Mobile

Maija Palmer

The love affair with the mobile phone appears to have faltered a little, with worldwide mobile phone sales down for the second quarter in a row, according to new figures from Gartner. But is this just a small hiatus as consumers wait for the next round of handsets from Apple and Samsung to hit the shelves later this year, or a sign of something deeper?

Gartner is clearly a little worried, as it is paring back its earlier estimates for 2012 handset sales by between 25m and 40m units. Its not a huge drop, only about 2 per cent of the estimated 1.9bn unit sales this year, but Anshul Gupta, analyst at Gartner says he has been a little surprised by the fall.  Read more

Maija Palmer

Coffee and techies go together like donuts and policemen, one the voracious consumer of the other. They have named programming languages after the stuff.  And so the alliance between Starbucks and Jack Dorsey’s Square mobile payments start-up seems quite natural.

Starbucks has never been shy of experimenting with technology, having been one of the first US coffee shop chains to offer customers free wi-fi access. Starbucks also has its  own mobile app, which allows customers to pay for their coffees using a phone. Although these mobile payments are still just a tiny fraction of overall revenues, it is considered one of the most successful mobile payments systems in use so far.  Read more

Facebook launched a new mobile advertising product for app developers that pushes more marketing content into users’ home pages amid investor pressure on the company to expand revenue channels.

The new ads will appear in people’s mobile newsfeeds, and, if clicked, will direct users to the Apple or Google Play app store to download the promoted mobile app. Facebook gets paid every time a user clicks on an ad. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

As usage and advertising spending on Twitter’s smartphone apps begins to overtake activity on PCs, the company is refocusing on mobile, according to its chief executive.

Speaking to the FT earlier this week, Dick Costolo said that 55 to 57 per cent of Twitter’s users were on mobile, particularly as it expands outside the US, which now makes up around 25 per cent of its users, reaching as high as 80 per cent in the UK.

“That is great for us because our mobile users are more engaged,” he said. “When you are active on Twitter on mobile you use it more than if you were a desktop user.” Read more

The Securities and Exchange Commission published letters it exchanged with Facebook leading up to its IPO, revealing details of the US regulator’s concerns over the social network’s mobile business strategy, its dependence on Zynga, and how it presented its advertising model.

The correspondence was made public on Friday, a routine disclosure, and showed similarly routine questioning. Facebook responded to all questions in amended filings before the public offering on May 18.

“I know that everyone wants to paint Facebook as evil because their shares have gone down,” said Michael Pachter, a technology analyst at Wedbush. “These questions are completely reasonable questions, each of these.” Read more

Mark Zuckerberg in New YorkShopping on Facebook for apps will soon be easier with the App Center, a new application storefront for users to buy and discover content. The social networking company announced the App Center this week following an amendment to its S-1 filing that claimed it does not “currently directly generate any meaningful revenue from the use of Facebook mobile products, and our ability to do so successfully is unproven”. The timing of the App Center news did not go unnoticed by commentators who noted Facebook’s push to conquer mobile. Read more

Facebook said the migration of its users to mobile platforms is compromising its ability to make money from them, according to additions the company made to its IPO regulatory filing on Wednesday.

As the company fields questions from potential investors this week and next on its road show, Facebook is once again reiterating its philosophy of prioritising the user experience over generating revenue, particularly when it comes to its mobile offerings. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Listen carefully in the City of London and, very faintly, you may be able to hear the bell ringing for round two of Facebook’s simmering battle with Apple over mobile apps.

Bango, a small mobile payments firm, quietly announced to the stock market on Wednesday that it has “signed an agreement to provide payment services to Facebook”. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

One of the more eye-catching elements of Facebook’s obligatory rundown of “risk factors” in Wednesday’s IPO filing was the section on mobile.

Facebook has huge scale on mobile. Half of Facebook’s monthly active users – 425m people – use its mobile products, as of December. Read more

Maija Palmer

Chaos Computer ClubKarsten Nohl, the celebrity mobile cryptography expert, has been at it again. Two years ago he caused a stir by showing that the secret code that protects GSM mobile handsets was easy to crack, leaving phone calls open to interception by third parties.

This year, he is due to show that handsets can also be hijacked to make unauthorised calls and send text messages, running up huge bills without their owners’ knowledge. GSM networks, which are vulnerable to this flaw, are used by around 80 per cent of the world’s mobile users. Read more