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

This week.. Black Friday set to be the biggest mobile shopping day ever, Android Pay launches in Brazil, Honda’s connected cars will communicate over 5G and much much more…

Black Friday will be the biggest mobile shopping day ever in the U.S., forecast claims


A new report from App Annie predicts that time spent doing mobile shopping via apps will grow 45 percent in the U.S. during the week of Black Friday, compared to the same time two years ago. The firm also expects revenue generated through apps to break new records this season, and says consumers will spend over 6 million hours shopping in the top 5 digital-first apps on Black Friday alone.

App Annie’s forecast is based on data from Android devices in the U.S., as it doesn’t have visibility into iOS in the same way.

The news follows an earlier forecast claiming mobile shopping visits will top the desktop for the first time this holiday season.

According to App Annie, the 6 million-plus hours spent on Black Friday in the top five digital-first apps (e.g. apps from companies like Amazon, Wish, Etsy and Zulily that only exist online) represents a 40 percent increase over just last year.

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Android Pay launches in Brazil, its first Latin American market


Google has launched Android Pay in Brazil and the Czech Republic, the 16th and 17th countries, respectively, to get the internet giant’s mobile payments service.

We already knew that Android Pay would land in Brazil sometime in 2017, and today’s launch comes just a few weeks after Android Pay arrived in the Ukraine. There have also been a number of other major market launches this year, including Russia, Canada, and Spain, and Android Pay is scheduled to roll out in Slovakia shortly.

Brazil represents a major launch for Android Pay, not only because the country has a huge population of more than 200 million but also because it’s the first Latin American market to gain access to the service.

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Honda’s connected cars will communicate over 5G


When it’s not busy making billion-dollar acquisitions to expand its roboticsline-up, Japanese mobile carrier SoftBank is pursuing its other hobby: smart cars. Central to this endeavour is its partner, and fellow Japan native, Honda.

Last year, the two announced plans to make cars emotive using cloud-based tech based on SoftBank’s Pepper robot (think Knight Rider’s KITT). The fruits of that colloboration are beginning to emerge, in the guise of the auto-maker’s AI-assisted NeuV and Sports EV concepts.

With the clock ticking down to Honda’s 2025 deadline for driverless cars, the duo are moving on to the next phase in their connected cars project, which is all about 5G.

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Nearly All Mobile Traffic Originates on Smartphones in Emerging Markets


There are some significant differences in the way users in emerging markets access the mobile web, according to new data from ScientiaMobile.

The device detection firm found that nearly all of mobile web traffic in regions like Asia-Pacific and South America originated on smartphones in Q3 2017.

While smartphones also accounted for the majority of mobile web traffic in more mature regions, tablets had a stronger presence there. For example, tablets made up 16.0% of mobile web traffic in North America in Q3 2017, compared with just 2.0% in Asia-Pacific.

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Google brings on-device machine learning to mobile with TensorFlow Lite


Google’s recent preview release of its open-source TensorFlow Lite software for machine learning developers signifies an exciting shift in the field of AI. The company’s dedication to developing AI capable of running algorithms on a mobile device — without connecting to the cloud — is laying the groundwork for the artificial intelligence of things (AioT) of the future.

As far as consumer products go, Google Assistant, Alexa, and Siri are among the most popular uses of AI in the mainstream. For as little as $30 or $40 a person can get their own interactive artificial intelligence – as long as they also have WiFi and somewhere to plug in a charger.

TensorFlow Lite represents the nascent steps on the path toward making AI-powered devices not just accessible, but disposable. It’s the death of buttons.

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20 Percent of Mobile Cryptocurrency Malware Attacks Are In the US


As the value of cryptocurrencies continues to rise, criminals are finding ways to get some digital money while offloading the expense to unsuspecting victims. The latest tactic: tricking Android users into downloading legitimate-looking apps that are packed with code that “mines” digital currencies for a hacker without their knowledge.

“With mining, it’s kind of like letting a stranger live in a van across the street and have access to your internet connection and your power subscription,” said James Nguyen, mobile product manager for cybersecurity firm Symantec, over the phone.

Trend Micro, another infosec firm, reported last week that mining malware masquerading as religious apps and more litter the Google Play store for Android devices. According to Symantec, the problem might get worse soon if criminals realize they can make a buck.

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OnePlus responds to privacy fears after hacker mode found on its phones

Digital Trends

A special app has been discovered installed on OnePlus smartphones that, in the hands of a skilled hacker, could allow unauthorized access to the entire device. The app, which is produced by Qualcomm, is known as EngineerMode, and is designed to assist with tests, fault finding, and other prerelease checks while the phone is at the factory. With some code and a password, however, hackers could treat EngineerMode as a “backdoor,” to your phone, making it a serious security problem.

The app was discovered on OnePlus phones by a mobile security researcher on Twitter, who goes by the pseudonym Elliot Alderson (also the name of the main character in USA Network’s hacker series Mr. Robot). With the assistance of researchers at NowSecure, Alderson cracked the password to EngineerMode, demonstrating its weaknesses and the relative ease anyone familiar with the app, and Android’s workings, could gain root access to a OnePlus phone.

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The mobile phone is still changing the game in Africa


It is easy to glaze over the impact of the mobile phone in Africa, particularly Sub-Saharan Africa. It seems already well-established by all those presentations you’ve probably seen showing farmers getting their produce to the market on time thanks to SMS and a 2G Nokia phone. But mobile telephony’s impact in the region remains very much at an early stage and always worth reevaluating.

Between now and 2023, mobile subscriptions in the region are predicted to grow by an average of 6% a year to just under 1 billion from 700 million today, according to an upcoming report from telecommunications supplier Ericsson. Mobile broadband subscriptions are forecast to grow by 16% a year to 880 million by 2023 from 350 million today.

These big numbers may feel inevitable. But size matters and not just because telecoms suppliers can sell more kit to mobile operators. Nearly every other story we cover in Africa is determined or affected by the role of mobile telephony.

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57% of mobile gamers are more likely to watch a rewarded video ad during the holiday season

Pocket Gamer Biz

57% of mobile gamers are more likely to watch a rewarded video ad during the holiday season than at other times in the year, according to Tapjoy.

The rewarded mobile ad platform has released its report on the “modern mobile gamer” entitled The Marketer’s Guide to Holiday Gaming Trends. It surveyed 20,929 mobile game players in the US and EMEA during October 2017 to gather its data.

80% of those surveyed claimed they play games more often during the holiday season, while 30% of respondents said they play for an additional three hours or more each day. 11% of respondents claimed they would play for an additional five hours a day.

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Snapchat filters ads now target people – not just places

Advertising Age

Brands can now apply more-advanced targeting tools to Snapchat photo filter campaigns, enabling them to reach select audiences and experiment more with the creative messaging, the company says.

The messaging and media app is calling the new tool, which arrives Tuesday, “audience filters.” Instead of just hitting a specific location (which is what its geofilter does), brands can target based on interests, time of day, age, gender and other technical criteria.

“This signals that Snapchat is willing to start to do more for advertisers,” says Aaron Goldman, CMO of 4C Insights, a Snapchat ads platform partner. “Reaching someone when you know they’re at your store, that’s farming. Audience filters—that’s more like hunting.”

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