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Monday, July 21, 2014

Google will stop calling games 'free' if they offer in-app purchases

The European Commission says Google has agreed to change its policies in response to EC proposals about mobile gaming and in-app purchases.

In December 2013, the EC said games advertised as ‘free’ shouldn’t mislead consumers about the true costs. It also said consumers “should be adequately informed” about payment arrangements and shouldn’t be charged without giving explicit consent.

Apple, Google and the Interactive Software Federation of Europe were asked to provide concrete solutions to the concerns raised.

According to a recent EC statement, Google has decided on a number of changes that’ll be in place by the end of September. These include not using the word ‘free’ when games contain in-app purchases, developing guidelines for app developers and introducing measures to help monitor apparent breaches of EU consumer laws. It has also adapted its default settings so that payments are authorised before every in-app purchase unless a consumer changes these settings.

The EC also notes that “no concrete and immediate solutions have been made by Apple to date to address the concerns linked in particular to payment authorisation” although Apple has proposed to address those concerns. It says EU Consumer Protection Cooperation authorities “will continue to engage with Apple to ensure that it provides specific details of changes required and put its practices into line with the common position”.

Neelie Kroes, EC Vice President responsible for the Digital Agenda, said “The Commission is very supportive of innovation in the app sector. In-app purchases are a legitimate business model, but it’s essential for app-makers to understand and respect EU law while they develop these new business models.”

Any enforcement or other legal action is the responsibility of national authorities. Earlier this year, the UK’s Office of Fair Trading introduced new principles for game developers to help ensure their games didn’t break the law.

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Opinion Articles

Why a mobile TV service is just like a zombie

Mark Bridge writes:

Here in the UK, we’re struggling a bit with mobile TV. Which made me wonder what the problem really was. Well, after a long evening with the finest stilton and the cheapest port, the answer came to me in a dream. A mobile TV service is just like the lurching, drooling nightmare creatures that appear in every zombie film. And once consumers understand zombies, they’ll understand the problems with mobile TV. Let me explain.

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Selling your way out of a recession? Of course you can!

Iain Graham writes:

Everybody these days (apart from a lucky few!) is suffering from a lack of business or reduced sales due to the current 'downturn in the economic climate'. In my opinion, this is the time when sales people should stand up and be counted!

No, I don't mean the hard nosed, foot in the door double-glazing, second-hand car or mobile phone types (no offence!), I mean EVERYONE! Selling is a concept as much as it is a profession.

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Mobile & Contactless Payments

James Rosewell offers his opinion on the current state of mobile and contactless payments.

The banking and mobile industries have big plans for Near Field Communication (NFC) as the mobile payment mechanism of the future. Barclaycard has been leading the way from the credit card sector forming a partnership with Orange, having previously worked with O2, and running a catchy TV advert prompting contactless cards using VISA’s paywave system.

However the reality of NFC payments appears a lot further away. The Point of Sale (POS) technology appears to be badly deployed by some of the first-phase retailers mainly made up of low-value high-volume businesses like coffee shops, fast food outlets and newsagents.

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Insecure Mobile Browsers

James Rosewell writes: I note with interest Barclays mobile on-line banking home page extolling the safety of mobile banking whilst claiming it’s as secure as their non-mobile equivalent. This is on the same page that recommends customers use Opera Mini to access Barclays mobile on-line banking.

Yet following the link to the operamini.com web site and looking at the help section we can read Opera’s answer to the question “Is there any end-to-end security between my handset and — for example — paypal.com or my bank?” and the answer is “No. If you need full end-to-end encryption, you should use a full Web browser such as Opera Mobile.”

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Recent Podcasts

Reviewing our 2015 mobile industry predictions... and looking forward to 2016

Podcast - 15th January 2016

Iain Graham, James Rosewell and Mark Bridge return to review their mobile industry predictions from last year. Which mergers, partnerships and developments did they forecast correctly... and which didn’t work out as planned?

Later in the programme, the team anticipates some of the topics that will be hitting the headlines during 2016.

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Podcast from Mobile World Congress 2015

Podcast - 6th March 2015

Mark Bridge learns about the mobile technology trends at Mobile World Congress 2015 by chatting to James Rosewell of 51Degrees, Dr Kevin Curran from the IEEE and Chris Millington of Doro.

They talk about wearable devices, wireless charging, mobile operating systems and much more... including some of their favourite products from the exhibition.

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Looking back at February: from security scares to multiple MVNOs

Podcast - 27th February 2015

We're taking a look back at the biggest mobile industry news stories from February 2015, including allegations that the UK's security service tried to breach SIM card security by hacking into one of the world's biggest SIM producers.

We also talk about the planned BT and EE merger, the creation of two new UK virtual networks, some acquisitions in the mobile payment arena and a new Ubuntu smartphone.

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Interview with Chris Millington of Doro about mobile retailing, wearables and technology for older consumers

Podcast - 24th February 2015

In today's programme Mark Bridge talks to Chris Millington, who's Managing Director for Doro UK and Ireland.

They discuss the state of mobile retailing in the UK, the future of wearable devices and - as you might expect - smartphones for seniors.

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A month of mobile: O2 counts on 3, Microsoft counts to 10 and Apple counts its profits

Podcast - 30th January 2015

We're back with a month of mobile industry news, including takeover talks and takeover rumours. O2 and Three are said to be discussing a merger... but is there any truth in the suggestions that BlackBerry could be up for grabs?

We also discuss Apple's record-breaking quarterly figures, the highlights of CES and the launch of Microsoft Windows 10, as well as saying farewell to the current version of Google Glass.

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