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We take a weekly look at mobile and tech stories from around the world. Headlines include… Spotify attacks Apple’s ‘outrageous’ 27% commission, X is rolling out audio and video calls to Android, US court bars Apple Watch imports while patent dispute plays out and much more…

Spotify attacks Apple’s ‘outrageous’ 27% commission

BBC

Spotify has strongly criticized Apple’s newly introduced transaction fees, reaching up to 27% for app developers in the United States. Apple recently announced that developers could sell products outside its store but would still need to pay commissions. Spotify labeled this move as “outrageous” and accused Apple of prioritizing profits at any cost. The music streaming service is urging the British government to intervene and prevent the imposition of similar fees in the UK. Apple has not yet commented on the matter. This development adds to the ongoing debate and tensions between major tech companies regarding app store policies and commission structures.

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X is rolling out audio and video calls to Android

Tech Crunch

Elon Musk’s social network, X, is introducing the capability to make audio and video calls directly from the app to its Android client. An engineer working on the project announced the feature release, stating that it will be accessible to Android users after a forthcoming app update. X’s CEO, Linda Yaccarino, had previously mentioned the introduction of video calls in August 2023, and the feature was subsequently rolled out to iOS users in October. While any user can receive a call, only paid subscribers have the ability to initiate calls, reflecting one of the many features reserved for paid users on X.

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US court bars Apple Watch imports while patent dispute plays out

Guardian

Apple Watches capable of reading blood-oxygen levels cannot be imported into the US while Apple challenges a government decision that the devices infringe on patents, a federal appeals court ruled on Wednesday. Imports of the smart watches equipped with blood oximeters were previously allowed while the appeal wound its way through court.

The ruling by the US court of appeals for the federal circuit means the affected watches cannot be imported starting at 5pm on 18 January while Apple appeals the US International Trade Commission’s ban.

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It is super important to honour users’ privacy with AI phones: Samsung’s JB Park

Business Insider India

JB Park, President and CEO of Samsung India, emphasizes the critical importance of ensuring the security of devices and robust cloud infrastructure for enhancing personal experiences with generative AI. Samsung is actively incorporating generative AI into its devices, including the newly launched Galaxy S24 series. Park underscores the significance of prioritizing user privacy as the company invests in integrating advanced AI technologies into its products. The focus on privacy is essential to build trust and maintain the security of personal and private information in the evolving landscape of AI-powered devices.

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NCC mulls regulation to criminalize using mobile lines for fraud 

Nairametrics

The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has announced its intention to develop a regulation that would criminalize the use of mobile lines for fraud. Aminu Maida, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, revealed this during a meeting with media practitioners in Lagos. Currently, there are no consequences for using mobile lines for fraudulent activities, leading to unchecked criminal acts. The proposed regulation, expected later this year, aims to hold fraudsters accountable for their actions when using mobile lines for illicit activities. Maida expressed concerns about the practice of using other people’s lines for fraud, particularly due to the recycling of phone numbers.

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Amazon offers mobile AI-based shopping aid

Chain Storage

Amazon is testing a generative AI-based tool on its shopping app to provide AI-driven answers to customer questions. Maria Boschetti, a spokesperson from Amazon, confirmed the pilot program, highlighting the use of generative AI to assist customers in obtaining product information.

“Amazon has been using machine learning and AI for many years in virtually everything we do,” Boschetti said in the email. “We’re constantly inventing to help make customers’ lives better and easier, and are currently testing a new feature powered by generative AI to improve shopping on Amazon by helping customers get answers to commonly asked product questions.”

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Study: Marketers investing big on in-app ads but still missing out on mobile gaming market

Marketing Interactive

In the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, where mobile phones are increasingly prevalent and users spend extended periods on their screens, 70% of marketers are incorporating in-app ads into their marketing strategies, according to a study by PubMatic. Singapore stands out in the region, with 88% of marketers in the country utilizing in-app advertising, the highest percentage among the surveyed countries. With Singaporean users spending approximately five hours daily on mobile phones, an hour more than the global average, the study highlights the significance of in-app advertising as a key component of marketing strategies in the APAC region.

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Substantial Growth and Transformation in Cellular IoT Ecosystem Driven by 5G: Omdia Forecasts

Telecomlead

New research from Omdia indicates a substantial transformation in the cellular Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem over the next seven years, driven by the adoption of 5G technologies. The study, which focuses on 5G RedCap, 5G Massive IoT, and 4G LTE Cat-1bis modules, projects a significant surge in shipments, leading to an estimated 5.4 billion cellular IoT connections (installed base) by 2030. This growth underscores the evolving landscape and increasing significance of advanced cellular connectivity solutions in the IoT space. The deployment of 5G technologies is expected to play a key role in shaping the future of cellular IoT, offering enhanced capabilities and driving widespread adoption across various industries.

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Why 2024 could be the year mobile gaming inventory goes premium

Digiday

Mobile gaming inventory is gaining increased attractiveness in 2024, challenging its historical perception as a less-preferred option for in-game advertising. In recent years, in-game advertising companies have sought to penetrate brands’ ad budgets, emphasizing their ability to secure premium inventory within high-budget console titles from major game developers like Nintendo and Electronic Arts. Traditionally, the majority of in-game ad firms’ inventory is found in casual or hypercasual games, which brands may view as less effective compared to major console titles enjoyed by core gamers. The shift in perception reflects a growing recognition of the potential and value of mobile gaming inventory in the evolving landscape of in-game advertising.

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