Find out the week’s top mobile stories from around the world.
This week.. predictions for the mobile world in 2018, Uber sued for “fraudulent” mobile ads, mobile health app numbers are up, Samsung’s new smart glasses help vision loss… and much more.
Apple’s iPhones, iPads and Mac computers are all vulnerable to the major processor flaws revealed on Wednesday, the company has warned, but it says updates are already available.
The flaws known as Meltdown and Spectre affect almost every modern computing device from all manufacturers using chip designs from Intel, AMD and ARM. Apple uses Intel processors in its Mac computers and ARM-based designs for its A-series processors used in the iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Apple Watchlines.
Apple said: “All Mac systems and iOS devices are affected, but there are no known exploits impacting customers at this time.”
A British mobile advertising agency has sued Uber to force the ride-hailing company to pay millions of dollars of bills that Uber had refused to pay after claiming that ads being generated were fraudulent.
Fetch Media filed its lawsuit on Tuesday in the same California federal court where Uber had sued Fetch in September, accusing the agency of billing it for nonexistent, nonviewable or fraudulent ads, and failing to pass back rebates and commissions.
Uber voluntarily dismissed that lawsuit on 22 December, two weeks after the case was reassigned to US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, and said it would instead pursue related claims in a San Francisco state court.
Mobile health app numbers almost doubled in the two years from 2015 to exceed 318,500, with more than 200 new apps launched every day, according to a new report.
The work, by the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, also found a significant increase in the proportion of mobile health apps that focus on health conditions and patient care, as opposed to those for general wellness.
Though still in the minority, health condition management apps now account for 40% of all health-related apps, up from 27% in 2015.
The study, The Growing Value of Digital Health: Evidence and Impact on Human Health and the Healthcare System, was based on the 22,357 unique healthcare apps available in the US Apple iTunes and Android app stores.
One of the biggest events poised to shake up the mobile marketing and SEO world in 2018 is the roll-out of Google’s Mobile-first Index. Though an exact timeline has yet to be revealed, Google has indicated that the Index will launch sometime in 2018.
For those who may not be familiar with it, the Mobile-first Index will change the way Google delivers search engine results. Historically, Google has reviewed websites from the perspective of a desktop user. It looks at hundreds of signals from content quality to links pointing to your site to load time (and many more) to evaluate millions of web pages.
With the rollout of the Mobile-first Index, the search engine will index the web from the point of view of a mobile user, using the mobile version of a site as its primary search engine index.
Internet Retailing digs into what 2018 will bring to the world of mobile retail, with insights from experts and analysts how mobile shopping is set to change in the year ahead.
Highlights include the increasingly smart use of customers’ personal data and setting and managing their expectations throughout the shopping journey: “Beware, though, that what initially delights the customer quickly becomes their basic expectation, ” warns Matthew Robertson, Co-CEO, NetDespatch. “Continuous improvement and innovation is the keynote of this industry and retailers will need to keep building their capability to avoid falling behind customer expectations that continue to grow ever higher.”
The predictions touch on increased use cases enchanting the mobile shipping experience including use of AR and VR, mobile scanning and payments, proximity marketing, AI and the rise of conversational commerce…
A Brazilian state agency responsible for consumer issues notified Apple Inc (AAPL.O) on Wednesday that it must explain how Brazilian owners of iPhones will be able to buy battery replacements at lower prices.
Procon-SP, an agency in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil’s richest and most populous, said in a statement it notified Apple that it has 10 days to provide the information.
The agency said Apple employees refused to sign the notification, but Procon considered the company notified. The agency did not say what could happen if Apple does not comply, but it has the power to fine or propose legal action against companies for causing losses to consumers.
Last October, Facebook extended the usage (and flexibility) of Instagram Stories — the Snapchat-like feature that lets you patch together photos and videos into a slide show — by making it easy to directly post a Story to Facebook. Now Facebook is looking at how to bring WhatsApp into the fold.
TechCrunch has learned and confirmed that the company is now running a test to let users post their Instagram Stories directly to WhatsApp, as a WhatsApp Status, a corresponding Snapchat-like feature in the latter messaging app where decorated photos, videos and GIFs can be posted with encryption, disappearing after 24 hours. An Instagram Story posted as a WhatsApp Status also becomes encrypted like the rest of WhatsApp.
“We are always testing ways to improve the experience on Instagram and make it easier to share any moment with the people who matter to you,” a spokesperson said.
This was a big year for tech. Twitter users finally broke free of their 140-character chains, while Tesla made good on its electric car for the people in the Model 3. The Wannacry ransomware attack became one of the most disruptive cyberattacks in history, and three commissioners on the FCC lead by Chairman Ajit Pai (at least temporarily) repealed Obama-era net neutrality rules.
Good news or not, it was a busy year in tech. 2018 looks no different, and we’re already watching some important tech trends that we expect to make waves in the new year. But first, let’s see how we did in predicting what we would be talking about in 2017.
The smart home finally seemed to take off in 2017, and indeed without the “smart hub” as we had predicted in late 2016. Why? Blame Amazon.
Samsung’s Creative Lab program lets employees explore new projects and spin off startup ideas, making devices that come out of the program intriguing. At CES next week, C-Lab will show off a few new projects, including Samsung’s Relúmĭno smart glasses, which focus on helping those with vision impairments see more clearly.
The spectacles are the first device to build on Samsung’s Relúmĭno mobile app that debuted during last year’s Mobile World Congress. The smart glasses work in conjunction with the mobile app (so your smartphone does most of the work) to improve different visual situations that pose problems for those with eyesight issues.
The glasses’ “regular mode” makes blurry images clearer by deciphering the outlines of objects in the person’s view and making them more prominent.
AT&T said on Thursday it will roll out next generation 5G mobile internet in a dozen U.S. cities by late 2018.
America’s second-largest wireless carrier said it expects to be the first U.S. company to introduce the technology if its timeline is achieved.
AT&T’s announcement comes after international 5G standards were agreed in December by 3GPP, the body that develops and governs cellular standards.
“We’re moving quickly to begin deploying mobile 5G this year and start unlocking the future of connectivity for consumers and businesses,” Melissa Arnoldi, president of AT&T technology and operations, said in a press release on Thursday.
Already China’s most-used app, WeChat wants to make itself even more ubiquitous by allowing people to find and play games inside the messaging app.
WeChat, which has nearly a billion users, today rolled out a handful of what it calls “mini games.” They’re specially created games that work only within WeChat and don’t require downloading or installing.
When you get your score, you’ll also see a leaderboard among your WeChat buddies who’ve played the game as well.
I counted 16 mini games within WeChat from a variety of publishers, including Tencent Poker by WeChat parent company Tencent.