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

This week..  stolen Apple IDs reportedly used for mobile payment theft in China, everything Google announced at its October 9 event, Facebook’s launch of Portal stymied by trust issues and much more.

Stolen Apple IDs reportedly used for mobile payment theft in China


Users of two major mobile payment services in China — Alipay and WeChat Pay — have reported unauthorized Apple App Store spending in recent days, with some losing nearly $300 through fraudulent transactions. The companies say that stolen Apple IDs are to blame, the Wall Street Journalreports, and Alipay has asked Apple to investigate. In the meantime, Alipay is telling its customers to minimize potential losses by reducing how much money can be used from their accounts without a password.

While both Alipay and WeChat have acknowledged the issue, it’s unclear how many users have been affected. But with around 1.5 billion users between the two, quite a few people could be at risk. The problem appears to arise when users link their Apple ID to their payment method, though there’s no word on how the Apple IDs were stolen or by whom.

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Here’s everything Google announced at its October 9 event

Digital Trends

That’s all she wrote, Google’s October 9 event has wrapped. It was short but sweet and Google made sure to tell us exactly what we were going to see right at the start. Unfortunately for fans of suspense, there were no surprises but what we did see was some amazing tech. The two new Pixel 3 models, the Pixel Slate convertible laptop, and the all-encompassing Google Home Hub.

From the Google Pixel 3 range to the Google Home Hub, here’s everything that Google announced at its October 9 event.

Google might have left the newest entry into the Pixel lineup until last, but we simply couldn’t kick this post off with anything other than the Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3 XL.

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How light could help superfast mobile reach even further


The global race towards superfast “fifth generation” mobile internet, known as 5G, is entering a key phase. The trouble is no-one knows exactly which technologies will be best for offering such a service. But one telecoms firm may just have had a light-bulb moment.

At its headquarters in Slough, O2 has installed an unusual demo. It’s a room where a wireless internet connection is provided not through wi-fi, but li-fi – a system that transmits data through light waves rather than radio waves.

The mobile operator thinks the system may help to offer 5G speeds in certain locations where getting coverage from an outdoor mobile signal is difficult.

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Facebook’s launch of Portal has been stymied by trust issues

The Verge

Facebook is a powerful phone book, but it long ago opted against building a phone. There were good reasons not to build a phone. One, the risk of failure was high — at the time, Windows Phone was sputtering, and the iOS/Android duopoly looked increasingly impenetrable. Two, it would have put Facebook in direct competition with Google and Apple, risking an ugly conflict with the two biggest platforms on which the company depends.

But in search of new growth, Facebook ultimately came back around to the idea of building its own hardware — and, in a way, back to the phone. First came the Oculus acquisition, which turned Facebook into a manufacturer of virtual-reality gear. And today comes Portal, a video phone that runs on Facebook Messenger. Here’s my colleague Jake Kastrenakes with the gist:

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Mobile money transactions in Somalia are overtaking Kenya, but there are significant risks


A recent World Bank report showed that Somalia has one of the most active mobile money markets in the world, outpacing most other countries in Africa. It’s even superseded the use of cash in the country of 14 million people. Victor Owuor asked Tim Kelly, an information and communications technology policy specialist at the World Bank and the report’s author, to explain the findings and what they mean for the country.

Why is mobile money so successful in Somalia?

Mobile money initially started as a simple exchange of airtime credit between users. Over ten years ago, mobile network operators formalised this by offering mobile money services. It was quickly perceived as a convenient and safe way of making transactions and storing money.

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Are you talking data in the mobile-first world?

The Drum

‘The year of mobile’ has become more like the decade of mobile. The term ‘mobile first’ has probably featured in every marketing strategy created in the last few years and yet it still doesn’t quite feel as if the industry has quite hit the (mobile) nail on the head. At The Drum Arms at Advertising Week New York, we sat down with a panel of experts to better understand whether we really are living in the year of mobile, what the barriers to success for clients truly adopting a ‘mobile first’ approach and what really matters when it comes to measurement.

The panel, in association with Ogury, talked about how our devices today have become an extension of ourselves and for advertisers, and whether they have the ability to influence the customer journey through the entire purchase cycle – both offline and online?

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Is Mobile Phone Gaming Taking Over From Console Gaming?


Is mobile gaming taking over from console gaming? A poll of male and female gamers by U.K.-based mobile strategy agency Tappable has found that the smartphone is now the preferred gaming device of 42% of gamers. Of the rest, 32% preferred consoles and 26% the PC.

Tappable founder Sam Furr believes that ease of use is the driver behind mobile’s encroachment into the gaming space. “Convenience has played a huge part,” he says. “You can take your mobiles with you and dip in and out across the day. We’ve seen this theory validated with the Nintendo Switch, a hybrid between console and mobile, giving you the best of both worlds.

“Secondly, given the processing power, and the graphical ability of mobile devices nowadays, plus the vast expanse of games available, over the last five to seven years, mobile gaming has advanced almost beyond recognition. Mobile games have the capability to feature in-depth stories, character development, massive online 3D worlds and immersion through augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).

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WhatsApp fixes booby-trap video call bug


Answering a booby-trapped video call via the WhatsApp messaging service could force the app to crash and close, a security expert has found.

The bug was a “big deal” said researcher Tavis Ormandy, who is part of the team that found it.

It was found in the messaging service’s apps used on Android and Apple smartphones.

The software loophole was discovered in late August and fixed in early October, said WhatsApp’s owner Facebook.

Natalie Silvanovich, a member of a team Google set up to hunt for vulnerabilities in widely-used software, discovered the WhatsApp weakness.

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From AR to bendy screens: What’s next for mobile advertising?


In 2018, the global mobile internet population stands at some 3.7 billion unique users, and users spend a reported 69% of their media time on mobile devices.
The statistics have never been clearer about why advertisers need to be present on mobile. But far too many advertisers still view mobile as an “add-on”, according to Chris Childs, Managing Director UK at TabMo, a creative mobile demand-side platform.

“I’d like to see mobile advertising become more thought-of, more bespoke, and less of an add-on,” he says. “At the moment, we’re still seeing a situation where most of programmatic marketing spend is going through cross-channel platforms, which don’t cater to each channel individually. A lot of the ad formats that are being run were designed for desktop – even though mobile has more usage now than desktop. In my eyes, that’s crazy.

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Does Your Phone Really Need A Creepy Robot Finger Attached To It?


A French researcher has invented a robot finger that attaches to your mobile phone. It can wriggle across your desk. It can stroke your hand. And guess what? It’s creepy. No, really, watch the video. Creepy, see?
He wants to know why.

“My PhD subject is around touch in communications,” explains Marc Teyssier, a researcher at Telecom Paristech engineering school. “When we talk with people in real life we touch each other to communicate emotions, for example a stroke on the arm, or stuff like that. But for mobile devices and interaction in general in computers, we don’t use touch at all. So my starting point was: how can we bring touch in human-computer interfaces?”

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