Find out the week’s top mobile stories from around the world.
This week.. Google signs $1.1bn HTC smartphone deal, Face ID’s Ripple Effects Already Appearing in Mobile Industry, Vodafone preparing bid for Zambia mobile license, WhatsApp refused access to UK Government and much more…
Alphabet’s Google has struck a $1.1bn (£822m) deal with Taiwan’s HTC to expand its smartphone business.
Google will not take a stake in the firm, but some HTC staff will join the Silicon Valley giant.
The Taiwanese company was once a major player in the smartphone market but has struggled to compete with the likes of Apple and Samsung.
Google expects the deal to close by early 2018, provided it gets the all clear from regulators.
Shares in HTC were suspended in Taiwan on Thursday.
The ripple effects of Apple’s move to facial recognition with the iPhone X are already being seen across the mobile biometrics industry.
With the company having pioneered the mobile fingerprint scanning revolution with its Touch ID system over the last four years, many had looked to Apple to lead the charge to in-display fingerprint scanning with this year’s big new iPhone. That technology has failed to materialize, but Apple’s leadership is nevertheless now pushing the industry forward in a slightly different direction with its introduction of Face ID.
Vodafone Group Plc is preparing a bid for a new mobile-phone license in Zambia that will enable the U.K. company to add voice services to its data product in the southern African country, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Winning the auction would give Newbury, England-based Vodafone a way of expanding Zambia operations run by local partner Afrimax, said the person, who asked not to be identified as the company hasn’t made its intentions public. The successful bidder would be competing with Johannesburg-based MTN Group Ltd., the country’s market leader with more than 48 percent market share, India’s Bharti Airtel Ltd. and state-owned Zamtel.
Messaging service WhatsApp rejected a UK Government request to create a way to access encrypted messages earlier this year, reports Sky News, citing an anonymous security source. The British Government reportedly asked WhatsApp in a meeting during summer to produce technical solutions that would allow access — known as a backdoor. Sky Newsreports that 80 percent of investigations into terrorism and serious crime are affected by encryption.
“It is crucially important that we can access their communications — and when we can’t, it can provide a black hole for investigators,” the source said. Extremists are known to use encryption apps like WhatsApp and Telegram to communicate, and an inability to access those messages has been a constant source of frustration for law enforcement.
The voices of consumers are being missed as communications services providers, industry bodies and the government set the agenda for the UK’s communications infrastructure market after Brexit.
Communications services providers (CSPs) and industry bodies such as TechUK and the Broadband Stakeholders Group have done much to assess the impact of Brexit on the UK’s broadband, mobile and telecommunications infrastructure in relation to the digital industries, but the voices of end-users, in particular residential consumers of mobile and broadband services, are not being heard.
The potential of AR is firmly into the spotlight for global technology companies. Keen not to miss out on what some say could be bigger than the smartphoneitself, Chinese tech juggernauts Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, and others are investing heavily in AR through mobile games and advertising experiences. In this piece, we’ll share three key things you should know about AR in China.
China’s giant base of mobile users makes the smartphone the dominant platform through which AR is distributed. This mobile-first approach is similar to Apple’s approach with ARKit, Apple’s AR SDK for developers. This may be the fastest way to promote AR usage, as Chinese consumers are already engaged with companies such as Tencent through their smartphones; the company has 938 million monthly active users on its mobile messaging platform, WeChat.
Consumers who line up for the new iPhone this week will once again get seemingly irresistible offers from the big carriers. But this time around, telcos have something more to offer than just lucrative trade-in deals and deeply discounted iPads: “Game of Thrones,” “Stranger Things” and other hot TV shows, for free.
Both AT&T and T-Mobile are betting on the power of content to lure new subscribers to their services and keep iPhone upgraders from switching to the competition. T-Mobile announced an exclusive deal with Netflix earlier this month, and is offering free access to the video-streaming service to those who buy T-Mobile’s unlimited family plan.
“Free is our favorite price,” quipped T-Mobile chief operating officer Mike Sievert at last week’s Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference.
Google has launched Tez, a mobile payments app which utilises India’s Unified Payments Interface to enable smartphone users to send money to each other and pay for goods and services both offline and online.
Made for India, Tez works on the vast majority of smartphones with apps for both Android and iOS and support for English, Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu.
When using Tez, funds are drawn directly from accounts of the 55 banks in India connected to the country’s UPI standard.
The role of mobile is becoming more important than ever in bringing together brand touchpoints for consumers, according to Mindshare’s key trends in retail.
Based on a sample of 1000 smartphone owners aged 18 and over in the UK, Mindshare found that 65 per cent of consumers see themselves using mobiles more in the future to improve in-store experience. Furthermore, 51 per cent of respondents agreed they are more likely to buy from brands which have interesting or different stores – a figure which rises to 63 per cent for under 34s. On top of this, 60 per cent of consumers say retail brands will have to keep up with new tech in order to improve their experiences.
With the rising use of tech, 65 per cent of consumers say they are becoming conscious of what brands do with their data, while 68 per cent are selective about the brands they share their data with.
Ten years ago, the Financial Times ran a headline asking, “Will iPhones sneak into the workplace?” and pointed out the corporate disadvantages of the closed iOS platform, compared to the 18,000 consumer-focused apps that were already available for Windows Mobile. Today, we have witnessed the arrival of Apple’s iPhone X.
Three years ago, Satya Nadella announced Microsoft’s new mission to become mobile-first and cloud-first. Today, with Windows Mobile consigned to history, Microsoft has rephrased its mission and supplanted ‘mobile’ for intelligent cloud, intelligent edge and AI.
Mission statements aside, most of the CIOs we speak to recognise that enterprise mobility and cloud-based apps are still core components of digital transformation. In 2017 enterprises can be represented at every stage of the mobile adoption curve.