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

This week..  Amazon to Launch Mobile Ads, Instagram testing new Checkout feature, Facebook admits it stored ‘hundreds of millions’ of account passwords in plaintext and much more.

Amazon to Launch Mobile Ads, in a Threat to Google and Facebook

Bloomberg

Amazon.com Inc. has hit on a new way to grab a chunk of the $129 billion digital advertising market now dominated by Google and Facebook Inc.: sell video spots on the e-commerce giant’s smartphone shopping app.

Amazon has been beta testing the ads on Apple Inc.’s iOS platform for several months, according to people familiar with the plan. A similar product for Google’s Android platform is planned for later this year, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to share the information publicly.

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Instagram testing new Checkout feature that lets you shop within the app

Tech Radar

Instagram has announced that it’s testing a new feature called Checkout, which will allow users to buy products from fashion, beauty and other brands within the photo-sharing app.

In a blog post, Instagram said the feature is currently “in closed beta for businesses, and available to people in the US“, but hasn’t mentioned when Checkout will be rolled out to the rest of the world.

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Facebook admits it stored ‘hundreds of millions’ of account passwords in plaintext

Tech Crunch

Facebook confirmed Thursday in a blog post, prompted by a report by cybersecurity reporter Brian Krebs, that it stored “hundreds of millions” of account passwords in plaintext for years.

The discovery was made in January, said Facebook’s Pedro Canahuati, as part of a routine security review. None of the passwords were visible to anyone outside Facebook, he said. Facebook admitted the security lapse months later, after Krebs said logs were accessible to some 2,000 engineers and developers.

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Mobile health apps can pose unprecedented risk to consumers’ privacy

News Medical

Mobile health apps are a booming market targeted at both patients and health professionals. Medicines-related apps help patients track their prescriptions and remember to take their pills. They also provide drug information to help clinicians prescribe and administer medications.

However these apps also pose unprecedented risk to consumers’ privacy given their ability to collect user data, including sensitive information that is highly valuable to commercial interests, new research demonstrates.

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WhatsApp to Launch Payment Service in Brazil and Mexico

Nearshore Americas

Social media firm WhatsApp is reportedly preparing to launch a mobile payment service in Mexico and Brazil.

The news comes two months after Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, the social media giant that owns the messaging app, hinted at the expansion of its payment service to other countries.

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Netflix is testing a $3.64 mobile plan in India

Ars Technica

Netflix is testing a less expensive mobile-only plan in India, which may help it expand its userbase in the world’s second most populous nation. A small number of users are reportedly trying the plan, which, at 250 rupees (around $3.64) per month, is half the cost of its typical entry-level subscription there. They can only watch shows and movies in standard definition and on a single phone or tablet at once, according to the Economic Times.

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The cost of internet access dropped everywhere in the world last year—except in Africa

Quartz

The already high price of internet access got even more expensive for Africans over the past year.

With internet users on the continent already paying the highest prices for mobile data relative to average monthly income, new datafrom the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) shows the average price of a gigabyte (GB) of data (relative to income) has increased over the past year in Africa while dropping or staying same in other regions.

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The Amazing Ways Carnival Cruises Is Using IoT and AI To Create Smart Cities At Sea

Forbes

Even before you sail away on a Carnival cruise, the company operates more than 100 ships that travel to 740 destinations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Asia, and Australia; you get to experience breakthrough technology from the cruise company’s interactive customer experience initiatives. Using Internet of Things (IoT) technology, connected devices and artificial intelligence (AI), the company is on a quest to turn cruise ships into “smart cities at sea.”

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Slow mobile experiences impact brand’s connections with Asia Pacific consumers

The Drum

Mobile sites in the Asia Pacific meet industry best practices in only two out of five mobile consumer touch points in product pages and mobile design.

Other touch points like findability, which is how fast consumers can find products on a site, registration, and conversation, and speed of webpage loading ranked lower.

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Razer Announces Mobile Gaming Collaboration With Tencent

Variety

Gaming hardware and peripheral manufacturer Razer is partnering with Chinese technology giant Tencent to “bring the mobile gaming experience to the next level,” it announced on Thursday.

The two companies are planning to collaborate in three specific areas: hardware, software, and services. Tencent will work closely with Razer to optimize its mobile games for Razer’s hardware, including its smartphone and gaming controllers. They will also work to optimize Tencent games for Razer’s mobile game platforms and the Razer Cotex mobile game launcher.

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