What We’ve Been Thinking
search, mobile, app marketing, events and some random stuff.
search, mobile, app marketing, events and some random stuff.
The amount of mobile data being used in the UK will grow sevenfold, say researchers, by 2021.
The research from CCS Insight has found that the average mobile phone user will use around 2.5 GB of data every month but by 2021, this will grow to 18 GB.
The firm says that mobile phone networks should begin making attractive offers in a bid to meet the growing demand for data.
This would include offers such as unlimited data plans and with 3 being the only network offering this, CCS says their subscribers are using, on average, 7 GB every month, around 3.5 times more than users on other networks.
However, researchers also say that data usage will not increase massively until 2022 when 5G will become increasingly popular with 17 million subscribers – by 2025, around half of all mobile users will be on a 5G network.
A trainee GP has launched an innovative app that will help farmers come to terms with mental health issues from their own homes.
Dr Julian Nesbitt wants to offer reliable and quick access to medical support using smart phone video technology because the farmers are often in isolated locations.
He explained: “The app will help break down barriers of access for farmers who are on the farm all day but most medical services will only be available between 9 and 5pm.”
The app means farmers can do their day job and then speak to someone when it’s convenient and there is a range of therapists dealing with issues including stress, trauma and gambling addiction.
They may sound like legitimate Android apps but users are being warned of multistage malware lurking in a family of apps.
The warning from ESET has revealed that the malicious apps are being hidden in Google Play Store with names such as ‘World News’ and ‘Cleaner for Android’.
The apps that have been revealed by the firm’s researchers do not raise suspicions from users because they do not ask for app permissions and will behave as an app is designed to do.
However, another malicious app which has been downloaded without the user knowing will, after a five-minute delay, be presented as a legitimate service, for example an Adobe Flash update.
When the prompt is approved, the new app will download a mobile banking Trojan to steal the user’s financial information.
The apps have now been removed by Google and a spokesman for ESET said: “Multistage downloaders have a better chance of creeping into official app stores than a common malware will.”
Android users are being warned of a new exploit which will trick a user into recording their phone screen without them knowing. The exploit affects android versions 5.0 to 7.1.
A car thief in Scotland was caught after the owner used a mobile phone tracker app to find their car, a court was told. The thief was caught less than an hour after stealing the car.
Coventry commuters are being urged to use an innovative app aimed at reducing congestion, said to be the first project of its kind in the UK. The Intelligent Variable Message System (iVMS) will enable motorists to plan their route to avoid travel hotspots and help improve congestion and reduce journey times.
Supermarket shoppers can use their mobile phone’s facial recognition system to replace ID checks when buying alcohol, under a pilot scheme. The British identity app Yoti will scan a shopper’s face to confirm their identity and help remove the self-service tills bottle-neck when assistants must check identification when buying goods that are age restricted.
Millions of smartphone users have been put at risk because of a simple coding error in 685 phone apps, warns security firm Appthority.
The mistake means that the user’s text messages and calls are at risk of being intercepted by hackers – particularly if app developers have used the Twilio Rest API or SDK platform.
Researchers say the developers have mistakenly coded credentials for accessing services, calls and texts by provided by Twilo Inc.
Apparently, hackers can access credentials by reviewing the app’s code to gain access to data sent via those services. The flaw has been dubbed ‘Eavesdropper’.
Among the affected apps are the AT&T Navigator, which is pre-installed on many Android phones and GPS navigation apps from Telenav though researchers say they have been careful not to name all of the affected apps – and Twilio’s users include Uber and Netflix.
Shares in Twilio fell by nearly 7% after the report from Appthority was published.
Mobile banking apps could see the end of paper receipts since a new app could see digital receipts being used instead.
Barclays Bank has now teamed-up with tech outfit Flux to trial its new Launchpad app with 10,000 customers.
The new app means there will be no longer receipts clogging up wallets because they will be stored digitally and be harder to lose; the digital receipt will also prove beneficial in finding a receipt should a purchase break or if there is a warranty issue.
However, for the new scheme to work effectively, retailers will need to use software that enables them to send their receipts digitally to customers.
Growing numbers of stores, including New Look and Topshop, are moving away from printed receipts already by emailing them to their customers instead.
With the new system, there’s no need to hand over email details since the Barclays pay machine will send a receipt directly to the customer’s mobile phone app.
Smartphone users in the UK are increasingly comfortable sharing their device’s location with an app, compared with two years ago. Around 55% of phone users said they are comfortable doing so while 11% said they always allow their apps to access their location, says marketing firm Verve.
A new app for smartphones may help parents keep their children safe while on social media, particularly to help prevent them from sending explicit images, messages and personal details. The Oyoty app will run automatically to detect whether an image is showing too much flesh and will suggest a rethink before the child user sends it out.
The rise of tracking apps for plane flights has been revealed with the news that 230,000 people followed Priti Patel’s eight hour flight back to the UK before resigning from government. FlightRadar24 says the international secretary’s flight is now the most monitored ever.
Facebook says the UK is the first country outside of the US to get its Messenger payments service. Launched in 2015, the app is used to split restaurant bills and send money, among other uses, with most users sending £38 on average. Facebook says the UK has been chosen because there are so many ‘mobile savvy consumers’ in the country.
The growing popularity of apps has been underlined with news that nearly 26 billion apps were downloaded around the world, a rise of more than 8%, over the past year.
The figures are for new downloads and do not cover app updates or reinstalls.
The worldwide consumer spend for apps for Google Play and iOS has also increased by 28% to reach nearly $17 (£12.9) billion.
The researchers also reveal that app usage is also increasing at ‘significant pace’ and the time people are spending an apps is also increasing to 325 billion hours in the third quarter of 2017.
The growth of apps being downloaded is driven by new smart phone owners with the consumer spend on Google Play is nearly double in the third quarter of this year than that recorded by iOS.
The world’s largest market for spending on apps is China which has just recorded its highest ever annual growth figures.
Banking apps are proving increasingly popular with more than half of British ‘Millennials’ regularly using their mobile phone for their financial affairs, says a survey.
The findings from Visa reveal that 38% of Brits are using banking apps regularly while for 18 to 34-year-olds, the figure rises to 53%.
However, 31% of millennials confessed that they have never used a banking app before.
Of the financial activities, most are using the apps for making payments securely and the users are increasingly keen to use biometric technology for authenticating their identity.
A spokesman for Visa said: “The retail banking industry has been revolutionised with mobile technology and until recently conducting simple transactions meant visiting a bank branch.
“Now banks are embracing the flexibility being offered by apps to enable customers to stay on top of their finances while they are on the move. Anyone with a tablet or smartphone can now take their bank branch with them.”
A number of dating apps have been found to have vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers, says Kaspersky Lab.
The Russian firm says the vulnerabilities enable a user’s location to be accessed easily while the Android versions of some apps enable a user’s messages to be accessed.
Hackers can also, in some cases, log into a person’s profile.
The researchers say that the apps, including Zoosk, Tinder, WeChat and Happn, can have their location data hacked.
In separate research, Kaspersky also points out that growing numbers of us prefer to use mobile devices rather than computers for our online activities.
However, they add that there is a blasé attitude from users about their device’s security with online threats increasing.
An app unveiled by Facebook which is aimed at making users be more productive is now available as a desktop version. Workplace Chat, which is similar to Slack, could only previously be accessed via a mobile phone and, Facebook claims, around 30,000 organisations are now using the app.
Security experts at Check Point are warning that the Reaper botnet has now infected more than one million organisations and their computers and mobile devices. The firm says that those behind the network may be gearing up to wreak havoc soon.
Travel firm Booking.com says that in 2018 travellers will increasingly use technology and apps when arranging their travelling experiences. They also want to use technology to better understand their accommodation and destination before booking.
Amazon has unveiled a new Kindle app which will, the firm claims, encourage people to read more e-books using their mobile phones. They say the new app has been inspired by books and so the app has the ‘look and feel’ of reading a real book with larger book covers and new fonts. There’s also a new community tab for readers to access the Goodreads community.
A new app from the bank First Direct will enable it to push personalised broadband and energy deals to its customers in a move that could see the end of price comparison websites.
The firm says the smartphone app will trawl thousands of deals from third-party providers and will recommend specific products to its customers.
First Direct says the app will allow consumers to hand over their saving and spending data from their financial accounts in return for notifications on money-saving deals.
Consumer groups say the move could lead to a revolution in the way consumers shop for deals and warned that banks that flog poor deals would damage their reputation.
Apple’s chief executive, Jeff Williams, says the new iPhone X offers developers a great platform for apps and those wanting to develop artificial reality functions.
The new phone will use facial recognition and users can pay for goods by simply glancing at their phone.
Mr Williams told a conference: “The neural engines we have in the phone and our watch are a huge piece of our future and we believe these frameworks will enable developers to create apps that will do more.
“I think we are the point with our devices and computing, and with AI’s potential, to really change the world.”
According to a report, there’s been a big leap in the number of zombie apps that are generating fraudulent app clicks turning up on Google Play Store.
According to eZanga, they have found 43 fraudulent ‘live wallpaper’ apps which come from three developers but have had more than 1 million downloads.
They work in a similar way to apps identified in July so the phone does not have to be touched before the app will generate a click for a fraudulent advert.
Critics say the issue is a growing problem with Play Store which, unlike Apple’s App Store, does not have the same review processes in place and removes fraudulent apps retrospectively.
Research reveals that people today are increasingly preferring to use their mobile device for online activities rather than a computer.
The findings from Kaspersky Lab found that people are using their mobile devices more often, particularly for accessing email.
Users are also increasingly shopping online while the use of computers for both of these activities is in decline.
A spokesman for the firm said: “Irrespective of age and occupation, the focus of our digital lives is shifting increasingly onto our mobile devices; people are trusting them with their secrets, confidential information, money, files and other things.”
He added that cyber criminals are changing tactics to attack mobile platforms and says tablets and smartphones need to be effectively protected as a result.
Vodafone has unveiled passes to help users access apps when burning through their monthly data allowance. There are four passes available and are grouped by the type of app, for instance, the video pass is £9 a month and will cover Amazon Video, Netflix and YouTube, among others.
After two massive earthquakes hit Mexico, the number of users of early warning app start-up SkyAlert has doubled to nearly six million, making it one of Mexico’s most downloaded apps.
Researchers in Norway have reveal some alarming security flaws in smart watches aimed at children. They say hackers can seize control of these watches to eavesdrop and track the young users. The issue comes with those watches that use a mobile phone function for parents to communicate with their child and stay up-to-date with their location via an app.
A new online service for developers to use when testing their mobile phone app’s security and privacy has been unveiled.
The service from High-Tech Bridge, a web security firm, will perform dynamic (DAST) and static (SAST) testing as well as behavioural analysis of hybrid and native Android and iOS apps.
The system will analyse abilities and weaknesses and provide a user friendly report on remediation guidance.
The firm’s founder, Ilia Kolochenko, said: “Mobile apps are an inseparable part of private life and everyday business and, in light of data breaches, many research reports urge the improvement of mobile app privacy and security.
“Unfortunately, most developers don’t have the time, resources or budget to test properly their mobile app before going to production.”
He added that High-Tech Bridge will fill this gap with their unique and free online service.
WhatsApp has unveiled plans for its new app to work with landline numbers and have a business focused messenger service to enable easier communication.
The new service will be separate from the firm’s regular app.
The firm says that small business owners that sign up to the new app will be able to use the business version and also the regular version on the same mobile phone.
WhatsApp says this will make it easier for business owners a separate their professional and personal lives, save stress and help with organisation.
They will also be open to link their firm’s landline number to their WhatsApp Business app without having to hand out their personal number to potential clients.
When calls or messages from customers reach the landline number, the business account user will access them from their mobile phone.
The Guardian newspaper has unveiled its new mobile app for virtual reality (VR) story content and has given away nearly 100,000 headsets for users to enjoy.
The newspaper now has a five strong team developing the content for the emerging technology and they’ve publish nine projects so far including the experience of solitary confinement and the experiences of an autistic teenage girl.
The headsets are made of cardboard and have been released in partnership with Google and based on their simple design and for use with Android smartphones.
Other media outlets that have been investing in virtual reality and 360° video content include the New York Times and the BBC.
The popularity of the are headsets in the UK have been underlined with research from YouGov that says headsets are more popular than wearable technology and tablets with 6% of the UK’s population now owning one.
Facebook has revealed that its Oculus Go AR device will be launched early next year. The firm has high hopes for the platform with app developers being encouraged to exploit the opportunity which does not need to be linked to a computer to be enjoyed.
The man who designed the iconic iPhone, Sir Jonathan Ive, says people are misusing it by constantly checking their handset. Sir Jonathan told a TechFest that people should not overuse their phones or apps.
Google has revealed that its Duo app will now equal what Apple’s FaceTime app has been doing since 2010. The new level of integration means Android users will quickly and easily place a video call with a contact.
It’s been a long time coming, but it appears that Microsoft’s Window 10 ambitions have now died. Microsoft says it will abandon its smart phone operating system and Bill Gates and the chief of the mobile operating platform have already switched to Android devices.
A leading British bank is warning users not to give their online banking details to any of the increasingly popular mobile phone budgeting apps.
The warning comes from NatWest which investigated a customer complaint about the information being requested.
A spokesman said: “We do not authorise the using of these phone apps.”
The apps usually link to a user’s bank account online to check spending habits and calculate how much the user can save every month. However, they need access to the account – including the four digit access code.
Along with NatWest, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is also reminding its customers that they will be breaking their security agreements by handing over personal details. Lloyds, Halifax and Nationwide have also issued warnings.
The RBS also adds that their customers may struggle to get a refund should fraudsters get hold of their personal details.
HSBC is also planning to unveil its own budgeting app in 2018 which will enable customers to view all their account information in one place and this will also include information from other banks.
However, from January next year, a new EU rule means banks will have to alter their terms to enable customers to use budgeting apps.
Meanwhile, a new survey has revealed that pension providers could do more to encourage young people save for a pension by using apps.
The findings from one pension provider found that 51% of young people are not being encouraged to save by their employer for a workplace pension.
According to the National Problem Gambling Clinic (NPGC) growing numbers of gambling addicts are struggling with their gambling issues on mobile phones.
And one software firm says it is working on apps that will block gambling sites from being used on a mobile phone by a problem gambler.
The NPGC says the numbers of addicts struggling to control their addiction when using mobile gambling apps has risen from 24% of all gambling addicts in 2013 to 63% this year.
Researchers have revealed that mobile phone app alerts make users feel depressed, angry and even stressed out.
The findings from Nottingham Trent University reveal that these digital alerts have a direct effect on our moods that is immediate.
The academics examined several app notifications and found that 32% of them lead to negative emotions with users saying they felt upset, hostile, ashamed or nervous when the alerts arrived.
A spokeswoman for the research team said: “While app notifications enhance the convenience in our life, these digital alerts continuously disrupt activities with an instant call for attention. We need to understand better their impact on our well-being.”
Experts who have used the new NHS app that enables patients to access their medical records, order repeat prescriptions and book a GP appointment say it’s good but there is still a long way to go before it delivers everything that health chiefs are hoping for. The app will be unveiled next year to help boost customer service levels.
Apple have quickly released an update to its iOS 11 after users complained that apps were locking while others complained that their iPhone was making a mysterious ‘crackling’ noise. The update comes two weeks after the new software was unveiled.
The new Blackberry Motion smartphone looks set to ditch its keyboard and switch to a touchscreen and will run on Android. There will be new apps for users too including a messenger app and a fingerprint scanner. The phone is expected to be unveiled in early 2018.
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