April was an interesting month for fans and professionals in the mobile tech world, even though there were no major product releases. However, two new phones from second tier producers were unveiled and they have sufficiently interesting features to deserve your attention.
Android phone users should also pay attention to the apps they have installed – a survey prepared by a specialized mobile security company reveals troubling details. Trouble is also the keyword for two major US wireless carriers–the Department of Justice has launched an investigation into their alleged collusion over mobile SIM cards.
Last, but not least, we’ll take a look at how small businesses join the world of dedicated mobile apps and how they approach app development.
Let’s look at the key mobile world news and events in April 2018:
About 20% of the Most Popular Android Apps Have Vulnerabilities
An open source software security and compliance company, Insignary, has tested the most popular apps in Google Play Store using its proprietary Clarity scanning technology. The results were alarming: one fifth of the most popular apps in key categories contain open source code parts with known security vulnerabilities.
The company performed the scan on 700 Android apps and summarized its findings in these shocking statistics:
- 57% of the vulnerable APK files identified by Insignary Clarity contained “Severely High” vulnerabilities.
- 86 out of the 136 vulnerable APK files contained openssl based vulnerabilities.
In terms of the most vulnerable categories of apps, Insignary stated in its findings that 70% of the top 20 gaming apps are vulnerable, as well as 30% of the top 20 sports apps.
These detailed findings were made possible thanks to the specific scanning method, Clarity, developed by the company. Clarity is capable of scanning for “fingerprints” from the binary code under examination and compares the data against the fingerprints collected from open source components stored in its database. The company currently has a database of over 180,000 security vulnerabilities.
The president of the American Consumer Institute’s Center for Citizen Research, Mr. Steve Pociask, who received a briefing of Insignary’s findings, stated that "Software security and data privacy are increasingly at risk due to deficiencies in the development and procurement of software and apps, from the growing sophistication of hackers and their methods.”
Moto G6 Launch Shows Off Improved Design and Screen Ratio
Motorola has set a standard with its G series: affordable prices for mid-to-top tier performances. And its latest release, Moto G6 is living up to the promise. The most significant improvement seen in this latest phone model is the refined design, with rounded edges, giving it a more comfortable feel.
The display ratio has also been upgraded to 18:9, on a 5.7-inch IPS LCD screen. This means that users can enjoy a Full HD+ resolution, which is slightly higher than Full HD thanks to the taller screen.
This display choice has a positive impact on the ergonomics of the device: Moto G6 has a larger screen on a smaller body than the G6 Plus. The company also paid attention to the other materials: Moto G6 has a shiny 3D glass body. However, it is not clear whether the phone is water resistant. Motorola states that G6 is “splashproof,” but the phone does not have an IP rating.
Moto G6 stays true to the traditional connectivity slots, sporting an USB-C slot in the middle of the bottom edge and a 3.5 mm headphone jack next to it. Here are some other technical specifications:
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 chipset
- 3 GB of RAM
- 32 GB internal storage plus slot for up to 256 GB microSD card
- 12 MP sensor and 5MP sensor dual camera on the back
- 5 MP front camera
The Motorola Moto G6 will cost around $250, and will be available in the coming weeks, though Motorola has yet to announce the official release date. You can register for updates here.
LG Includes Extra Button for Google Assistant on G7 Model
The latest model from LG, G7 ThinQ will be officially launched on May 2nd. However, a continuous series of photo leaks has allowed specialists and the general public alike to have an idea of what it will look like.
The most accurate predictions so far state that LG will ditch its power button/fingerprint sensor combo on the back of the phone, thus breaking away from its own tradition. Instead, G7 ThinQ will have a standalone power key on the right side, while the fingerprint sensor will remain in its classic position on the back.
Rumored specifications of the new device are:
- 6.1-inch notched MLCD+ screen
- Snapdragon 845 chipset
- 4GB of RAM
- 64GB of storage
The latest photo leaks have shown that LG has added a new button to its next release, and this will be used to launch Google Assistant.
The Department of Justice Investigates AT&T and Verizon for Alleged Collusion Over SIM Cards
AT&T and Verizon, the wireless carriers that cover 70% of the US market, are being investigated by the Department of Justice for alleged collusion to stifle the eSIM technology, which would make carriers switching easier for the consumers.
The DOJ is also looking into the operations of GSMA, an industry standards group, as a result of complaints formally filed by at least one device manufacturer and one wireless carrier. The stock market insights platform Seeking Alpha stated that Apple may be behind one of these complaints. The company cites a Bloomberg report, but it does not provide any link to the respective document.
According to the information currently available, the DOJ is investigating whether AT&T and Verizon, in collusion with GSMA, attempted to thwart a new technology called eSIM. This technology allows mobile phone users to remotely switch wireless providers, without having to physically change their phone SIM card. The investigators contend that the two wireless carriers worked with GSMA attempting to create standards that would allow them to lock a device into their network, even if the phone was equipped with eSIM technology, according to a New York Times report.
So far, there are no official comments from the Department of Justice, the three parties under investigation, or from Apple.
Small Business Owners Are More Open to the Idea of Having a Dedicated Business App
A survey, conducted by The Manifest, which included 350 small business owners indicated that nearly half of them already have a dedicated mobile app for their customers. Regarding the modality of developing the apps, the respondents stated as follows:
- 46% in-house staff;
- 41% freelancers or consultants;
- 39% app design or development agency;
- 38% DIY app building software.
Although in-house staff is the first choice, the survey also states that this options is viable only for small companies that already have skilled technical personnel available. App development agencies and consultants are the best choices for companies that do not have the know-how for building apps and want to save money by making the right choices in terms of scope, functionalities and level of complexity of their app.
According to the report, 48% of the small businesses included in the survey spent under $25,000 for the entire app building process: design, development, testing and deployment. However, 37% of them spent between $25,000 and $100,000, and 15% more than $100,000 for their business app. The latter categories prefer advanced skills and know-how and opted to work with an app development agency or a consultant, in order to have a complex and high-quality product at the end of the development process.
Source: The Manifest
As for the rate of adoption of mobile phones in this business sector, the findings are as follows:
- 47% of businesses with 50+ employees have had a mobile app since before 2017,
- only 4% of small businesses with 50+ employees do not consider ever building an app;
- 30% of one-person businesses do not have an app and do not consider ever building one, either.
The respondents stated that the most valuable feature of a business mobile app is the possibility of accepting mobile payments from customers.