App Helps Avoid Shopping Queues

A supermarket has unveiled a new app that will enable its customer to scan and pay for their goods on their mobile phones as they make their way around the store.

The money is deducted directly from their credit card or bank account.

Sainsbury says its trial could make queues a thing of the past as customers scan their goods as they put them in their basket.

While it’s still early stages, the app is being tested by the supermarket in a London branch where shoppers buying the £3 lunchtime meal deal can use the app to pay.

Sainsbury’s says feedback has been positive so far though they do not know when the scheme will be eventually rolled out to its other stores.

Investors warned over mobile share trading apps

Cyber security experts are warning that some of the most popular mobile phone apps for trading shares are open to attack from hackers.

IOActive Labs says that criminals could steal money, trade shares and also check the customer’s net worth.

Indeed, the firm has checked 21 of the most popular stock trading apps and say they are worse than the personal banking apps tested by them four years ago.

A spokesman said: “There is better mobile app security when checking bank balances and paying our gas bill than found in trading apps that transfer billions and help shape the financial markets.”

Among the issues found in the apps, two exposed passwords in clear text while two in three of the apps stored sensitive data including account balances and investment strategies in an unencrypted form.

Twitter unveils lightweight mobile app

Twitter has joined the trend to slim down its mobile app for those regions where data may be slow.

The social media platform has confirmed it is testing a lightweight version in the Philippines where limited data and slower mobile phone networks make the standard app impractical.

The firm says the app focuses on Twitter’s core functions without the data chewing media abilities.

While Twitter says its move towards a light app is an experiment, they refuse to reveal whether it will be available in other countries but they have now joined Google and Facebook who are targeting similar regions with their own slimmed down mobile apps.

iPhone X face recognition restriction

Those buying the new iPhone X have been warned by Apple that children should not be using its facial recognition technology.

They say that the faces of children under the age of 13 are too similar to each other and are unable to protect the phone from intruders.

The system, called FaceID, will unlock the phone and enable access to apps and also verify payments.

Now Apple says, in a security paper it has published, that children’s faces are still developing and siblings could unlock the phone.

In other Miratrix mobile phone app news …

Indian mobile phone users are being warned of the dangers of fake ‘Blue Whale’ apps masking malware that will attack their phone. The country is in the grip of Blue Whale, a social media game challenge, mania currently.

Police in Shanghai are using a mobile phone app to deal with food delivery employees committing traffic violations in the Chinese city. Every food outlet must now install the app for their couriers so police can track activities and record on the app the latest violation.

Electric carmaker Tesla has boosted its mobile application in its latest update offering and the app will now open the Model 3’s boot directly from the phone. The app also enables users to unlock and lock the car and also start the engine.

Android phone users are complaining that the latest Android 8.0 Oreo update has led to apps crashing unexpectedly on the firm’s Pixel and Nexus devices.

A security company in Russian has unveiled a smartphone that will prevent apps on it from collecting personal data. The Taiga phone from InfoWatch prevents apps from tracking user activities including work-related emails, photographs and documents. It also prevents an app from sending the user’s data to the creator.

UK ‘glued to their smartphones’

The level of mobile device adoption is reaching new heights as the UK’s public is increasingly ‘glued to smartphones’, say researchers.

The findings from Deloitte revealed that 53% of those aged between 16 and 75 are using their smartphones while they are walking – though for the 16 to 24 age group, this rises to 74%.

It’s a worry that 11% say they use their smartphones while crossing roads and again the proportion is higher for 16 to 24-year-olds where 21% say they do this. Apparently, this could mean that 4.5 million people regularly cross a road while using their phone.

Users are also using their smartphones to watch video content in ever increasing numbers which may put demands on networks to deliver the infrastructure to meet higher video consumption.

A spokesman for the firm said: “The first 10 years have been about changing our social lives and the next 10 could be about changing our working lives.

“The attractiveness for smartphones lies in the fact it’s a multipurpose consumer device with a set of tools that is millions of apps deep.”

Android app users face unexpected bills

Malware that has infected millions of Android devices has led to big bills being run up for unsuspecting victims.

According to Check Point Software, the malware dubbed as ‘Expensive Wall’, will send a fraudulent text message to a fake fee-based service without the permission or knowledge of the user.

Researchers say this particular malware has now been downloaded more than 4 million times before Google removed the apps in August.

Most of the malware was found in the Android app Lovely Wallpaper.

However, researchers say that the variants of the malware has now been downloaded between 6 million and 21 million times.

A spokesman for Checkpoint said: “The users of these apps are still at risk and should remove them manually from their devices.”

Alert issued on Red Alert

Meanwhile, Android users are being warned about malware called Red Alert which will steal their credentials.

The trojan has targeted more than 60 social networking and banking apps so far.

SyfLabs warns that the malware will also take over text messaging functions and can block calls coming from financial associations and banks.

Researchers also warn that the malware has been written from scratch and is not evolved from older trojans.

UK shoppers want better apps

Researchers have revealed that most people in the UK are increasingly selective about sharing their data with well-known brands.

By doing so, they expect the brand to better personalise offers and make their experience of the brand including interactions, much better.

The research from Mindshare reveals that mobile phones are becoming increasingly important to retailers and 37% of people use their tablet or phone to research a product while they are in a store.

The findings also reveal that 60% of shoppers want retail brands to improve their apps and technology to benefit their customer experience.

In other Miratrix mobile phone app news …

Mobile phone apps have been praised by attendees at the International Coastal Clean-up conference where thousands of volunteers use apps to coordinate efforts to clean America’s coasts every year.

Industry watchers say that in early October Google will unveil a new platform called Andromeda which will merge its ChromeOS and Android platforms.

Consumers in the UK say they are unhappy with their communication experiences, including the use of apps, despite businesses saying they communicate effectively. The findings reveal 42% of those questioned say communication is ‘poor or terrible’ and it is difficult to communicate with a business and not enough of them recognise the impact of the communications experience on revenue and their brand.

Cyber attacks on mobile devices rocket

The number of cyber attacks being faced by mobile phone users are increasing and there is growing demand for secure mobile apps as a result.

Digital security firm Avast says there’s been a big leap on attacks targeting Android tablets and smartphones in the second quarter of this year.

The firm says that attacks are up 40% compared to last year.

A spokesman for the firm said: “Mobile cyber security attacks are growing quickly as the hacker strategies become more dangerous and agile. The user’s personal privacy and data is at stake.”

The growth in mobile cyber attacks is now reaching 1.7 million incidents every month and the number of viruses have also increased by 22% over the year to 788.

The top three mobile threats facing users are designed to steal personal information, spy on users and also to spam mobile users with ads.

UK consumers looking to ditch cash

Growing consumer confidence in mobile apps, including digital wallets, means shoppers are increasingly less likely to use cash for purchases.

In a report from Paysafe, a payment provider, 55% of shoppers in the UK said they will stop using cash in the next two years.

Already, 34% of Brits are visiting a cash machine once a month or less and one in six of the respondents say they rarely carry money at all.

The findings reveal that 24% of people have already adopted mobile wallets, while 12% have adopted crypto currencies for making payments.

However, 29% of people said they worried that their mobile phone could be stolen and a thief could use it to pay for items; despite these worries, 63% said they are growing increasingly confident about using a mobile phone for shopping.

The most popular way for paying is with contactless debit cards, a choice for three out of five consumers who use contactless cards regularly.

App will create augmented reality tutorials

A start-up company in Germany has created an app that will create augmented reality tutorials from a normal video.

IOXP says it can take a single video of someone who is correctly performing a task and then use artificial intelligence to convert that into an AI tutorial.

The idea is that by using augmented reality headsets, users can have step-by-step instructions to complete a task or project with the app correcting any mistakes or missteps.

Essentially, the firm’s software uses algorithms to separate the video into comprehensible chunks that will detect the user’s hands and what they are doing and recognise when they are making mistakes.

Apparently Bosch has trialled the system already with its engineers and is discussing a larger roll-out of the app’s potential.

Car keys to be replaced with apps

BMW says it is looking into replacing car keys with mobile phone apps.

The firm says that all of its customers carry a smartphone and that BMW will enable them to unlock their vehicle using it which would make keys redundant.

The move to replace keys was announced at the Frankfurt car show where BMW executives pointed to new vehicles which no longer need a key to be placed in the ignition for the vehicle to start.

A spokesman for the firm said: “If customers do not need to take the key out of their pocket, why do they need to carry it around?”

In other Miratrix mobile phone news …

Apple has revealed that it is reducing the bloat from iTunes by removing iOS App Store so users cannot sync apps from their PC or Mac to an iPhone. Users will instead need to use the new App Store on iOS to download their apps and updates.

Greater Manchester Police is asking its officers to submit their ideas for apps that will enable them to work efficiently and make better decisions while on the beat. The officers are being offered the opportunity to present their ideas to a panel of experts for them to decide whether it should be funded and then rolled out across the force’s mobile platform.

Google and Apple Showcase AR Platforms

Google and Apple are gearing up to go head-to-head with competing augmented reality (AR) platforms.

Both firms have unveiled their new are tools for iOS and Android devices this week that will enable a user to digitally superimpose an object through their phone onto the world around them.

Google’s AR offering will be released with its new Pixel phone and the Samsung Galaxy S8; Apple says the new iOS 11 operating system will be able use the technology on all of its devices.

However, iOS 11 has yet to be released and the apps for them have yet to be presented to consumers.

Among the apps for the Apple platform is one from IKEA that enables users to measure space in their homes and then digitally place a piece of furniture from the IKEA catalogue into the space on their smartphone.

British teenagers spend 40 days year on their mobile phones

A survey has revealed that teenagers spend around two hours and 40 minutes every day using their mobile phones, which is equal to nearly 41 days.

The research from broadbandchoices reveals that youngsters in Liverpool use their phones the most and spend 48 days browsing apps and text messages.

Teenagers in Glasgow and Cardiff claimed second and third places, while London teenagers were ranked in bottom place and use their phone for 37 days.

The firm’s research also reveals that 55% of parents say they wonder how they managed to survive as a teenager without a mobile phone or access to the Internet.

Parents warned of smart phone bingeing

Meanwhile, parents in the UK are being warned to monitor their children’s smartphone use over fears they are overindulging on social media.

In addition, the Children’s Commissioner, Anne Longfield, says phone companies are increasingly offering unlimited data for streaming apps, messaging and social media.

Her comments came after a new mobile plan was unveiled by Vodafone called Voxi which is aimed at under 25s.

The SIM-only plan allows subscribers unlimited access to a variety of apps such as Instagram, Facebook and Facebook Messenger, Snapchat and Twitter.

Tech coalition squashes botnet

As reported recently, Google was forced to bin more than 300 apps from its Play Store recently because of malware issues.

Now a coalition of tech firms has managed to dislodge a massive botnet that was using Google’s Android platform.

The malware started as a click fraud scheme with hundreds of malicious apps operating on phones but the botnet was tailored to launch distributed denial of service attacks against websites.

Researchers dubbed the botnet ‘WireX’ and it has infected more than 120,000 mobile phones.

Some of the firms that worked to take down the threat include Cloudflare, Oracle and Flashpoint.

In other Miratrix mobile phone app news …

US sanctions have led Apple to remove popular Iranian mobile phone apps from its App Store. Apple accounts for 11% of Iran’s mobile phone market and the government there says it will pursue the company to respect its customers.

A survey by comScore has revealed that most US mobile phone users do not download any apps. They found 51% of people with a mobile phone do not download anything in a month.

Microsoft has unveiled its Mixer Create app which enables gamers to stream mobile games on Android and iOS devices.

Google has revealed that its Android Wear 1.0 will have standalone apps that will enable it to be used independently of smartphone apps.

The new Sony Xperia phone has a 3D scanning app with the phone maker believing there is a big demand from users to create and distribute their 3-D creations.

The new Apple iPhone 8 will be released this month with rumoured features including wireless charging, edge-to-edge display and facial recognition. The iPhone 7S and 7S plus will also be released.