Find out the week’s top mobile stories from around the world.
This week.. Malaysia probes massive data leak, Razer phone is a gaming powerhouse, ad fraud challenges China market and much more…
The Malaysian authorities are probing a mobile data breach involving more than 46 million users after attempts to sell the information surfaced online nearly two weeks ago.
Customer data of major Malaysian mobile telecommunications service providers, including Maxis, Celcom and Digi, as well as mobile virtual network operators, are believed to have been stolen between 2014 and 2015, according to an update by Lowyat.net, a local technology news website that first alerted the authorities to the security breach on Oct. 19.
The data, which include phone numbers, personal details and sim card information, were offered for undisclosed amounts of bitcoin in the website’s chat forums, alarming site administrator Vijandren Ramadass.
In addition to mobile data, databases belonging to the Malaysian Medical Council, a government body that supervises physicians, and the Malaysian Medical Association and the Malaysian Dental Association, appeared to have been hacked.
Gaming on smartphones is big business. So big that hardcore gaming firm Razer reckons there’s a better way to make a smartphone that’s good for games, but that you won’t be embarrassed to use in public.
Having started making precision mice and colourful keyboards for gaming, then successfully moving into performance laptops over the last five years, Razer believes that mobile is the next step in gaming.
Tom Moss, head of Razer’s mobile business, said: “We didn’t start out trying to make a gaming phone, but rather a phone for gamers. Something you wouldn’t be embarrassed about pulling out in public. And it had to have the highest performance both on paper and in real life benchmarks.”
Ad fraud remains one of the biggest challenges for mobile marketers in China, according to AppsFlyer Asia vice president Ronen Mense.
Mense told The Drum that ad fraud is one of the “biggest thorns in the side of marketers” in China, along with the market’s lack of a universal measurement tool and its unique Android landscape.
“Today’s mobile fraud takes many forms and demands a multi-layered approach to fraud protection, detection and prevention. While app marketers have tried to mitigate fraud in their campaigns by blacklisting IPs and the offending sub-publishers, fraudsters are constantly finding new ways to take a slice of the pie.”
Facebook’s financial performance continues to shine despite being in the spotlight over Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
The social media giant reported Wednesday that its quarterly revenue jumped to $10.3 billion, up from just over $7 billion in the year-ago period. That topped Wall Street forecasts of $9.8 billion and helped push Facebook shares up in after-hours trading. Net income rose 79 percent to $4.7 billion, compared with $2.6 billion a year ago.
Driven by strong ad sales for mobile devices and continuing user growth, Facebook shares have risen more than 60 percent in 2017, closing Wednesday trading at an all-time high of $182.66 and far outpacing gains for the S&P 500 and other major stock indices. Revenue from mobile ads now accounts for 88 percent of the company’s total ad revenue.
More than half of millennial Brits now regularly use their mobile phones to keep on top of their financial affairs, according to a Visa survey.
Of more than 2000 Brits quizzed, 38% carry out banking via an app on a regular basis, with this rising to 53% for 18 to 34 year olds. However, there is still some way to go for the mobile to become ubiquitous, with 31% of millennials never having used a banking app.
Meanwhile, UK consumers are also making use of the increased ability to quickly and securely make payments on their phone. Over a third have now made a peer-to-peer digital payment via a mobile device, with millennials again leading the way on 59%.
Sony Corp. reported Tuesday that its fiscal second quarter profit zoomed by 26-fold from the same period last year, augmented by the success of its image sensors and gaming products. Their highest ever profit ($1.15 billion) was attributed to thriving sales of image sensors used in smartphones and other devices.
The electronics firm forecast profit of JPY 630 billion ($5.57 billion) for the year ending March, from JPY 500 billion estimated three months ago.
Revenue recorded by the company’s Mobile Communications division primarily remained stagnant as compared to the same period last year.
The Greek cell phone market looks set to post a recovery this year, as a study conducted by the Athens University for Economics and Business for the association of mobile telephony companies (EEKT) pointed to a 1.4 percent increase in revenues from cell services in 2017 against last year.
The recovery is projected to continue in 2018, when a further rise of 1.9 percent is expected.
According to the survey’s figures, this is the first time the rate of cell phone service revenues has turned positive since 2008.
In 2016 it posted an annual decline of 1.3 percent, reaching 1.84 billion euros, against 1.86 billion in 2015, which shows the industry may well have just bottomed out.
Two U.K. banks today updated their mobile apps to support Face ID, the facial authentication feature exclusive to iPhone X, which officially launches on Friday, November 3.
Nationwide and Bank of Scotland became the first mobile banking apps in the U.K. to provide compatibility with Apple’s new facial recognition technology, which is set to replace Touch ID fingerprint authentication on all future iPhones and iPads, according to respected KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
The two banking apps already provide a Touch ID option to authenticate customers when they attempt to log in to their accounts, so the fact that Face ID is being offered as an alternative option shows that the financial sector has full trust in Apple’s new security technology, despite tests showing that it can be fooled by identical twins.
Instagram and WhatsApp’s Snapchat clones aren’t slowing down. Today Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Instagram Stories and WhatsApp Status both now have 300 million daily active users. That’s up from 250 million for Instagram in June, and WhatsApp in July. That makes the copies almost twice the size of the original, as Snapchat’s entire app only has 173 million daily active users. Zuckerberg shared the new stats today on Facebook’s Q3 earnings call that saw it earn record revenue and an all-time high share price despite the shadow of Russian election interference.
Now that most of Facebook products, including Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories and Messenger Day, have their own augmented reality face filters, they’ve hit a degree of feature parity with Snapchat. That means we may see more innovation now that there’s less of a Snap roadmap to follow. Though perhaps we’ll see Facebook copy Snapchat’s Bitmoji personalized avatars and Snap Map location-sharing feature. For example, Instagram just launched Superzoom to let you add dramatic zoom-ins to your videos, and is testing a Stop Motion feature.
If you visit a U.S. retailer’s website this holiday season, you’re most likely to do so on a mobile device.
More than half of visits to shopping sites — 54 percent — will come from smartphones and tablets, surpassing desktop computers for the first time, according to Adobe Analytics’ annual suite of online holiday retail predictions. Customers are still more likely to actually complete a purchase on desktop after looking on mobile, but that’s changing.
Mobile shopping will account for 34 percent of online purchase revenue, up from 30 percent last year. That means that mobile will have a bigger share of the predicted $107.4 billion in online holiday spending this year, up from $94.4 billion in 2016.