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

This week..  Facebook is building its own operating system, location tracking privacy exposé, Ofcom to ban selling ‘Locked’ phones and much more…

Facebook is building an operating system so it can ditch Android

Tech Crunch

Facebook  doesn’t want its hardware like Oculus or its augmented reality glasses to be at the mercy of Google because they rely on its Android operating system. That’s why Facebook has tasked Mark Lucovsky, a co-author of Microsoft’s Windows NT, with building the social network an operating system from scratch, according to The Information’s Alex Heath. To be clear, Facebook’s smartphone apps will remain available on Android.

“We really want to make sure the next generation has space for us,” says Facebook’s VP of Hardware, Andrew ‘Boz’ Bosworth. “We don’t think we can trust the marketplace or competitors to ensure that’s the case. And so we’re gonna do it ourselves.”

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Twelve Million Phones, One Dataset, Zero Privacy

New York Times

EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY DAY, everywhere on the planet, dozens of companies — largely unregulated, little scrutinized — are logging the movements of tens of millions of people with mobile phones and storing the information in gigantic data files. The Times Privacy Project obtained one such file, by far the largest and most sensitive ever to be reviewed by journalists. It holds more than 50 billion location pings from the phones of more than 12 million Americans as they moved through several major cities, including Washington, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

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Ban On Mobile Companies Selling ‘Locked’ Phones Planned By Watchdog


Ofcom says it plans to introduce a ban on mobile companies selling phones that are “locked” in order to help consumers switch network providers with more ease.

The watchdog explained that when firms including Tesco Mobile, Vodafone and BT/EE sell mobile phones, the devices cannot be used on other mobile networks unless they have been unlocked. However, unlocking these phones can incur a charge of around £10, which can be off-putting for customers.

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Congress slaps robocallers with $10,000 penalty—per call

Ars Technica

The US Senate unanimously passed legislation Thursday that aims to end the scourge of robocalls. The TRACED Act had already passed the House of Representatives, so it’s now headed to President Donald Trump’s desk for signature.

The new legislation allows federal authorities to seize the profits of robocall operators and assess an additional penalty of up to $10,000 per call. It also pushes telephone companies to implement SHAKEN and STIR, a suite of authentication protocols that will help crack down on the fight against robocalls.

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Cellular IoT’s Top 400 Projects Account for 279 Million Devices

Light Reading

The largest 400 cellular IoT projects in the world accounted for approximately 279 million active IoT devices globally at the end of 2018, according to Analyst firm Berg Insight.

“The projects included in the top 400 list together account for approximately 279 million active cellular IoT subscriptions,” Rickard Andersson, principal analyst at Berg Insight, said in a statement. Andersson adds that this corresponds to as much as 23% of the total number of cellular IoT connections worldwide at the end of 2018.

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Google: All Android users in the US just got RCS next-gen SMS


Google says it has completed its US rollout of Rich Communication Services (RCS) to Android users in the US, bringing Apple iMessage-like chat features to its mobile platform.

The company began rolling out RCS broadly to US users in November via the Google Messages app. Users would need to enable chat features from an app update distributed via the Google Play Store, Google said at the time.  Google’s product management director for Messages and Duo, Sanaz Ahari, says that users will need to also update the Google Carrier Services app to enable the new chat features.

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HTC to Increase Focus on Blockchain Phones, AI After New Staff Cuts


Taiwanese phone manufacturer HTC confirmed earlier this week that it would axe jobs to remain competitive and better focus on a handful of high-end products, including the EXODUS, its blockchain phone.

HTC, which has around 3,000 employees, has not disclosed the scale of the lay-offs or the departments that will be most affected, according to a report from Taiwan News. This will be the third round of job cuts staff at the phone manufacturer have faced in the past five years. The company let go 2,250 employees in 2015, and cut a further 1,500 in July 2018.

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Despite Stormy Decade, Facebook Continues to Lead in Mobile Advertising and App Businesses


Facebook had a rather tumultuous decade but it can laugh its way into 2020 as the most successful mobile advertising company in the world. In a recently published mobile app data report, four Facebook-owned applications were ranked among the top most-downloaded and used applications between 2011-2019. App tracker and social media analytics company AppAnnie ranked Facebook app, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram as top mobile apps.

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How Apple Arcade changed mobile gaming in 2019


In 2019, Apple took steps beyond premium device hardware and software and firmly established itself as a services powerhouse — particularly when it comes to gaming. The tech giant came out swinging in September with its dedicated gaming subscription service, Apple Arcade. With a $4.99 (£4.99, AU$7.99) monthly subscription, users get access to over 100 games that are playable on iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Apple TV. Some games have started rolling out for Mac as well.

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Next-gen ATM’s, mobile banking and the future of cash access

Mobile Payments Today

In late 2018, the ATM Industry Association launched the next-gen project, which now consists of hundreds of global ATM companies working together to define a vision for the future of ATMs.

In this article, which part of a series on the next-gen ATM, we spoke to Donna Embry, SVP of global payment strategies at Evolve Bank & Trust, to learn more about the role she plays in the project.

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