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We take a weekly look at mobile and tech stories from around the world. Headlines include… Microsoft Is Launching Its Mobile Game Store Rivaling Apple and Google in July, Meta launches AI features for advertisers, The rapid evolution of payments in Latin America and much more…

Microsoft Is Launching Its Mobile Game Store Rivaling Apple and Google in July

IGN

Microsoft is gearing up to launch its mobile game store this July, according to Xbox President Sarah Bond. Initially, the store will feature Microsoft’s own games like Candy Crush Saga, with plans to expand to include titles from other publishers later on. Bond suggested that Minecraft could be among the early additions to the storefront. Additionally, the store will debut on the web rather than as an app to ensure accessibility across different devices and countries.

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Meta launches AI features for advertisers

Mobile Marketing Magazine

Meta has introduced a suite of AI-driven features designed specifically for advertisers, including full image and text generation capabilities. These tools will be progressively rolled out globally by the end of the year. For the first time, advertisers on the platform can generate multiple image variations based on their original ad content, complete with text overlay options. This tool, already in the process of deployment, enhances existing features that allow for the creation of new backgrounds around product images and their adaptation for different surfaces.

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The rapid evolution of payments in Latin America

Mckinsey

In just two years, debit cards have surpassed cash as the preferred payment method among Spanish-speaking Latin Americans, with mobile payments also gaining traction, especially in countries like Argentina and Peru. These insights come from two extensive payment surveys conducted in 2021 and 2023, involving over 15,000 respondents in Spanish-speaking Latin America. The 2023 survey revealed a strong preference for debit cards, credit cards, and mobile payments over cash, despite the region’s predominantly cash-based economy and high informal labor rate. Although many transactions still involve cash, particularly among small merchants, consumers in the region increasingly opt for cards and mobile payments when given the choice.

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Evidence grows that consumers are warming to AI in their handsets 

Mobile Europe

Smartphone sales in Europe, the US, and Australia saw significant growth in Q1 2024, indicating strong demand across all markets, according to Kantar.  Despite consumers’ limited understanding of AI-based features on their handsets, they are increasingly receptive to such messaging from operators and manufacturers, according to Kantar’s ComTech consumer mobile phone tracking panel.

In both Europe and the USA, 24% of Galaxy S24 series buyers consider ‘AI’ as a significant factor influencing their purchase decision. Among these consumers, 27% belong to Generation Z, which aligns with current AI use cases catering to this demographic’s preferences, such as product recognition in TikTok videos and note-taking in educational settings. Kantar suggests that emphasizing the benefits of AI can help manufacturers and operators attract more valuable consumers.

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UK becomes first country to ban default bad passwords on IoT devices

The Record

Seven years ago, a cyberattack disrupted access to many popular US-based websites, including Twitter, CNN, and Netflix. Despite speculation about sophisticated threat actors, the attack was relatively unsophisticated, targeting Dyn, a company providing Domain Name System (DNS) services. Recently, the UK implemented the first-ever ban on default guessable usernames and passwords for IoT devices, aiming to enhance cybersecurity by requiring unique passwords to be set up by default.

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The app store standoff is a chance to reshape mobile game discovery

Gamesindustry biz

In 2024, the game industry is facing challenges including potential mass layoffs at major publishers like Epic and Riot Games, alongside rising development costs. Despite a more optimistic growth outlook for mobile gaming, recent court proceedings involving Epic, Google, and Apple, as well as legislative actions like the Digital Markets Act, have created uncertainty for the industry’s future. CEOs like Tim Sweeney of Epic and Mark Zuckerberg of Meta have criticized these developments, expressing distrust and dissent, while Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has also voiced concerns. Apple and Google played pivotal roles in driving significant growth in the commercial games industry. However, as the industry continues to evolve, it appears that another revolution is needed to propel it forward once again.

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TikTok to start labeling AI-generated content as technology becomes more universal

Voanews

TikTok has announced plans to label content created using artificial intelligence (AI) when uploaded from certain platforms. The move aims to address concerns about misinformation on the platform. Adam Presser, TikTok’s Head of Operations & Trust and Safety, highlighted the importance of AI in enhancing creativity and audience connection, while also emphasizing the need to differentiate between fact and fiction.

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Mobile money group begins mobilising PoS operators to beat regulatory registration deadline

Vanguard

The Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents in Nigeria (AMMBAN) has initiated efforts to mobilize its members to comply with a Federal Government directive requiring Point of Sale (PoS) operators to register with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) or face arrests and prosecution. The deadline for registration is set for July 7th. This directive, issued by the CAC in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), aims to ensure legal compliance and adherence to regulatory policies. Discussions regarding the registration requirements were held during a meeting between Fintechs and the Registrar-General of CAC, Hussaini Ishaq Magaji, in Abuja.

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Nordic and Sisvel to Streamline Cellular IoT SEP Licensing

Yahoo

Nordic Semiconductor and patent pool administrator Sisvel have announced a new agreement for the licensing of standard essential patents (SEPs) related to LTE-M and NB-IoT cellular technology. This agreement aims to provide easy and transparent access to these technologies for a variety of IoT applications. Under the initiative, IoT device makers can obtain end-product licenses from over 30 patent owners through Nordic as the cellular module supplier. This addresses the challenges posed by the diversity of the cellular IoT market, ensuring predictability and transparency in accessing and licensing SEPs for various IoT innovations.

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