the opportunity to capture the loyalty of young people and families for years to come.
But even experienced mobile developers can make mistakes when they set out to tap into this huge opportunity. This is particularly true if companies have built their customer base in economies with highly developed digital infrastructures because they might make costly assumptions about customer behaviour where it is less so.
Millions more smartphone users in Africa will now have access to basic banking services like borrowing and saving as the popular mobile financial service platform M-Pesa expands to cover more countries.
M-Pesa began in Kenya 10 years ago under the umbrella of Safaricom, the Kenyan branch of U.K.-based Vodafone. Regulated by the Kenyan central bank, the platform gives users access to bank services through partnerships with local banks, even if they don’t have a bank account.
Safaricom has been looking to expand M-Pesa for some time, but its hands were tied by the wishes of its parent company, Vodafone. Now, Vodafone has transferred its 35 percent share in Safaricom to its majority-owned South African subsidiary Vodacom, retaining only a 5 percent share in Safaricom.