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.
Half of young Brits use banking apps
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.”
Dating apps have hacking vulnerabilities
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.
In other Miratrix mobile app news …
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 devices to be future ‘AI’ platform
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.”
Zombie apps turn up on Google’s Play Store. Again.
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.
Mobile devices are increasingly the choice for online activities
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.
In other Miratrix mobile phone app news …
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 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.
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.
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 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.
New research has revealed that the most used mobile apps in America are Facebook, YouTube and Facebook Messenger.
The findings from ComScore also revealed that the average adult mobile phone user spends around 2.3 hours every day on their mobile apps.
When the data is analysed, apps account for 87% of the time used, while the mobile web is used for 13% of the time.
However, the most popular apps that have been placed on the home screen for quick access are: Facebook, Gmail, Google Maps, Amazon and Facebook Messenger.
The findings also reveal that millennials, those people aged between 18 and 24, spent two thirds of their digital media time using a mobile app – more than any other group.
Millennial’s hate uncool app designs
Comscore’s findings also reveal that Millennials are often left unimpressed with an app’s design and are killing them off at an unprecedented pace.
They will delete the app if they don’t like how it appears on the screen and logos also matter.
The firm adds that Snapchat is closing in on Instagram for popularity.
Spyware fears leads to apps removal
The fear over spyware has led to Google removing more than 500 apps from its online store.
The move follows findings from security firm Lookout which revealed that the apps could spread spyware on the user’s Android phone.
The software has the ability to siphon a user’s personal data without alerting them or the app creator. Indeed, most of the app developers were unaware of potential security flaws.
Among the apps to cause potential problems are SelfieCity and Lucky Cash – both of these have now been fixed.
Mobile phone satnav use could lead to ban
Drivers in the UK who use their mobile phone as a satnav could be facing hefty penalties.
The government has warned motorists that they will be breaking the law if they run a navigation app on their phone while driving.
The crackdown on drivers using their mobiles while behind the wheel began in April.
However, it appears that the message has not entirely reached everyone and drivers are being warned they face prosecution if they use a mobile phone while at the wheel of a car.
In addition to a £200 fine, drivers can also be banned from driving.
Android Oreo begins roll-out
The new OS for Android, Oreo, will be rolled out over the coming weeks for Nexus and Pixel phones.
There are various cosmetic updates and new features for Oreo and the OS will be, Google claims, more popular than Nougat which is used on 15% of Android devices.
The firm says phone makers look set to launch or upgrade their new devices to Android 8.0 Oreo by the end of the year.
This is the eighth major release for what is the world’s most popular mobile OS.
In other Miratrix mobile phone app news …
Facebook has revealed that its users can take 360° photos using its app and use them as a cover image. The capability is now being rolled out and users can tag friends and also zoom into the image.
Repairing the damaged screen of a mobile phone could lead to hackers gaining control of the device. An Israeli university says hackers can plant spyware in the screen and users are warned to avoid third-party screens for their replacement since these can connect to chips in a mobile device and allow hackers access to apps and the phone’s camera.
Kaspersky Labs says there’s been an unusual spike in activity for mobile Trojan clickers to steal cash from Android users using WAP (wireless application protocol) billing. There are now thousands of affected users around the world including Russia and India.
One fed-up dad in the UK has unveiled an app that prevents his son from using his mobile phone when ignoring texts.
Nick Herbert has revealed that the app will lock his son’s smartphone when he ignores any text messages.
The 13-year-old was playing games regularly on his smartphone rather than responding to his dad’s communications.
Now, after eight months developing the app, other parents can enjoy the ReplyASAP app to encourage their children to respond to their messages.
The app works by sounding an alarm and blocking the screen with a message which prevents the mobile phone being used until the user responds.
In addition, the parent will be notified that the user has seen their message.
Parking apps are criticised
Motorists who use parking apps on their mobile phones are being fleeced, one website says.
Resolver says that despite the convenience being offered by the apps to pay for parking and find spare car parking spots, they can also offer a range of ‘sneaky extra’ charges.
This means that the overall costs can be increased by up to one third and include paying for text messages.
A spokesman for the site said: “These apps, rather than being helpful, are anti-consumer and with unnecessary charges for services the users do not ask for or need – they are ripping off motorists.”
However, the AA says that despite the growing popularity of parking apps, fewer than 20% of drivers who have them on their phones actually use them.
New app deters speeding
A new app from Toyota Europe will help deter teens from using their phones while driving and also from speeding.
The Safe and Sound needs to be downloaded by the teen driver as well as their parents and then paired.
Essentially, when the vehicle moves at speeds of more than 9mph it will use Google Maps API technology to block off every social media notification as well as incoming calls.
More importantly, the free app for Android will switch off music and play the parents’ Spotify playlist until the teen stops touching their mobile phone or returns to the road’s speed limit.
Uber users warned of malware
Customers of Uber have been warned that a virus could steal their bank card information, according to Kaspersky.
The security firm says that malware called Faketoken imitates Adobe Flash Player and disguises itself in games.
Essentially, victims are responding to a prompt to update their Flash plug-in when watching a video on their smart phone and this then downloads the malware.
Among the apps that have been hit include the Uber ride sharing app with the malware creating a fake window to steal the user’s bank card details as they are being typed in.
In other Miratrix mobile phone app news …
A British mobile only challenger bank called Starling is attracting attention with its business model that is likely to force a rethink in the UK’s financial services sector, say reports. Without any physical branches, the bank relies entirely on its mobile phone app and those behind it say there are opportunities for other fintech firms to enter the sector.
Google has announced that its Android app will now play video previews in search results for those using mobile phones. The new offering is also available on Chrome though for those users who don’t want to watch a video start automatically, the service can be cancelled.
A new mobile phone app that enables users to jump the queue at their favourite clubs and pubs has been unveiled by three businessmen in Manchester. Viper also enables the user to buy drinks before they arrive in the venue.
Hello, welcome back. Got some exciting news. Miratrix ended up on the list for Mobyaffiliates top app marketing agencies for 2017. It was unexpected. Not because I get rubbish results or anything like that, just unexpected. Actually guys it’s Mobyaffiliates, basically awesome. Great job, thank you. All that shameless self promotion in this week’s video. Alright, cheers guys til next time.