Find out the week’s top mobile stories from around the world.
This week.. the ‘First 5G mobile net connection’ has been claimed by Qualcomm, 5G is set to give a boost to European mobile business, are telcos providing your number, wearables add security to voice activated devices and much more…
Qualcomm has demonstrated mobile internet speeds of 1Gbps using a 5G smartphone chip.
The chipset manufacturer claims this is the first working 5G data connection on a mobile device.
The fifth generation of the mobile network does not yet exist, but it promises faster data speeds and more bandwidth to carry more web traffic.
Qualcomm is describing the demonstration as a “major milestone”, but one expert is playing it down.
1Gbps is equivalent to 1,000Mbps, and this speed would enable you to download a one-hour TV programme in HD from BBC iPlayer in less than six seconds.
We’re all set to get even faster network connectivity, and a third of Europeans will be turning to 5G by 2025, according to some new research.
This comes from industry body the GSMA, which found that Europe will be the second largest region in the world for 5G connections, clocking up 214 million connections by the middle of the next decade.
According to the report, the new technology will provide a boost for European operators. The region is the most heavily subscribed in the world, with a market penetration of 84% when it comes to mobile subscribers.
The large number of existing users means that there’s little room for new customers, so much of the providers’ efforts will focus on switching to new technologies.
You may remember that last year, Verizon (which owns Oath, which owns TechCrunch) was punished by the FCC for injecting information into its subscribers’ traffic that allowed them to be tracked without their consent. That practice appears to be alive and well despite being disallowed in a ruling last March: companies appear to be able to request your number, location, and other details from your mobile provider quite easily.
The possibility was discovered by Philip Neustrom, co-founder of Shotwell Labs, who documented it in a blog post earlier this week. He found a pair of websites which, if visited from a mobile data connection, report back in no time with numerous details: full name, billing zip code, current location (as inferred from cell tower data), and more. (Others found the same thing with slightly different results depending on carrier, but the demo sites were taken down before I could try it myself.)
Back in the film photography days, different films produced distinct “looks”—say, light and airy or rich and contrasty. An experienced photographer could look at a shot and guess what kind of film it was on by looking at things like color, contrast, and grain.
We don’t think about this much in the digital age; instead, we tend to think of raw digital files as neutral attempts to recreate what our eyeballs see. But, the reality is that smartphone cameras have intense amounts of processing work happening in the background.
Engineers are responsible for guiding that tech to uphold an aesthetic. The new Google Pixel 2 phone uses unique algorithms and a dedicated image processor to give it its signature style.
Voice activated systems in mobile devices, homes and vehicles are becoming more widespread but sound is an open-channel and such systems can be breached by third parties via mediocre impersonators and sophisticated hackers alike.
To counter this, engineers at the University of Michigan have developed voice verification technology that can be embedded in a necklace, ear buds or eyeglasses.
“Increasingly, voice is being used as a security feature but it actually has huge holes in it,” said Kang Shin, the Kevin and Nancy O’Connor Professor of Computer Science and professor of electrical engineering and computer science at U-M. “If a system is using only your voice signature, it can be very dangerous. We believe you have to have a second channel to authenticate the owner of the voice.”
Aussies were slugged with $259 million in excess mobile data charges in the last 12 months, almost double the year before, as they continue to embrace mobile broadband as a replacement for struggling fixed-line connections.
Finder.com.au’s 2017 Excess Data Charges Report reveals that 19.6 per cent of Australian adults regularly exceed their monthly mobile data allowance, rising from 13.4 per cent in 2016 and only 5.6 per cent in 2015.
The nation’s appetite for mobile broadband continues to grow, with a 44.5 per cent leap in mobile data usage in the last financial year, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australians chewed through 175,076 terabytes via mobile broadband in the three months ending June 30, equating to an average of 2.2 gigabytes per month across the country’s 26.3 million mobile services.
Even though TV is the media driving the greater part of ad investments in Brazil (55%), video advertising has been advancing fast, according to the latest IAB Brazil’s ebook on the local video ad market. Of the R$11.8bn (£2.82bn) invested in digital advertising, 19% goes to video ads and 32.5% goes to social media and display. Almost half of the market (48.5%) still belongs to search and price comparison platforms.
IAB Brazil emphasises that, due to technology and consumer behaviour adjustments, this scenario is likely to change in the next few years. In the country, 86% of internet users watch video content, and 36% do so at least once a day (source: comScore Video Metrix, 2015). More than half of the time spent watching videos is on smartphones (55%), and until 2020, 75% of global mobile traffic will be video content (Google).
Between the release of Windows 10 Fall Creators Edition and the announcement of a new Surface Book, today’s Microsoft news was firmly focused on the desktop. But as the company works to build its future ecosystem, it’s keenly aware that no play in the space is complete without a mobile strategy. What shape that strategy will take, however, has been pretty unclear in the wake of Windows Phone’s long, drawn-out death.
Earlier this month, the company appeared to pronounce its proprietary mobile platform dead for good, as one time Windows Phone proselytizer Joe Belfiore threw in the towel on Twitter, declaring that “building new features/hardware aren’t the focus” after years of trying and trying again to make a vertically integrated, Windows-based smartphone business model work.
In a conversation with TechCrunch to mark the launch of today’s news, Microsoft Windows and Devices Group EVP Terry Myerson shed more light on Microsoft’s way forward in mobile.
Mobile advertising and the privacy concerns associated with it have been a topic of discussion for a long time. We know large companies have a lot of data on their customers. But when it comes to how much information a company knows about you, as an individual, the specifics are not what you might think.
A new study by the University of Washington has found it is not just big businesses with millions of customers that can gather data on someone. Anyone with $1,000 (£760) to spare can use mobile ads to track someone’s specific location.
“Regular people, not just impersonal, commercially motivated merchants or advertising networks, can exploit the online advertising ecosystem to extract private information about other people, such as people that they know or that live nearby,” the study says.
Calling and sending text messages across African borders are set to become cheaper following a decision by regional integration blocs to abolish roaming charges.
The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the East African Community (EAC) are working on mechanisms that will see up to 40 African countries harmonise roaming charges across the board.
This was revealed at the 10th meeting of the Ministers of the 19 Comesa countries in Lusaka.
“Although the pricing of voice services in many African countries was becoming competitive and comparable with the rest of the world, the cost of broadband continued to be out of reach for most people,” said the ministers’ report.