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We take a weekly look at mobile and tech stories from around the world. Headlines include… Facebook and Instagram suspected to be ‘too addictive’, EU probes Meta over its provisions for protecting children, Google I/O was an AI evolution, not a revolution and much more…

Facebook and Instagram suspected to be ‘too addictive’

BBC

The European Union is probing Facebook and Instagram to assess if they are excessively addictive and causing negative effects on the physical and mental health of children. Additionally, the investigation will examine whether these platforms have implemented sufficient measures to verify users’ ages and how they recommend content to children. This inquiry is part of a broader investigation into several major tech companies for potential violations of the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA), which could result in fines of up to 6% of their annual global turnover. Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram, asserts that it has dedicated considerable effort over the past decade to develop numerous tools and policies aimed at safeguarding children.

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EU probes Meta over its provisions for protecting children

The Register

The European Commission has initiated formal proceedings to investigate whether Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, may have violated the Digital Services Act (DSA) concerning the protection of minors. This action comes after a separate inquiry into Meta’s alleged failure to adequately monitor the dissemination of political misinformation by foreign entities ahead of the European elections in June. With this latest move, the EU executive will now scrutinize three potential breaches of the DSA, which could result in fines of up to 6% of Meta’s global annual revenue, approximately $8.5 billion. Specifically, the Commission will probe whether Meta adequately assessed and addressed the risks associated with the design of Facebook and Instagram’s online interfaces, particularly regarding their potential to exploit minors’ vulnerabilities, foster addictive behavior, and contribute to the “rabbit hole” effect.

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Google I/O was an AI evolution, not a revolution

TechCrunch

At Google’s I/O developer conference, the company showcased its advancements in AI technology, presenting a revamped AI-powered search engine, an enhanced AI model with expanded capabilities, AI integration across its Workspace apps, and a future vision for AI called Project Astra. While these announcements primarily targeted developers, they also aimed to impress consumers with the potential of AI. However, the abundance of AI-related news may have left even tech-savvy consumers feeling overwhelmed and confused about the specifics of each development and how they relate to existing features like Google Lens or Gemini Live.

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Are phones winning the battle of credentials?

Security infowatch

Security professionals have traditionally focused on replicating the functionality of keys, but now they’re expanding beyond simple access control. They’re enhancing convenience, adding features like audit trails and video verification, and offering more control over access management. With the widespread use of mobile devices, mobile identity solutions are gaining traction, with 72% of respondents considering them a top trend, according to HID’s 2024 State of the Security Industry Report.

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Belgium launches national digital identity wallet

Biometric Update

Belgium has introduced MyGov.be, its digital identity wallet, following the EU’s eIDAS 2.0 regulation. This digital identity aims to streamline administrative tasks, but its optional nature raises concerns about adoption. A Deloitte survey found that 71% of Belgians are hesitant about digital IDs on their phones, and 79% oppose mobile driver’s licenses. MyGov.be is positioned as an alternative to the popular itsme app, with residents able to register using various methods including their identity card, the eID system, or itsme.

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Android Pay moves in to mobile banking

Yahoo News

Android Pay has announced integrations within the mobile banking apps of Bank of America, Bank of New Zealand, Discover, mBank, and USAA, as outlined in a Google blog post. This upgrade enables mobile banking users to effortlessly enroll cards into Android Pay with just one tap within the banking app, eliminating the need for manual input or scanning of card details. Additionally, select banks will allow users to make payments with Android Pay in stores and online without having to download the Android Pay app separately. These bank partnerships aim to boost Android Pay adoption by addressing security concerns.

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Visa Recasts Digital Wallet Landscape at Intersection of Identity and Payments

PYMNTS

The number seven has long held significance, from the days of the week to the colors of the rainbow. In a similar vein, Visa has introduced seven new consumer payments products aimed at making their mobile banking app the hub of digital commerce. These products focus on integrating identity with payments to create a seamless and secure experience for consumers, merchants, and banks. At the core of this announcement are tokenized credentials issued by banks, enabling issuers to transform their mobile banking apps into branded mobile wallets.

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In data: mobile gaming will generate $195bn in revenue by 2030

Verdict

While the console and PC gaming market faces challenges such as studio closures and layoffs due to cost-cutting measures, the global mobile gaming market continues to thrive, as predicted by GlobalData forecasts. Sony’s recent announcement of lower-than-expected operating income and a decline in Square Enix’s shares indicate the struggles faced by traditional gaming companies. According to Newzoo, console and PC gaming revenue is expected to remain below pre-pandemic levels until 2026. Additionally, gamers are spending fewer hours playing, with quarterly playtime declining by 26% from 2021 to 2023, as reported by Newzoo.

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Microsoft’s new Xbox mobile gaming store is launching in July

The Verge

Microsoft is set to launch its Xbox mobile gaming store in July, as announced by Xbox president Sarah Bond during the Bloomberg Technology Summit. The store will initially feature Microsoft’s own first-party portfolio of games, including Candy Crush and Minecraft. It will be launched on the web to ensure accessibility across all devices and countries, independent of the policies of closed ecosystem stores like Apple’s App Store.

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Cellular IoT connections to reach 7.5B by end-2033

Mobile World Live

Transforma Insights predicts that cellular IoT connections will surge from 1.9 billion in 2023 to 7.5 billion by the end of the decade. Of these, only 1.1 billion are expected to be full 5G connections, with the majority (5.5 billion) utilizing other technologies like mMTC. The remaining connections will be powered by technologies such as NB-IoT and LTE-M. The total number of active IoT devices is forecasted to reach nearly 40 billion by 2033, with annual device sales increasing at an 8% CAGR to reach 8.7 billion. Overall market revenue, including modules, applications, and connectivity, is expected to nearly triple to $934 billion.

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