February may be the shortest month of the year, but it has been a very active one in the mobile technology world. The number one event, of course, is the Mobile World Convention held in Barcelona between February 26 and March 1. Next, we have finally obtained a definite report on the global speed and availability of LTE mobile internet from a trusted source.
Among the key players in the mobile tech world, one top contender is facing federal investigations, while another has recently launched a new, improved mobile pay system and a benchmark for smartphones for corporate use.
If the introduction made you curious, then please read on and get all the details on what made the mobile world tick in February 2018.
Mobile World Congress 2018–the Catwalk for Several Product Launches
Every star needs the spotlight, and so do the flagships of major players such as Samsung, Sony and LG. Last year, Samsung didn’t want to share the spotlight, and created a separate event for the launch of the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus. Now, the company has already sent out invitations to select members of the press to attend the unveiling of the S9 and S9 Plus at the event. After many rumors and several leaked photos, everyone will be focused on the Samsung stand at MWC 2018, without a doubt.
Samsung S9 ;
However, equal attention should be given to other phone launches. Sony is unveiling new Xperia flagships–the Xperia XZ Premium 2 and Xperia XZ2 Pro. Thus, the company keeps up the tradition of confusing product names, leaving everyone waiting to find out which of the two is the superior model.
LG will most certainly launch its improved V30 flagship, which includes AI. However, the launch of the LG G7 will probably take place sometime later this year. Huawei and HTC have also decided to skip MWC for major product launches.
Apple Under Investigation by US Federal Authorities
Apple’s decision to silently reduce performance of older phones to push sales of latest generation iPhone models has landed the company in hot water not just with consumers, but also with the federal authorities.
On the February 1, both the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission started individual investigations into Apple. The key allegation in this instance is that the Cupertino based company has misled its own investors by failing to disclose the decision to throttle performance and battery life of older iPhone models.
The investigations are still in the early stage and no official allegations have been made. Both spokespersons of the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission have declined to make any statements and comments on this topic.
Apart from these investigations, Apple is facing numerous lawsuits from consumers who claim being defrauded by this decision, both in the US and overseas.
Google Launches Its Updated Mobile Payment Service
On February 20, Google started rolling out Google Pay, which replaces both Android Pay and Google Wallet. As things stood before, Android Pay allowed users to pay for products and services with their mobile phones (just like Apple Pay for iOS devices), while Google Wallet allowed peer-to-peer money transfers. Now Google Pay will help Android phone owners do both.
However, being in the incipient phase, the new mobile payment service only has two functions: Home and Cards. In Home, users will get a list of recent mobile payment transactions, and in Cards they can see all the debit and credit cards they registered, as well as gift cards, loyalty cards, etc. The Home screen also displays a list of nearby stores that accept Google Pay.
Peer-to-peer transactions are still not available. Instead, users can use Google Pay for public transportation in a few select cities (including Portland, London and Kiev). More cities will be added, together with the peer-to-peer transfer option.
Users who have Google Wallet or Android Pay currently installed will have them replaced by Google Pay. New users who want to install the application will probably get Android Pay, to be replaced by the new app during the next update.
The State of LTE at the Global Level
LTE mobile speed is something we all care about, because only high speed internet makes possible mobile payments, using social media, business and shopping apps and online mobile games. Open Signal, the company that usually prepares annual reports on the state of mobile internet speed for the US territory, has decided to prepare a comprehensive report on LTE at the global level.
The study consisted of over 58 billion measurements, involved nearly 5 million test devices, and took place during October 1 and December 29, 2017. Here are the key findings:
- The fastest LTE speed has reached a plateau level of 45 Mbps.
- The highest availability of LTE in terms of uptime is in South Korea (97.49%), and the lowest in Algeria (40.94%).
- The fastest mobile internet speed is in Singapore (44.31 Mbps), and the slowest in India (6.07 Mbps).
- The United States is in 5th place in terms of availability (90.32%) and only 62nd in terms of 4G speed (16.31 Mbps).
Google Launches Android Enterprise Recommended Service for Businesses
The world of Android phones is far-reaching and complex, with flagships coexisting together with nondescript brands, older and entry level models. For this reason, Google has decided to launch the Android Enterprise Recommended list, which aims to offer companies a trusted tool when shopping for mobile phones for business.
This is an important step, given the fact that every day mobile phones are used to access, send and receive confidential and sensitive data, and more companies are looking for assurances before they allow the use of a certain Android device within their organizations.
The Android Enterprise Recommended list currently features, among others, all Google phones (Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL), BlackBerry KeyOne and Motion, Huawei Mate 10 and P10, LG V30 and G6, Motorola X4 and Z2, Nokia 8 and the latest Sony Xperia X models. The full list is available here.
The key requirements for an Android phone to be certified adequate for business use according to Google include:
- Minimum OS version: Android 7.0+
- 2 GB RAM
- 32 GB storage space
- 8+ hours active battery life
- 90-day security updates
- Support for current shipping releases of major updates
The full list of requirements can be browsed here.