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Find out the week’s top mobile stories from around the world. This week.. WhatsApp users flock to rival message platforms, 2020 becomes the biggest m-commerce shopping year to date, with $115bn spent, Phones at CES 2021: Rollable phones, Moto G series & more ahead of Samsung S21 and much more…

WhatsApp users flock to rival message platforms


Message platforms Signal and Telegram have both seen a huge surge in downloads around the world following a controversial update to WhatsApp’s terms and conditions. WhatsApp has told its two billion users they must allow it to share data with its parent company Facebook if they wish to continue using it. This does not apply to users in the UK and Europe.
However, the notification has been sent to everyone. All WhatsApp users will be unable to continue with the service unless they accept the new terms by 8 February. The platform said the update will enable it to offer features such as shopping and payments.

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WhatsApp Controversy Shows Just How Much Privacy Matters To Customers


Popular messaging service WhatsApp recently saw a huge group of its users jump ship for rival platforms.

The reason for the switch? An updated privacy policy.

WhatsApp recently announced a new privacy policy that no longer allows users to opt out of  sharing their data with parent company Facebook. According to the new policy, user data like phone numbers, address books, pictures and the contents of some messages will now be automatically shared with Facebook. The new policy goes into effect on February 8th.

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2020 becomes the biggest m-commerce shopping year to date, with $115bn spent

Internet Retailing

2020 has become the biggest year yet for mobile commerce, with some $115bn being spent globally through the channel. In Europe, the UK leads the way, with more shopping hours spent on mobile than anywhere else.

According to App Annie’s latest The State of Mobile 2021 report, 2020 has accelerated mobile adoption as consumers used their mobile devices to connect, work, learn, play and escape COVID-19 restricting their way of life. In fact, consumers spent 30% more time on mobile shopping apps than in 2019 on average with those outside of early adopter China logging as much as a 45% increase.

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App stores saw record 218 billion downloads in 2020, consumer spend of $143 billion


Mobile adoption continued to grow in 2020, in part due to the market forces of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to App Annie’s annual “State of Mobile” industry report, mobile app downloads grew by 7% year-over-year to a record 218 billion in 2020. Meanwhile, consumer spending grew by 20% to also hit a new milestone of $143 billion, led by markets that included China, the United States, Japan, South Korea and the United Kingdom.

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Phones at CES 2021: Rollable phones, Moto G series and more ahead of Samsung S21


While CES 2021 is certainly different than usual, plenty of phones have been revealed that are headed for retail shelves this year – and a few futuristic concepts have been teased, too. Here’s all the phones at CES 2021, from today’s best to tomorrow’s most promising ideas.

Let’s limit your expectations up front: plenty of phonemakers have effectively sat out CES 2021, so don’t expect to see lineups or teases from LG, Xiaomi, Huawei, or others. But other brands have gone on undeterred, with Motorola and TCL revealing new budget and mid-range handsets – including the cheapest 5G phones we’ve seen in the US so far.

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Billions were stolen in blockchain hacks last year


We know how some hackers passed away their time during the lockdown: By running Bitcoin-related hacks and potentially netting “nearly $3.78 billion” in 2020, according to a report from Atlas VPN. The losses are huge but not at the level Atlas VPN claims because it used mid-January 2021 values rather than at the time of the breach.  Data collected by Slowmist Hacked showed that there were 122 attacks in 2020, targeting three major areas:

  • Decentralized apps running on the Ethereum platform had 47 attacks (current value $437 million)
  • Cryptocurrency exchanges had 28 attacks (current value $300 million in losses)
  • 27 attacks on blockchain wallets

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CES 2021: Virtualization leaped in 2020, but industry still waiting for 5G

S&P Global

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of new technologies for virtual work and play in 2020, but mixed-reality formats remained somewhat hampered by the uneven rollout of 5G, according to wireless and technology executives.

That is set to change in 2021 as more 5G-compatible devices and applications hit the market and consumers become more aware of the next-generation wireless standard’s potential, they said.

“5G is really going to be the lifeblood” of augmented and virtual reality, said Patrick Costello, a senior director at QUALCOMM Inc. during a Jan. 14 panel discussion at CES, the Consumer Technology Association’s annual technology and media trade show.

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The triumph of mobile core games heralds a demographic shift


The start of a new year often brings with it a number of interesting info-dumps, as various companies and organisations that track the industry’s vital statistics show us how their corner of the world measured up in the previous year. This year is no exception, and January has already bestowed upon us a host of stats that give us a sense of how 2020 measured up for the industry — and especially for the industry’s sales and revenues.

Perhaps the most striking nugget of data from what’s been released thus far is a stat from mobile app tracking service App Annie, which reported that around two-thirds of the revenues from mobile games last year were from what it classified as “core games” — titles like PUBG Mobile and Honour of Kings, which are competitively oriented, and focused largely on the teen and young adult male demographic that was the industry’s traditional bread and butter, and which generally wouldn’t look out of place on a PC or console.

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Digital health innovators share 2021 predictions


With a new coronavirus variant afoot and an uncertain 12 months ahead, MobiHealthNews has compiled 2021 predictions on the key themes that will affect the digital health industry during a potentially turbulent year. We hear from a range of EMEA-based health and tech leaders on the continued efforts to close the health equity gap, the growth of self-care apps, VR technology, employer technology investments and the improved use of health data.

Matteo Berlucchi, CEO of UK-based self-care app, Healthily

“I think people are now feeling more empowered because of the advances in mobile technology and ubiquitous, affordable connectivity. This feeling of empowerment translates in the desire to take more control of one’s life: from finance to dating, from travel to healthcare. Health is somewhat the laggard of the digital era so I expect 2021 to be the year in which the majority of mobile users will start turning to their devices to better understand their health and how to improve it.

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