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
Karsten 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
When Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt on Wednesday addressed a Taiwanese audience for the first time, he was in some sense preaching to the choir.
As Mr Schmidt noted, Taiwan already fared better than the US in terms of broadband penetration, the speed of its internet, and the percentage of its people with smartphones. Yet there was still one looming problem, he noted, and that was the rising cost of building more advanced telecommunications networks. Read more