App developers around the world need to be aware that the US government is looking at plans that would disable mobile phone apps from being used when the user is in a car.
The government says it wants the makers of smartphones to lock most apps from being used.
The guidelines are currently voluntary with the aim of reducing accidents that are caused by drivers being distracted by their phones.
In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also wants carmakers to make their infotainment systems easier to be paired with a driver’s phone.
The move would see the driver still able to make calls but unable to send or receive text messages or browse the Internet or even use the video function.
However, navigation systems would still be permitted but there will be guidelines on how driver distraction can be avoided.
Meanwhile, the Australian government is looking to ban newly qualified drivers from using mobile phones while driving with a ban covering all use including navigation apps.
Apps build database of mobile phone numbers
A searchable database of billions of phone numbers has been built-up without permission by three popular mobile phone apps, according to a Hong Kong security firm.
They point out that among the numbers are those being stored are for top politicians in the UK and Hong Kong.
The apps work by enabling users to use a ‘reverse look-up’ function for a number they do not recognise – but this data is taken from users’ own phone lists.
Since the report was published one of the app providers has halted the ‘reverse look-up’ function while the two others say users can opt out of their database.
Mobile messaging app will boom
The use of mobile messaging will be enjoyed by a quarter of the world’s population within the next two years, according to a forecast.
That would be an increase of 16% on current use with most users being in the Asia Pacific region.
The growing market for messaging is India where users will increase in number by 24% to more than 133 million people.
One industry watcher told a news outlet that the reason for the rapid growth is that mobile messaging apps are a cheaper alternative to text messaging.
Top apps hog more user’s time
A survey has revealed that the 100 most popular apps are taking up more of their user’s time, says Opera Mediaworks.
In the first quarter of 2016, users were spending on average 30 minutes with the top apps which grew to 33.5 minutes in the next quarter and in the third quarter rose to nearly 37 minutes.
A spokesman for the firm said: “In just six months that has been a 20.5% jump.”
The findings reveal that mobile users spend on average just five minutes with an app but for the top 100 apps, users spend nearly 10 minutes on them.
Also, iPhone users open their phone 80 times on average while Android users open their phones 76 times: this means that mobile phone users access their phone every 15 minutes.
In other mobile phone app news …
Plunging sales at mobile phone firm HTC has led to rumours that the owners are looking for a buyer despite the firm producing some of the best tech-strong phones in recent years. However, HTC has denied a takeover is imminent.
The troubled Windows mobile phone software may be boosted next year to run the full desktop version of Windows apps instead of the firm’s ‘universal apps’.
The US army has announced it is increasing the number of training apps available for tablets and smartphones with the current batch proving popular. The apps have to meet strict security requirements but the aim is to improve training standards for soldiers.