Find out the week’s top mobile stories from around the world.
This week.. winners and losers in Amazon Whole Food purchase, Estonia creates worlds first “digital embassy”, fighting data costs with social media in South Africa and much more…
Amazon is taking a huge bite out of the fresh food business with its bid for Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion. But even though this is a deal between two companies, it’s not just the two of them being touched by it.
The intersection between the food and tech industries has been playing out for years now, sprouting dozens of food startups; efforts from large tech companies to move into food; and strategies from large food players tapping tech to make sure they don’t miss out on the next wave of consumers and how they are choosing to shop. Here’s a look at how some of the biggest and most prominent of these, plus a few others, might be impacted by today’s news:
The rules on what governments can, and can’t, do with your personal data is based entirely on where the information is stored. Since tech companies shunt your stuff to servers across the globe, there’s a risk that an oppressive regime can use its rights to start peeking at your stuff. That’s why it’s interesting that Estonia has signed a deal to open what it’s calling the world’s first “data embassy” in Luxembourg.
Rather than trust a foreign country with its data, Estonia has essentially signed a deal to declare a server room in Luxembourg as Estonian soil. As a consequence, the same rights and protections afforded in the country proper should extend to the information stored in the “digital embassy.”
Thousands of frustrated smartphone users across the country have pledged to abstain from using social media today in protest against high data prices.
The hashtag #SocialMediaBlackout is being used (while people are connected to a WiFi hotspot) to highlight the problem. The campaign was ignited by poet and musician Ntsiki Mazwai.
She tweeted yesterday: “I will not be on social media on Wednesday, 21 June because #DataMustFall and it is long overdue we took action. Don’t buy data. Don’t login.”
She said data costs are “obscene” and unaffordable for the people on the ground. “This is the information age, we NEED accessible data,” and encouraged her followers to be strong, disciplined and resolute.
Sega has started to release free mobile versions of classic games from its back catalogue.
The first five, including Sonic the Hedgehog, are available now via the Apple and Android app stores.
The gamemaker said it planned to release additional titles every two weeks for the Sega Forever service.
Some fans have complained about the first releases, saying Sega has done a poor job of converting the classic titles to mobile devices.
“Above all else Sega Forever is a celebration of nostalgia,” said Mike Evans, head of Sega’s mobile division in San Francisco in a statement. “It’s about allowing fans to reconnect with past experiences.
Five years ago Facebook didn’t have a mobile advertising business. Boy, have things changed since then.
Wieden + Kennedy’s CCO Colleen DeCourcy interviewed Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Airbnb’s CMO Jonathan Mildenhall during a keynote today where Sandberg talked about Facebook’s shift from desktop to mobile and how creatives can make compelling mobile ads. Facebook made $8.03 billion in the first quarter of 2017, with mobile making up 85 percent of revenue.
“We absolutely prioritized our newsfeed and mobile revenue over our desktop revenue and five years later, we have four of the biggest mobile platforms in the world,” Sandberg said. “Organizations don’t move quickly so you often have to overcorrect to get there.”
Poland’s second-largest mobile phone company is to float on the Warsaw stock exchange, in what is expected to be Europe’s largest telecoms IPO in five years.
The initial public offering of Play Communications would be the largest since 23 per cent of Telefónica Deutschland was floated in 2012, valuing it at €6.4bn. Play’s valuation is set to surpass €3.5bn including debt, according to analysts. The smaller Finnish operator DNA floated last December and has since gained 40 per cent in value, encouraging Play to explore a float.
Play was founded a decade ago and has increased its market share, from less than 5 per cent in 2008 to 27 per cent this year, making it Poland’s second-largest mobile network. It competes with Orange, Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile and Polkomtel’s Plus, and has built a base of more than 14m customers.
A third of preschoolers and two-thirds of primary school-aged children own smartphones or tablets – and 50% of them are using them unsupervised, the latest Australian Child Health Poll shows.
The paediatrician Dr Anthea Rhodes, the director of the national poll, said knowing so many very young children were spending too much time on devices was a “worrying” trend.
Rhodes said there was very little evidence to support the idea a smartphone or tablet boosted a toddler’s development. But there was plenty of evidence linking excessive use to health problems.
Parliament is officially open now that the Queen has delivered her much-awaited, and delayed, speech that sets out what her Government intends to do over the next two years. It would normally be one year, but with so much to do in the break up with the EU, a two-year programme has been outlined.
Perhaps it was the understandable interest in Brexit that steered commentators away from one very interesting part of the speech. It was just a couple of lines, but the government let it be known that it would press ahead with its Digital Charter that would make the UK the safest place to go online and conduct digital business.
Mobile users are increasingly utilizing their devices for healthcare needs, whether it is through fitness trackers or even for communicating with providers. However, inadequate mobile health app privacy or policies that are difficult to understand could lead to patient data privacy concerns.
A recent study published in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry found that there are lacking privacy measure in apps designed for dementia patients. Researchers reviewed 125 iPhone apps that matched to the search terms of “medical + dementia” or “health & fitness + dementia.”
Of those apps, 33 had available privacy policies. Furthermore, 70 percent described safeguards on data, and approximately three-quarters differentiated between protections for individual versus aggregate data.
Nokia has today announced that all Withings products are now available under the parent company branding, in-store and online.
The handset manufacturer, who’s smartphone division is now owned by HMD global, has been in the process of transitioning products from the acquired Withings brand over to the Nokia name. Nokia first announced plans to acquire French health product manufacturer Withings back in April 2016 for $191 million.
Following the purchase in June 2016, Withings co-founder and CEO Cedric Hutchings was made head of a new Digital Health business unit at Nokia. It was announced that the Withings product line would be re-branded under the smartphone manufacturers name, giving Nokia the largest porftfolio of digital health products overnight.