The Week in Mobile: August 2-8, 2015


Google and Samsung announce security programs, Target rolls out beacons, fitness giants battle for best app stack and more

Each week we round up the top news stories, think pieces and other content that centers on the fast-paced, quickly changing world of mobile technology. We tell you which companies are employing clever mobile strategies, illuminate new ways of thinking about mobile and offer a peek at meaningful trends in the industry. This content is designed to inspire you and your company to take advantage of the many benefits mobile can offer.

Google and Samsung to Release Monthly Over-the-Air Android Security Updates

Following the discovery of an Android vulnerability called Stagefright, both Samsung and Google announced new security programs that will now deliver patches as over-the-air updates. Samsung will deliver security patches for its Android devices about once a month. Similarly, Google will deliver patches for its Nexus devices. These aggressive new programs appear to have been spurred by Stagefright and it’s likely other manufactures will soon follow suit with similar programs.

And, in direct response to Stagefright, Google announced that 90 percent of Android devices are protected from the bug with a programming technique called “address space layout randomization.” The fix has been pushed to Nexus devices and will be distributed to other manufacturers sometime in August. Additionally, Google plans to update Messenger so that the bug won’t be able to infect devices through previews.

Target Tests Beacon Technology in 50 Stores Nationwide

Last week, Target announced that it will begin testing beacon technology with a group of 50 stores located around the country. Joining a number of companies that have already started testing beacons, including Macy’s, GameStop and Lord & Taylor, Target plans to use the technology to send information about deals directly to customers’ smartphones while they shop. Customers who have installed the latest version of the Target iPhone app and have enabled Bluetooth will receive a maximum of two push notifications per shopping visit. Customers will also be able to use the technology to request help from sales associates. Target plans to launch a nationwide rollout by late December.

Fitness Giants Battle for Best App Stack

Last week, Adidas announced the purchase of Runtastic, an Austrian fitness app maker. The acquisition follows Under Armour’s purchase of a number of fitness apps including MapMyFitness, MyFitnessPal and Endomondo, as well as Fitbit’s recent purchase of FitStar. While these fitness leaders have been battling it for the best apps on the market, one major player has yet to partake in the acquisition frenzy: To date, Nike has developed all fitness apps in-house. But it’s possible the company will take a similar approach as its competitors in order to keep pace.

The Acquisition of Here Maps Could Mean Big Things for Developers

Audi, BMW and Daimler announced the joint acquisition of Here Maps, which could reduce their dependence on Google and Apple’s map technologies as autonomous cars get closer to becoming a reality. In addition, the acquisition of Here Maps could open up an otherwise difficult space for developers to break into: vehicular technology. Because companies like Google and Apple, as well as car manufacturers, have such tight control over the space, third parties are often left on the outside. But Here Maps has a track record of working with developers and partners (via its Mobile SDKs and APIs), which could mean third-party developers have a shot at creating apps for for this emerging market.

Worries over Apple Demand in China Causes Stock to Drop

The Chinese market accounts for nearly 27 percent of Apple’s sales, but a recent report shows that Apple’s iPhone has dropped from first to third place in the market, now behind Xiaomi and Huawei. Revenue in China declined 21 percent from the March quarter. The company’s struggle to lead in such an important market, combined concerns about Apple’s ability to sustain its record-breaking iPhone sales streak, has led to a significant drop in stock. Since mid-July, Apple has shed nearly $100 billion in market value. However, Apple still managed to have a successful second quarter in Europe, with gains in each of the five largest countries in the region, according to a report from market research firm Kantar Worldpanel.