Find out the week’s top mobile stories from around the world.
This week.. All the news mobile from CES 2018 in Las Vegas, Qualcomm president says Spectre/Meltdown are ‘not an area of concern for’ for mobile, Google unifies payment services and much more.
A classic riddle asks, “What’s everywhere and nowhere at the same time?” At CES 2018, the answer is 5G, the hugely important, just-approved standard for upcoming cellular devices. Days before the show began, companies told us 5G was important enough to touch all of their product announcements, and we expected to hear from all the major U.S. carriers, not to mention the world’s hardware manufacturers. But apart from some small-scale demos, there’s little in the way of 5G technology on the show floor.
The reason was explained during today’s CES panel discussion, Mobile innovation: How 5G will enable the future. Despite finalization of the 5G standard, a series of successful tests, and 2018 deployment plans from two of the four major U.S. carriers, the hardware is simply not ready yet. But it will be soon, so let’s go over what’s coming to the market.
CES may be all about consumer electronics, but sadly that doesn’t really include phones. Most companies hold off until the spring to unveil their newest handsets, and there hasn’t been a big Android splash at CES since Google unveiled the Nexus One back in 2010.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t any Android news coming out of Las Vegas this week. While the Intel-AMD love affair and Google Assistant-powered speakers might have snagged most of the headlines, Android fans still found enough cool things on the show floor to entertain them. Here’s a look at eight things you might have missed:
Lenovo’s Moto Mods were all the rage a year ago, but the fad isn’t completely over. During its keynote, Lenovo showed off two new magnetic Moto Mods for its Z2 Force and other Z phones: a long-awaited keyboard and a health monitor.
With the move to edge-to-edge screens and narrower bezels, there’s just no room to put a fingerprint sensor on the front of a phone anymore. Phone makers have moved them to the side or back, or removed them entirely.
But things don’t have to be this way. At CES 2018, Chinese phone maker Vivo showed off the world’s first phone with a fingerprint sensor embedded underneath the touchscreen.
Vivo’s been working on putting a fingerprint sensor underneath the screen for the last couple of years, and now it’s finally made one that’s ready for production.
The company had already announced last year it had developed the “in-display fingerprint scanning” technology for a prototype phone. That version used an ultra-sonic sensor and was created with support from Qualcomm.
Mobile VR has a reputation of being a sort of cheap, underwhelming experience. Samsung is rolling into CES trying its hardest to discourage that preconception. In the Grand Lobby of the Las Vegas Convention Center (right next to Engadget’s gorgeous stage), the company has the Samsung Galaxy Experience Zone. Here you can ski or snowboard down a virtual mountain, hurtle down a skeleton track or even fly through the air with dinosaurs. Each station is paired with additional paraphernalia, like a lateral ski trainer or rows of flight-sim seats, to bring the experience to life.
The most intense, though, is clearly the dinosaur flight sim. It’s the sort of simulator ride you’d typically see in a big amusement park. The Gear VR floods your vision with beautifully rendered dinos and Jurassic vistas, while the seat itself tilts, banks and — yes — even turns completely upside down. It is not recommended for those easily made nauseous by VR experiences (like yours truly). I spent half the ride with my eyes shut to keep from puking (and trying to ignore the pain of the harness crushing my bathing suit area). UK Bureau Chief Mat Smith seemed to enjoy it, though, (both the ride and my own suffering).
During a press conference at CES, Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon announced a number of new partnerships and products around the automobile industry, mobile, voice assistants and 5G. At the end of the event, though, he was also asked about his reaction to the Spectre/Meltdown security flaws that are haunting the chip industry. According to Amon, the impact on the mobile industry will probably not be very high because the fixes are already available and won’t have any major impact on performance.
Amon noted that the mobile ecosystem is unique and that Qualcomm and its partners released their first patches in December. “There are a few things that are unique about the mobile ecosystem,” he said about mobile security in general. “Users download from an app store. On top of that, the impact you had on Android and ARM — we had patches that got released as early as December to some OEMs.” He also praised Google and ARM for being proactive about quickly releasing solutions to their ecosystem.
Google just announced that it’s combining all of its different payment services, including Android Pay and Google Wallet, into one unified service, simply called Google Pay.
With the new system, payment information saved in your Google account will be available everywhere you use Google products: in Chrome for web purchases, in YouTube for renewing your subscriptions, in apps on Android for in-app purchases, and at retail outlets with NFC payments.
According to Google, apps like Airbnb, Dice, Fandango, HungryHouse, and Instacart already support Google Pay, with more sites and stores set roll out soon over the coming weeks.
While browsing on mobile apps online continue to be gaining a momentum, the rate of shopping cart abandonment on mobile are high – and it is all because of a phenomenon called ’emotional ambivalence.’
The fear of missing out on a good deal and concerns over privacy lead people to put items on hold, but then quit without paying, with 60% of US online shoppers reporting that they abandon an order solely due to the ‘costs being too high.’ Some 37% say they do so because they are being asked to ‘create an account’. So finds research by Baymard, based on 37 studies containing abandonment statistics calculated an average value of e-commerce shopping cart abandonment.
India as the fastest-growing proximity mobile payment market in the world. according to eMarketer’s latest report.
It claims nearly 30% of smartphone users in India will use their phones to pay for goods or services at the point-of-sale (POS) at least once per month in 2018. The digital payments industry in India increased after demonetization in India and was further empowered by government’s Digital India initiative. Digital payment company Paytm is leading the way when it comes to digital payments in India. It recently made push for QR code as primary mode for digital payments in India
Rahul Chadha, eMarketer’s Asia-Pacific analyst said: “Paytm’s wholehearted embrace of QR codes, along with government regulations designed to make the codes easier for consumers and merchants to use, are two factors that have the potential to dramatically hasten proximity mobile payment adoption in India.
For mobile marketing, 2018 holds the promise of inflection points — moments in which the business of digital advertising will significantly change. Major new contenders for advertising dollars are emerging. Shopping narratives are becoming increasingly nuanced and complex. And the very concept of the mobile device is shifting. The smartphone-based user experiences that the industry has known since the rise of the device are in flux yet again.
What it all comes down to is that the next 12 months will be a critical time for brands, publishers and every marketing partner that works to create meaningful consumer moments in the mobile space. Focusing on change, the following six factors will be key to successful marketing in the year to come.
Popular petitions are an integral, but impractical, part of Brazil’s already complex electoral system, which has been blamed for plunging the country into a political crisis. Such petitions in their current form present an intractable logistical problem: How to collect and verify signatures from 145 million voters across a landmass larger than the mainland United States?
Brazilian legislators now are turning to ethereum to solve that issue in one of the first uses of a cryptocurrency by a political system. The project is spearheaded by an unlikely pair: Ricardo Fernandes Paixão, a soft-spoken legislative adviser at the Brazilian congress and a university lecturer, and Everton Fraga, a nose-ring sporting designer and programmer with the Ethereum Foundation.
Both were in Cancún last fall, attending the annual conference for programmers interested in the ethereum world, DevCon.