Find out the week’s mobile & tech stories from around the world.
This week.. SoftBank partners with India’s Paytm in Japan, Google CEO’s approach to deal with $5 Billion Android fine, spyware-laden ‘privacy’ extensions affect over 11 million users and much more…
It’s official: SoftBank partners with India’s Paytm to launch barcode-based payment service in Japan
Japanese internet conglomerate SoftBank on Friday confirmed the news of partnering with Indian financial services company Paytm to start a payments service. Yahoo Japan Corporation will also be a part of the joint venture.
According to a statement on SoftBank’s website, the joint venture will be called PayPay Corporation. The venture aims to launch PayPay smartphone payments service using barcodes (QR codes) in fall 2018, and will leverage Paytm’s payment technology for the same.
PayPay Corporation, SoftBank, Yahoo Japan, and Paytm will expand the number of users by including the customer base of SoftBank and Yahoo! Wallet, which comprises approximately 40 million accounts.
In his comments during Google’s latest earnings call yesterday, CEO Sundar Pichai shared an update on the company’s mobile operating system Android and his strategy on how he intends to respond to the European Commission’s decision to fine the company a massive $5 billion based on certain contractual provisions in agreements, signed between Google and Android partners, that infringed European competition law.
“10 years ago, we launched the first Android phone with a simple idea to build a mobile platform that’s free and open to everyone,” said Pichai. “Today, there are more than 24,000 devices at every price point from more than 1,300 different brands.”
Google’s CEO also pointed out that the Android ecosystem supports thousands of phone makers and mobile network operators who build and sell Android devices, as well as millions of app developers around the world who have built their businesses on Android, and billions of consumers who can now afford and use cutting-edge Android smartphones.
Researchers have discovered a collection of privacy-related apps and browser extensions that track users’ activity and send it to a remote server. The suspicious software has over 11 million users in total, and include extensions for Chrome and Firefox, as well as mobile apps for iOS and Android.
According to Andrey Meshkov of AdGuard, the extensions all appear to belong to one company: Big Star Labs. This isn’t immediately obvious because many of the apps are published under different names, and their privacy policies are only available as image files, which means the text can’t be indexed by Google. AdGuard was only able to find the connections by trawling through the policies manually.
It may have essentially become the backbone of modern life in China, but Wang Zizheng’s frustration with the lack of privacy eventually prompted him to quit WeChat.
“I rely on my intuition, and it tells me that finding mass surveillance unacceptable is the right attitude,” said 23-year-old Wang.
Tencent has previously denied violating its users’ privacy.
Most of the time, our smartphones are pretty much the only piece of modern technology we need. We can stream YouTube videos on the train, execute lightning-fast Google searches while galloping down the street in the rain, and sling photos to friends and followers like a Vegas poker dealer. Unless you’re trying to download the complete Lord of the Rings trilogy at a rest stop in central South Dakota, you’re probably in a pretty good place, connectively speaking.
But of course, that’s not good enough, is it? No, it’s actually not—but not just because those of us in the worst-offender category are indeed sucking down far more data than other, often without even realizing it. (Blame all those apps maintaining that steady hum of connectivity at all times.) It’s not good enough because everything around us is guzzling data, too. As sensors, smart devices, and connected gadgets proliferate, our collective need for data becomes greater and greater. Now fold cars into the mix—as is happening more and more, thanks to vehicular cell systems feeding navigation and search data to dashboard infotainment systems—you start to see just how many more bits and bytes we’re going to be needing to send and receive.
The secret to winning in India’s smartphone market, it turns out, is to bombard users with new launches.
After months of being relegated to second place by Chinese phone maker Xiaomi, Samsung is now back on top, all thanks to a new range of devices launched over the last few months. The South Korean brand ruled the market for years as an undisputed No. 1 until it was overtaken by Xiaomi in November 2017.
However, in the April-June 2018 quarter, Samsung regained its top spot with a 29% share compared to the 28% held by Xiaomi, according to data from Counterpoint Research.
The GSM Association (GSMA) has predicted that more than half the population of sub-Saharan Africa will be subscribed to mobile phone by 2025.
In its latest mobile economy report published at the just concluded GSMA ‘Mobile 360 – Africa’ event in Kigali, Rwanda, the association estimated that there will be 634 million unique mobile subscribers across sub-Saharan Africa by 2025, equivalent to 52% of the population.
John Giusti, the Chief Regulatory Officer at the GSMA, said, “For many citizens across the region, particularly those living in rural areas, a mobile phone is not just a communications device but also the primary channel for getting online and a vital tool for improving their lives.
Many marketers are aware how voice search is making up an increasing percentage of how consumers are finding information online, but almost a third have failed to do anything to address the changing landscape, according to new research from Greenlight Digital.
In a survey of over 200 digital marketers from across the UK, the study found that 29 per cent were not actively doing anything to change their practice to embrace voice search.
Widespread adoption of voice search shows no signs of slowing, with Canalys forcecasting 70 per cent year-on-year growth of smart speaker sales, with shipments reaching over 56m units this year. Over a third of marketers (36 per cent) acknowledge that this growth will have a fundamental impact on the way customers search for items.
If it ever seems like time spent on a social network is less than valuable, you’re likely not alone. The Best SAS, a French firm, is working to change that, and build a social network that comes complete with rewards for spending time therein.
The process by which it all happened is a bit arcane; PeopleBrowsr, a company out of San Francisco, sold its BestTLD Pty Ltd subsidiary to Paris-based The Best SAS. BestTLD actually owned the .best top level domain, and holds it via distribution agreements with GoDaddy and a massive rank of over 50 different domain registrars. After the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) agreed to the sale, The Best SAS now effectively owns the .best extension.