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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.

Brits Struggle with Shopping Apps

Brits are increasingly struggling to control their out of hours shopping expenditure which is leaving them out of pocket, says a new survey.

The findings reveal that the apps encourage users to spend more than they intend to so they lose track of outgoings.

The convenience of apps and the ability to make purchases with the click of a button mean growing numbers of British smartphone users are opting to use them.

The findings from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) also found that 15% of users are using shopping apps at work, 89% are using them in the morning and 38% use apps for shopping when in bed.

Also, 61% of users say the apps make it easier to spend and 31% say shopping apps have had a negative impact on their finances.

On average, men are spending £115 a month on shopping apps while women spend £131.

New app helps offenders and families

A new app has been launched to help offenders and their families in the UK’s prison system.

The man behind it, John Burton, says the app is ‘revolutionary’ and with its £1 cost to download, it’s received more than 35,000 online recommendations.

The app aims to help families keep track of their loved one through the prison system including inspecting a log of medications, what education is being received and arranging visits easily.

Drinkers enjoy pub app

When JD Wetherspoon unveiled its new table service app earlier this year they didn’t realise how popular it was going to be.

Indeed, while its main aim is for customers in a Wetherspoon pub to pay for drink and food without going to the bar it’s also popular for another reason.

That’s because drinkers have also begun using it to ask their friends to buy them a drink using the app – regardless of where they may be in the world.

Wetherspoon’s say they are happy with the inadvertent use for its app and a spokesman said: “We are delighted the app is being used by those to buy drink and food for friends thousands of miles away.”

Users urged to be wary of scam apps

While there are thousands of high-quality apps in Apple’s App Store, there are growing numbers of scam apps too.

Indeed, many of these scams will be free to download but will hit the user with expensive weekly subscription fees.

One app was charging around £80 every seven days for users.

Researchers say the app in question was ranked number 10 for being among the top productivity apps.

The app, ‘Mobile Protection: clean and security VPN’ was earning around £63,000 every month, according to researchers Sensor Tower, mainly down to search ads.

Apparently, Apple is now improving its search ads service to prevent future scams appearing.

Progressive Web Apps will take off

Businesses are being urged to turn to Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) to help recapture their audiences as app fatigue sets in for growing numbers of consumers.

The call is being made by Alchemy Digital’s Will Morris who says that these web apps will usher in a new era for brand engagement.

Among those who have begun using PWAs are Twitter and the BBC as well as stores such as Lancome with the appeal being for those firms who have an app that is not perform performing well enough.

He says that the big attraction for investing in PWAs is that they only need to be built once and can be deployed instantly across a range of platforms.

In other Miratrix mobile phone app news …

Sony has unveiled its PlayLink app which will enable users to play PlayStation games on their mobile phone. Essentially, they no longer have to watch friends playing and can now join in using their iOS or Android device.

Google Announces Shift to Focus on Apps

It one of the most anticipated days for developers around the world, and Google’s annual developer conference this year did not disappoint.

Among the many announcements, was one of the software firm’s announcement to develop mobile phone apps.

Google says it will spend less time developing its Android mobile operating system and more time developing its digital assistant and popular photo app.

Industry watchers say Google has effectively revealed that apps and its voice assistant are now increasingly important to its future.

Meanwhile, those attending the conference also heard that the firm’s stand-alone Daydream VR headset already has more than 150 apps available and developers are working on more.

Android ransomware flaw to be fixed

A flaw in Android that is used by 74% of ransomware attacks is set to be fixed this summer.

That is when the firm’s new operating system, Android O, is being released.

While many legitimate apps use the SYSTEM_ALERT_WINDOW command, it can be used by ransomware attackers to lock users of their phones.

Also, industry watchers say the new operating system will offer improvements for text-based verification services.

Apparently, the Android O system will check text messages automatically and should the relevant code be detected the user will be able to access apps directly without the need to seek permissions.

British retailers could do more with apps

A survey from Eagle Eye has revealed that retailers in the UK are failing to utilise mobile phones to enhance their customer’s shopping experiences.

In a report, the firm says that 60% of young buyers will use their phone while in a store but less than 20% will use it to redeem promotions or make payments.

Eagle Eye says that consumers are open to receiving mobile promotions and 68% said they would find it helpful to receive vouchers while shopping.

In other Miratrix mobile phone app news …

People visiting pubs would be encouraged to spend more if they could use their smartphone as a digital wallet, according to research. There has been a sharp rise in numbers using mobile technology in hospitality and there is potential for apps to help pubgoers order food and have the items delivered to their table.

Payment apps have taken off in Russia and their usage is now 60% higher than those who pay for services on websites. The most popular apps are for making money transfers, ordering from online stores and paying for mobile phone services.

A survey in China has revealed that expats living and working there are enthusiastic users of Chinese apps including WeChat. Many expats are using the service for video chat as well as voice calls and tend to communicate with emoji stickers – and their use is more popular than with Chinese people.

Apps being sold in the Chinese App Store have been told to remove tip functions since Apple has decided these are in-app purchases and liable to 30% commission. The move follows a growth in free apps that enable users to offer monetary tips to content creators and authors.

Users of Microsoft’s GroupMe apps can now access polls on their mobile devices. The function enables users to sort and collect their friends and contacts into easier to manage groups.

A burglar in Ipswich has been jailed after a barking dogs’ app alerted the homeowner to the break in. The owner had internal cameras fitted to monitor her dogs and the app alerted her to them making a noise. When checking her phone, the owner saw the burglar in her kitchen and then called police.

Users with an Android smartphone that’s been ‘jailbroken’ will not be able to access Netflicks’ mobile app, the firm has announced.

Business App Use is on the Rise

App usage in the UK has rocketed by 28% over the last 12 months as people increasingly turn to their smartphones for professional and social tasks, according to a report.

Flurry Analytics has examined mobile app activity for global trends and reveals that there are now more than 940,000 apps being used on 2.1 billion devices and these generate around 10 billion sessions every day.

In the UK, mobile phone users are turning to their devices for social and messaging app sessions which grew by 46% while productivity and utilities app sessions grew by 45%.

In France, the use of sports app rocketed by an impressive 190% in 2016.

Measure consumer activity across application portfolios

The data generated by Flurry helps marketers and developers to analyse and measure consumer activity across application portfolios.

The latest report reveals that app usage sessions in the UK grew by 28%, in Germany the numbers rose by 25% and in France by 16%.

When the figures for the UK’s usage are broken down, sessions for sports apps grew by 31%, for photography by 22% and travel by 15%.

However, business and finance apps saw a 2% increase, while lifestyle and shopping apps grew by 1%.

In comparison, sessions for games fell by 9%, apps for music, media and entertainment fell by 18% and personalisation apps fell by 46%.

Flurry says the most popular apps for mobile devices are sticky apps that are tied to the user’s daily habits; for instance, these are generally apps that rely on live data such as finance and business as well as sports.

Viber ends Windows apps work

VoIP and instant messaging service Viber has announced it will no longer work on Windows mobile phone apps.

The client for these is still available to download but there will be no new features or updates released for it. The app is still available in Windows store and functions problem-free.

Viber says it will focus on the more popular platforms for mobile devices: Android and iOS.

It’s not been a good week for Windows phone users with the BBC sending notifications that its iPlayer app will be closed from April.

Users can still stream BBC audio and video through the Microsoft Edge browser but this only works for a Windows phone that runs Windows 10 Mobile.

Mobile apps boost retail sales

Research has revealed that mobile devices helped deliver around $2 trillion last year in off-line retail sales in the US which accounted for two thirds of shopping in the category.

The study by Forrester points out that while the numbers are impressive, they could be higher.

Indeed, they say that American consumers shopping with smartphones has yet to peak and within four years, shoppers there will be spending $152 billion on their mobile phones or 24% of online sales.

In addition, mobile phone sales will account for $1.4 trillion in off-line sales over the same period.

However, despite the heavy influence of mobile phone apps in retail sales, the study reveals that retailers are still under-investing in their mobile applications.

Their findings also reveal that shoppers are increasingly using apps as a tool to find a product locally but retail firms need to invest in their digital platforms with loyalty offers, store maps as well as digital inventory to help boost sales.

In other Miratrix mobile phone app news …

Users of the Skype Wi-Fi service will find their app will no longer work from March 31 after Microsoft confirmed this service is being discontinued. The app for iOS and Android will also not be available for users to download.

App developers may be interested to know that the latest LG flagship smartphone is able to show two apps at the same time. The elongated display has been unveiled at a leading trade show in Barcelona and, the makers say, it no longer supports slide-in enhancements.

Biggest Drawback to Banking Apps Revealed

When it comes to using mobile banking apps, researchers say the biggest threat to security is human fallibility.

The report from Risk Mitigation Workgroup says that along with vulnerabilities in software and devices, banks need to pay attention to criminals targeting the end users with phishing tactics and social engineering.

A spokesman for the firm said banks are focused on delivering the apps for multiple operating systems and devices and while they need to focus on potential vulnerabilities they also need to be aware of human fallibility.

With growing numbers of customers using mobile apps to access their banking services means the apps need to develop robust security measures to mitigate any risk to the bank and their customers.

Half of children own a mobile phone

A new study has revealed that nearly half of children in the UK will own a mobile phone by the time they are 11 years old.

Researchers found that the average child received a mobile phone on their 11th birthday worth £120 – and they then spent two hours every day using the device.

However, 40% of parents said they regretted handing the child a phone while they were so young since they then become transfixed by it for social media as well as games.

Parents say the phone also becomes an expensive present since they will be expected to pay for replacing it at least twice after it has been damaged, stolen or lost.

Why small businesses should use mobile phone apps

One interesting article published this week reveals that small businesses should be following the footsteps of big corporate organisations and developing their own phone apps to boost business.

The apps can also boost functions and processes for the business and the article outlines what employer should be looking for from mobile phone technology including data collection, lead generation and campaign apps.

Organisations could also use employee and sales engagement applications.

More on the ITproportal.com site.

In other mobile phone app news …

Motorists using their mobile phones while driving in the UK are facing the doubling of penalties under plans revealed by the government. Drivers now face the prospect of receiving six points as well as a £200 fine.

Apple has partnered with PayPal to help make transfers and payments by voice commands using its digital assistant, Siri. Users can simply request that Siri sends an amount of cash via PayPal to a recipient and the payment will be triggered automatically. This is the first big announcement from Apple which in September opened Siri to third-party developers.

Researchers have revealed that an Android banking Trojan that uses Chrome browser vulnerabilities has, in just two months, infected more than 300,000 mobile devices. Called Svpeng, the Trojan allows hackers to steal personal and bank card data and intercept and send text messages.

Smart phone users in China prefer to use their mobile devices for shopping online rather than using computers. The findings come after the annual ‘Singles Day’ shopping bonanza saw Chinese shoppers spend nearly $18 billion with 82% of all transactions being made on mobile devices – that’s a rise from 70% last year.