Find out the week’s top mobile stories from around the world.

This week..  Mobile OS no longer a focus for Microsoft, T-Mobile customer data plundered, rising phone prices leads to boom in second hand market, Puerto Rico phone services to be restored by Google balloons and much more…

Microsoft gives up on Windows 10 Mobile

BBC

Microsoft appears to have abandoned its smartphone operating system ambitions.

The company’s Windows 10 chief has tweeted that developing new features and hardware for the Mobile version of the OS was no longer a “focus”.

Joe Belfiore added that he had also switched to Android himself.

Windows 10 Mobile tried to attract users by letting them run the same “universal apps” on both their PCs and handsets, but the concept failed to catch on.

The OS accounted for just 0.03% of the global market – based on smartphone shipments – between April and June, according to research company IDC.

The market intelligence provider said the news had been a long time coming.

Read more…

T-Mobile customer data plundered thanks to bad API

Ars Technica

A bug disclosed and patched last week by T-Mobile in a Web application interface allowed anyone to query account information by simply providing a phone number. That includes customer e-mail addresses, device identification data, and even the answers to account security questions. The bug, which was patched after T-Mobile was contacted by Motherboard’s Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai on behalf of an anonymous security researcher, was apparently also exploited by others, giving them access to information that could be used to hijack customers’ accounts and move them to new phones. Attackers could potentially gain access to other accounts protected by SMS-based “two factor” authentication simply by acquiring a T-Mobile SIM card.

The weakness of the application interface in question, which hosted on wsg.T-Mobile.com, had become so well known to cybercriminals that someone even created a tutorial video on YouTubeshowing how to exploit it, as Franceschi-Bicchierai reported. One source told him that the bug had been used in attempts to take over “desirable social media accounts.”

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Rising phone prices leads to boom in second-hand mobile market

Telegraph

The rising price of mobile phones has ushered in a burgeoning market for second-hand handsets, according to the UK’s biggest trade-in company.

Sales at Redeem, a Scottish group that recycles phones for mobile operators including Vodafone and O2, grew by 18pc last year to £95m.

Paul Adams, Redeem’s chief executive, said that sales of used mobile phones were booming even as those of new devices stagnates. Higher prices – the latest iPhone costs as much as £1,149 – means that owners are keen to make money back on phones even when they upgrade to newer models later on.

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Puerto Rico cell phone service to be restored by Google balloons

Guardian

The US Federal Communications Commission has approved Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc’s application to provide emergency cellular service to Puerto Rico through balloons.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico has struggled to regain communications services. The FCC said on Friday that 83% of cell sites remain out of service, while wireless communications company are deploying temporary sites.

Alphabet, which announced its Project Loon in 2013 to use solar-powered, high-altitude balloons to provide internet service in remote regions, said in an FCC filing it was working to “support licensed mobile carriers’ restoration of limited communications capability” in Puerto Rico.

Earlier on Friday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced he was forming a Hurricane Recovery Task Force with an emphasis on addressing challenges facing Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

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What Makes Apps Thrive in China’s Mobile Landscape

eMarketer

China’s unique social and economic conditions cause its mobile app landscape to differ from most other parts of the world, and apps with certain characteristics have a greater chance of going viral in the market. eMarketer’s Man-Chung Cheung spoke with Josh Ong, Cheetah Mobile’s director of global brand strategy and communications, about why some of China’s most popular apps rose to the top—and whether their success can be exported to other markets.

eMarketer: What are some of the fastest-growing app types in China?

Josh Ong: One of the top ones is short video apps like Douyin, Kuaishou and Huoshan. The social aspect of these apps creates a lot of virality for sharing videos. We’ve also found adoption not just in the mega-urban metropolis, but also in lower-tier cities and almost rural areas of China.

Bike-sharing apps have also exploded. Users have recognized that vehicle ownership is expensive, and getting around the city is important.

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Half of all viewing will be on mobile by 2020 and virtual reality is set for take off

City AM

Half of all viewing will take place on a mobile device by 2020, new research suggests, with smartphone screens accounting for half of them.

That’s a rise of more than 85 per cent in a decade, according to the annual ConsumerLab TV and Media report from Ericsson which surveys more than 20,000 people in 13 countries, including the UK.

The time we spend viewing TV and video, both online and traditionally, was found to have hit an all-time high at 30 hours a week.

The number of on-demand services has jumped from 1.6 in 2012 to 3.8 per person, on average, and a third of consumers expect their spending on them to increase within the next year.

And in just two years time, virtual reality is predicted to enter the mainstream, with one in three consumers using it.

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How fashion and beauty brands are using AI to drive mobile purchases

DigiDay

It’s become a common tale in e-commerce: Executives at retailers are discovering that traffic patterns don’t match revenue.

It’s what happened at DvF.com. “Mobile is at least 50 percent of our traffic, but not our revenue. To be honest, we all kind of gave up on fixing that,” said Felipe Araujo, the head of e-commerce at Diane von Furstenberg.

That was until a major rebrand last year, following the departure of Diane von Furstenberg as the creative director of her eponymous brand, when the DvF team overhauled its e-commerce site. With a new logo and designer, Jonathan Saunders, the brand needed a smarter online shopping experience to bolster the reboot. With a new site, Araujo prioritized improving product discovery and navigation on mobile, in order to turn that traffic into sales.

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IoT-linked wearables will help workers stay safe

Financial Times

The internet of things is supposed to make life simpler. Networked sensors and devices monitor everything from the traffic on your daily commute to the quality of the air you breathe . . . and whether you left on the lights as you rushed out of the house. IoT technology is increasingly being married to wearable devices to improve safety in industrial sectors including mining, oil and gas, manufacturing and transport.

Industry is looking hard at the new solutions, says Ramon T Llamas, research manager for wearables and mobile phones at International Data Corporation in Massachusetts. He says that initially such devices will provide a robust means for workers and employers to share urgent safety information.

He cites the example of SmartCap Technologies of Australia, which produces a “fatigue monitoring solution” to detect “microsleeps” in truck drivers and other operators of heavy machinery. The technology “monitors brain waves to make sure you aren’t falling asleep at the wheel and that your mental acuity is good enough that you’ll stay awake,” says Mr Llamas.

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Mobile location: bridging the gap between online and offline

Campaign

With brands allocating 25% of their marketing budget to mobile location targeting in 2017, and 50 billion devices predicted to be connected by 2020, mobile location targeting is both a valuable and increasingly important asset in any marketer’s arsenal.

Once limited to just a few data sources, now layers of data can be accessed, and, used correctly, mobile location could help bridge the all-important gap between the online and offline worlds.

Tackling the topic head-on, the IAB Mobile Location seminar, held on 27 September, outlined the potential for brands.

Mobile location data (MLD) is now much more than just a single location point. The best MLD should be applied using three important dimensions…

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Mobile continues to drive growth in Australian digital ad spend

The Drum

Mobile accounts for more than half (55.4%) of all digital advertising spend and is expected to reach $5.70bn by 2021, representing a 71.1% share of all digital advertising spend.

Australia’s total media advertising spend is forecast to reach $11.47bn this year, a 5.2% increase year-on-year. over last year.

Shelleen Shum, senior forecasting analyst at eMarketer, said, “Traditional media in Australia continues its inexorable decline in total advertising share as attention continues to shift toward digital screens.

“Digital advertising in recent years has been driven largely by the rise of video ads, especially on social platforms. Increased video offerings and better audience targeting have boosted the uptake of this ad format among advertisers.”

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