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

This week.. Vodafone pulls out of Facebook currency play, Google’s latest measurement restrictions make life hard for mobile marketers, the fear of ubiquitous surveillance, how IoT betrays us and much more…

Vodafone pulls out of Facebook currency play

Mobile World Live

Vodafone Group became the latest high-profile backer to withdraw from Facebook’s Libra Association, dealing another blow to the struggling cryptocurrency project.

The operator followed Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, Stripe and eBay in pulling out of the Association, which will manage and promote Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency and mobile wallet Calibra.

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Google’s Latest Measurement Restrictions Will Make Life Harder for Mobile Marketers


Amid heightened pressure to meet public demand for data privacy, Google has quietly gone about implementing further restrictions within its vast marketing ecosystem. And this time, mobile app marketers will feel the pinch.

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The Apps on My Phone Are Stalking Me

New York Times

There is much about the future that keeps me up at night — A.I. weaponry, undetectable viral deepfakes, indefatigable and infinitely wise robotic op-ed columnists — but in the last few years, one technological threat has blipped my fear radar much faster than others.

That fear? Ubiquitous surveillance. I am no longer sure that human civilization can undo or evade living under constant, extravagantly detailed physical and even psychic surveillance; as a species, we are not doing nearly enough to avoid always being watched or otherwise digitally recorded.

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How IoT betrays us: Today, Sonos speakers. Tomorrow, Alexa and electric cars?


Earlier this week, Sonos notified customers it would end support for a number of its legacy products released in the first 10 years of its existence, including the popular first-generation PLAY:5 speakers. But some of these affected products were still on the market as late as 2015, such as the Connect and Connect:Amp, which would make them only five years old from the date of purchase.

On Thursday, January 23, due to huge backlash from customers and the technology media, the CEO, Patrick Spence, authored a corporate blog post apologizing for this end of support and stated that the company would, in fact, support its older products with bug and security fixes beyond May of 2020 even if new feature updates were not possible.

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Overseas retailers embrace Chinese mobile payments


China’s rapidly growing outbound tourism market is a boon for overseas retailers, many of whom are now embracing the Chinese preference for mobile payments and finding that going digital also improves their marketing and inventory management.

These are among the key findings from a new survey conducted jointly by research firm Nielsen and Alipay, the online payment platform owned by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

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MIT’s new GPS system uses satellite images to put you in the right lane

Tech Republic

If you’ve ever used GPS navigation while driving in an unfamiliar place, chances are you’ve had more than one incident with last minute merging — likely because the GPS hasn’t picked up on the number of lanes on the road, or where they lead to. But this particular annoyance’s days could be numbered, thanks to research from MIT.

Typically, GPS maps are created by big companies such as Google, which sends camera-strapped vehicles around a neighborhood to capture details on an area’s roads. And that’s worked pretty well so far, but it’s not without its limitations.

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Jeff Bezos hack: Amazon boss’s phone ‘hacked by Saudi crown prince’


The Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos had his mobile phone “hacked” in 2018 after receiving a WhatsApp message that had apparently been sent from the personal account of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, sources have told the Guardian.

The encrypted message from the number used by Mohammed bin Salman is believed to have included a malicious file that infiltrated the phone of the world’s richest man, according to the results of a digital forensic analysis.

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US mobile app subscription revenue jumped 21% in 2019 to $4.6B across the top 100 apps

Tech Crunch

Outside of in-app purchases in mobile games, subscription revenue from non-game apps helped to boost 2019’s mobile consumer spend — a figure that reached $120 billion globally last year, according to a recent report by App Annie. Now, new data from app intelligence firm Sensor Tower indicates U.S. subscription app revenue grew by 21% last year from the $3.8 billion generated by the top 100 subscription apps to reach over $4.6 billion in 2019.

The firm also found that the subscription revenue by these apps accounted for 19% of the total $24 billion in U.S. consumer spend in 2019, across both the Apple App Store and Google Play.

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Mobile makes up 40% of all games revenue in Brazil

Pocket Gamer

The mobile platform accounts for 40 per cent of all games revenue in Brazil. This was one of a number of figures revealed LatinDV co-founder Julian Migura’s session on the ‘Three Key Factors to Successfully Monetise Mobile Games in Latin America’, during Pocket Gamer Connects London 2020. Here, Migura focused on devices, prices and accessibility payment and distribution channels.

Brazil has seen an uprise in recent years with 64 per cent of the countries’ citizens now possessing a smartphone device. Furthermore, 460 million of the 657 million population now has access to the internet.

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Apple says losing Lightning port will create waste


Apple says being forced to abandon the Lightning connector used on its iPhones would create an “unprecedented amount of electronic waste”.

While the latest Android phones have a USB-C port, Apple’s iPhones still use the proprietary Lightning port.

Some members of the European Parliament want all phone-makers to adopt a universal port, to reduce waste.

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