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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.

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.

App Will Help Concert-goers

A mobile phone app developed by Ticketmaster could see queues at concerts and gigs becoming a thing of the past.

The app uses ‘smart tones’ to check people into the event rather than scanning a barcode or a QR code from a paper ticket.

The app also enables concertgoers to skip the queue by showing a green ‘approved’ screen on their smartphone.

Gig-goers will need to download an app and open it as they get closer to the venue where microphones will detect a unique signal from the phone and it’s this signal which is then checked against the database of ticket buyers.

It’s also thought the technology will reduce fraud since the ticket will be tied to a particular mobile device.

Growing numbers rely on banking apps

Data has revealed that growing numbers of people in the UK are setting up their savings accounts online and managing their bank account with their mobile phone.

Homeowners are also managing their mortgages this way too.

According to the British Bankers Association, nearly 20 million people in the UK logged into their mobile banking app last year – an impressive 4.9 billion times.

And, while using their app, 932 million transactions were completed.

Research reveals that the shift from branch banking to online banking is gathering pace with 86% of people now using an app to access their bank’s services.

CopyCat hits more than 14 million Android devices

Security researchers say there’s a new malware strain entitled CopyCat which has infected 14 million Android devices.

The malware will hijack apps to create fraudulent ad revenue and generate millions of dollars as a result.

Check Point says most of the victims are located in Asia and around 280,000 Android users in the US have also been hit.

They say that Google has been tracking the malware for two years and has updated Play Protect in a bid to block CopyCat.

However, millions of those who are affected have been using third-party app downloads and have been victim to phishing attacks as well.

Meanwhile, Russian security firm Group-IB has also highlighted a new virus attacking Android phones which will use their mobile banking app to attack the victim’s bank account.

Apparently, the virus is spreading quickly and masquerades as a text message from a contact in the user’s phone book.

In other Miratrix mobile phone app news …

Industry experts say Google is facing another massive anti-trust fine from the European Commission (EC) in relation to its Android operating system. European regulators say that Google is denying consumers a wider choice of mobile services and apps and is preventing innovation by third parties. Part of the problem is the preloading of Google apps, says the EC.

The growing number of apps for smart phones is leading to the death of the compact camera with sales declining quickly, says CIPA. The most popular five cameras for those who are uploading to photo sharing site Flickr are versions of the Apple iPhone.

Microsoft has announced it is closing Windows App Studio for those who use the Windows app building tool and instead users will need to use Windows Template Studio.

A new law in China means bloatware, or pre-installed apps, on mobile phones must have software available for these apps to be uninstalled and no apps can pass on the user’s data without their permission.

Guests at Hilton Hotels in future will be able to use a mobile phone app as a key to open their room’s door. Rival groups say they remain wary of technology like this because of their security concerns but the system has been trialled at more than 1,700 hotels in North America without problems.

New app will keep walking smartphone users safe

A new ‘walk mode’ app from Samsung is aimed at keeping users safe while they text and walk.

The idea is to prevent distracted mobile device users from bumping into other pedestrians and vehicles.

It’s available for downloading from the Google Play Store and will send an alert to the user when danger is imminent.

The app itself runs in the background and will flag up a danger regardless of what the user is doing.

Android users warned of security issues

Security firm Trend Micro has revealed that more than 800 Google Play Apps have the malicious code Xavier in them.

The full list has been published by the firm and include wallpaper changers and photo manipulators.

A spokesman for Trend said: “The embedded malicious behaviour will download a code from a remote server and execute it. It also goes to great lengths protect itself from detection.”

The firm says that the apps containing dangerous malware can take control of the user’s Android smartphone without them even realising it has taken place.

The warning comes just weeks since the Judy malware strain was also revealed to be infecting 36 million Android devices.

Classical music app will boost concert going

Not everyone is happy to see people using mobile phones during classical concerts and a new app will text notes to users during a performance.

The app will deliver programme notes as the orchestra plays so curious audience members can read along.

The first in Britain to use the app is the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra which has already trialled the app and will use it in a future performance in a special seating area.

The app is called Octava and is aimed at helping users through the ‘musical journey’ and is aimed particularly at younger and new audiences.

Lack of apps prevent VR take-up

Researchers have revealed that the biggest barriers for consumers taking up VR is the lack of apps, needing additional software and hardware.

The findings from Vibrant Media also reveal that consumers in the UK, US and Germany are worried about ads being delivered with VR services which will use up their mobile Internet data allowance.

A spokesman said: “Those content providers requiring extra hardware for viewing content will only appeal to niche audiences and VR creatives in advertising and content need to learn about consumer’s needs.”

The firm points to the 3-D TV market which is struggling since special glasses are needed for viewing but these have provided a big barrier for the system’s adoption.

In other Miratrix mobile phone app news …

Popular game streaming service Twitch has announced big changes to its Android and iOS app including features requested by fans. Game players will now have the ability for streaming directly on mobile devices from the app and better navigation bars are among the changes.

According to a survey from KPMG, Indian language users will account for a massive boost in the number of Internet and app users in the coming years. Indeed, by 2021, they are predicting more than 500 million Indian language users will be online compared with around 230 million English language users.

App users on Camden High Street in London will be among the first to use a new digital street where they can enjoy ultrafast speeds of 1 GB per second as well as free digital services and free phone calls. The InLink units are replacing payphones with more being rolled out to other major UK cities this year.

Research by Ordnance Survey has revealed that hill walkers are relying on phone apps too much and are unprepared for emergencies, particularly when they do not have a phone signal. In addition, 75% do not plan their route properly or pack the correct gear.

Police forces around the UK are warning parents to turn off ‘Snap Maps’ that may be installed on children’s smartphones after SnapChat introduced the location sharing mode. Police say they have child safety concerns as the app which could be used by stalkers and will reveal the user’s location.

Parents Notified When Kids ‘Sexting’

A new app has been produced that alerts parents when their children send an image of themselves to another user.

By using sophisticated image recognition algorithms, the Gallery Guardian can identify inappropriate pictures and alert parents immediately.

The app has been developed to meet parents’ growing concerns when suspicious material appears on their children’s mobile phone.

The aim is to fight back against the craze of ‘sexting’.

The child’s and parent’s phones are synced together which then enables the transfer of information between the devices.

The app will then monitor images as they are received or created and will detect genitalia, naked skin as well as breast exposure.

Should an image be detected, the app will alert the adult with a message stating ‘suspicious image detected’.

For Android phone users, parents will be told how the image appeared on the phone – whether it’s an Internet download, or from Snapchat or WhatsApp.

‘March of the Smombies’ warning

Scottish researchers say that pedestrians who are so focused on their smart phones and apps could lead to a rethink in road safety rules.

They say the smartphone zombies, or ‘smombies’, and a new type of transport user and they will influence the future design of our streets.

A study is underway in Glasgow to understand how people are being distracted by their mobile phones and what the impact is for road and pavement users.

A spokesman for the project said these people are at greater risk of accident because they change direction frequently and walk more slowly.

Android users warned over malware

A warning has been issued over Android users accidentally downloading a malware strain known as FalseGuide.

Researchers say that more than two million handsets now carry the software within a number of apps that have been downloaded from Google Play Store over the last year.

The apps have been promoted by fake developers and mobile phone security experts say it cannot be removed once the infection has been installed.

The result will see the victim being bombarded with adverts.

The apps are no longer available on Play Store but researchers Check Point say there’s been a big rise in recent months for malware hidden in apps.

Music apps boost interactivity

A report reveals that a growing number of musicians are resorting to new technology, including apps and 360° cameras, to reach new a generation of music fans.

The smartphone generation is discovering new music on tablets and smartphones and artists are now delivering content and apps to enable them to enjoy live concerts, music videos and to interact with the band.

One country singer in the US has created her first music media video using mobile apps as a framework that can be watched on tablets or phones more easily; it is not available for broadcast but only viewable on a phone.

In other Miratrix mobile phone app news …

A Japanese firm has unveiled a smartphone case that will reduce phone usage, help social media addiction and prevent drunk texting.  The Otomos case is available now.

The Emaar Hospitality Group is claiming a world first by launching five apps that will boost the experience of guests at events. The apps are being integrated with the reservation system of a hotel and will offer access to loyalty programs, social media, city guides and special offers.

The United Nations has unveiled an app that enables a user to walk ‘a mile in a refugee’s shoes’. The app replicates the daily struggle of a Malaysian refugee who has been forced to flee her home.

What Brits Use Their Phone For

A survey has revealed what British smartphone users are using their devices for and it’s not for making phone calls.

The research from an online retailer reveals that just 27% of respondents said they used their phone for making phone calls every week which is the 11th most popular use.

However, the use of apps is popular though in first place is texting with 88% of smartphone owners regularly sending messages, in second place is emailing and in third place is using Facebook.

Users also use their phone’s camera, in fourth place, and reading the news is in fifth spot.

The top 10 is made up with online shopping (56%), checking weather reports (54%), WhatsApp (51%), banking (45%) and watching YouTube videos (42%).

Android phones hiding pre-installed malware

There are 38 Android phones that are apparently being shipped with malware that is pre-installed during the manufacturing and supply chain process, says Checkpoint Security.

Among the phones included are the Samsung Galaxy A5 and the Asus Zenfone 2.

Checkpoint says that the threat from the malware for users is ‘severe’.

They say they have uncovered the infections on 38 devices using Android that belong to a multinational tech company and a large telecoms firm.

A spokesman explained: “While this isn’t unusual there is one detail of the attacks that stands out which is that the malware was not downloaded a result of the user’s use and arrived with the phone.”

Checkpoint says users should not download phone apps from untrusted or unusual places and to avoid ‘risky websites’.

The Israeli-based firm has also highlighted that several lines of insecure code can be used to hack the WhatsApp application despite the firm saying its system offers users a tight encryption system that cannot be hacked.

Checkpoint has revealed a technique that bypasses the encryption method by hiding code in an innocuous image.

Smartphone owners tend not to secure devices

Research has revealed that most smartphone owners do not take the steps needed to secure their mobile devices.

The survey reveals that users do not update their phone’s apps or the operating system regularly and they don’t use a pass code to restrict access.

According to Pew Research around 28% of US smartphone owners do not use a screen lock or any other security feature.

Also, just 40% will update their apps and operating system, while one in 10 say they never update their device’s operating system or apps.

Google unveils parental control software

Google has unveiled parental control software for its Android system called Family Link.

The system will enable parents to limit their child’s use of mobile devices and which apps they can have access to.

The controls will also enable parents to track and manage screen time so they can impose daily limits and bedtimes for devices so they cannot be used.

Google says that while most mobile device providers offer parental controls, their Family Link differs because it operates like a third-party parental control to monitor software use.

In other Miratrix mobile phone news …

The latest WikiLeaks release offers a good reason for smartphone users to regularly update their apps, says Columbia University’s Steven Bellovin. He says the CIA’s work will inspire ‘low-end hackers’ and Europol is also urging users to update their phone’s apps.

Wishbone, the popular quiz app aimed at teens has, apparently, been hacked with users’ personal information being stolen.

The most popular phones targeted by thieves in the UK are: the HTC M8, Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, Apple iPhone 6 Plus, Apple iPhone 6, Apple iPhone S6.

Market research firm Statcounter says the dominance of Windows 10 to access the internet is coming to an end with the rapid popularity of Google’s Android OS being used for mobile phones, tablets and desktops and laptops soon to overtake the Windows platform.