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We take a weekly look at mobile and tech stories from around the world. Headlines include… Apple and OpenAI have signed a deal to partner on AI,  Google reignites AR ambitions with Magic Leap, Embracing AI And Automation For Superior Mobile App Experiences and much more…

Report: Apple and OpenAI have signed a deal to partner on AI

Ars Technica

Apple and OpenAI have reportedly reached a deal to integrate OpenAI’s generative AI technology into Apple’s software. The Information cites a source familiar with the matter who spoke to OpenAI CEO Sam Altman about the agreement.

The deal, previously rumored by Bloomberg, has now materialized, marking a significant milestone for Altman. The inclusion of OpenAI’s conversational artificial intelligence in Apple’s products could potentially be worth billions of dollars for the startup if successful.

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Google reignites AR ambitions with Magic Leap

Mobile World Live

Google has entered into a strategic partnership with Magic Leap, a once-hyped augmented reality (AR) company, to collaborate on the creation of immersive experiences. This move could intensify competition with rivals such as Meta Platforms and Apple in the AR space.

The collaboration aims to leverage Magic Leap’s expertise in optics and device manufacturing alongside Google’s technology platforms. However, specific details about the projects they will be working on have not been disclosed.

Google was among the high-profile investors in Magic Leap, contributing to its valuation of $6.4 billion in 2018. Additionally, Magic Leap secured a partnership with AT&T in the same year, enabling the US operator to offer its AR headsets.

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Embracing AI And Automation For Superior Mobile App Experiences

Forbes

The surge in smartphone popularity and advancements in technology have led to an increasing reliance on mobile devices for shopping, with around three-quarters of U.S. adults (76%) making online purchases using smartphones. By the end of 2024, approximately 187.5 million U.S. users are expected to have made at least one purchase via their mobile device.

However, consumers expect high-quality and high-performing mobile applications for shopping. In fact, 50% of mobile users won’t consider using an app with a three-star rating, highlighting the importance of delivering exceptional app experiences to attract and retain customers.

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Mobile gaming’s journey to the mainstream

Pocket Gamer

The games industry is often likened to Hollywood, and according to data from data.ai, by the end of 2023, 19 mobile games had each generated over $1 billion in lifetime revenue that year. Among these titles were longstanding games like Boom Beach, released a decade ago, as well as newer entries like Royal Match from 2021.

These games highlight the enormous potential of mobile gaming on a global scale, showcasing the dominance of the free-to-play (F2P) business model. Another significant trend spurred by the mainstreaming of F2P is the emergence of new monetization opportunities within games.

In-game advertising has become a key avenue for developers to enhance player experiences while attracting brand advertisers. This shift represents a departure from developers advertising competitors’ games, and instead presents brand advertisers as a new revenue stream for many developers.

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Mastercard aims to deliver digital identity, access for 100M in Africa

Biometric Update

Mastercard is intensifying its efforts to expand its Community Pass, a digital platform that combines a digital ID and wallet in a smart card, allowing individuals in developing nations to access government and humanitarian services more easily.

The payment giant has forged a partnership with the African Development Bank Group to provide digital identity and online service access to 100 million individuals and businesses across Africa over the next decade.

As part of the initiative, named Mobilizing Access to the Digital Economy (MADE) Alliance: Africa, the African Development Bank Group has committed to investing US$300 million. In turn, Mastercard has pledged to onboard 15 million users in Africa onto the Community Pass platform within five years.

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The Limits Of Cashless Payments In China

Forbes

China’s rapid transition to a cashless society is a remarkable phenomenon, with mobile payments now penetrating 86% of the population in less than two decades. The dominance of comprehensive ecosystems like Alipay and WeChat Pay has made payment transactions in China incredibly convenient and frictionless. However, access to these systems requires users to be within the domestic Chinese payment ecosystems and have a Chinese bank account linked to the payment apps.

This limitation has been a deliberate feature rather than a flaw in the system. Beijing’s strategy has been to cultivate a robust digital financial services industry supported by domestic tech and banking giants. Consequently, China’s payment infrastructure has not been fully integrated with the global financial system, although there are gradual changes occurring in certain areas.

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Facebook shares soar as mobile drives big jump in ad sales

Reuters

Omdia’s latest research indicates that cellular IoT data traffic is projected to reach 110.8 exabytes (EB) by 2028, driven by increasing demand for data analytics to enhance operational efficiency and create new revenue streams.

The automotive vertical is expected to contribute the most to cellular IoT data traffic, primarily through infotainment use cases like streaming video and audio, as well as firmware over-the-air updates. Over the 2023 to 2028 period, automotive data traffic is predicted to grow from 18.6 EB to 59.4 EB, propelled by the integration of infotainment systems in newer vehicles and the adoption of 5G connectivity.

Transport and logistics are identified as the next significant vertical for cellular IoT data traffic, while all other verticals combined are forecasted to account for less than 25% of the total traffic after 2024, according to the report.

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Interpol issues tender for “mobile biometric devices”

Identity Week

Interpol has issued a tender seeking providers of “mobile biometric devices” to collaborate on biometric “matching” technology aimed at assisting law enforcement agencies worldwide.

The International Criminal Police Organization aims to partner with one or more providers to acquire devices capable of capturing multi-modality biometric data, including iris scans, fingerprints, and facial images. This initiative is part of the global effort to accurately identify and apprehend offenders.

Biometric devices have become integral in various sectors, including travel and law enforcement, where they are used by government authorities to combat crimes and illegal migration across national borders. Interpol’s strategy to digitalize tools and management systems for biometric data aligns with its long-term vision for enhancing global security measures.

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Integration of IoT, AI in Industry 4.0 poses risks for private networks

RCR Wireless Network

Mauricio Sanchez, a senior director at Dell’Oro Group, highlights the significant benefits of private 5G networks in industrial settings but also underscores the security risks associated with them. Integrating IoT, AI, and big data in the context of Industry 4.0 introduces notable security challenges for these networks.

Sanchez emphasizes that the convergence of various technologies in Industry 4.0 expands the attack surface of private 5G networks. With numerous connected devices and complex networks, the potential vulnerabilities and points of entry for cyberattacks increase significantly. As a result, ensuring robust security measures becomes paramount to safeguarding private 5G networks and the sensitive data they handle.

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