By adaptive - September 6th, 2016
Andrew Tolve reports on the SpaceX explosion that dealt Facebook's Internet.org a vital blow.
In the news
Internet.org, Facebook's ambitious initiative to bring mobile connectivity to underserved populations around the globe, experienced a major setback when its first satellite exploded on a Cape Canaveral launch pad. In a matter of seconds, a $200 million apparatus combusted into a plume of flames and debris. To blame? SpaceX, Elon Musk's aerospace enterprise, which was preparing for a routine fire test of its Falcon 9 spaceship, to which the Facebook satellite was strapped. Mark Zuckerberg was traveling in sub-Saharan Africa, the first region that the satellite was set to serve, when the explosion occurred. This isn't the end of Internet.org — Facebook's and Zuckerberg's pockets are way too deep for that — but it will set the initiative back months, if not years.
In the money
Two out of three enterprises in America plan to increase spending on mobile activities in the coming 12 months, according to a new study from research firm IDC. This increase comes in spite of heightened concerns about mobile security and increased vulnerabilities that come from mobile first policies. The study, which petitioned more than 700 IT decision-makers at large US firms, also revealed that 74% of companies have already or are about to implement policies that allow employees to choose their own devices.
A hundred bucks. That's how much the ZTE Warp 7, the latest smartphone from budget carrier Boost Mobile, will set you back. We've seen a number of these low-cost phones before, but the Warp 7 is interesting in that it requires no contract and delivers a prepaid Android handset.
In other news
Samsung recalled every single galaxy note 7, its latest flagship smartphone that launched last month, due to reports that the smartphone is ... wait for it… exploding. 35 devices, to be specific, have exploded due to problems with the lithium ion battery. That's a big deal, and a major blow given the timing with the new iPhone launch.
Speaking of, Apple is set to debut the latest iPhone, the iPhone 7, at its annual September product event. If leaks are to be believed, the latest generation will look nearly identical to its predecessor, with one major difference: There will be no headphone jack. Instead, the phone will use either wireless headphones called AirPods or new headphones that connect through the charging port, in an attempt to improve sound quality.
Also at the fall event, Apple is expected to launch SiriKit, which allows users to interact with their apps by way of voice commands with Siri. Developers can use the tool kit to connect any third-party app, whether it be Uber or Skype or Spotify. Apple is also expected to launch a new personalized playlist feature on Apple Music, dubbed "My New Music Mix," to better compete with Spotify's wildly popular "Discover Weekly."
Google wants to challenge Uber in the ridesharing market. Ground zero for the competition will be the San Francisco Bay area, where Google-owned Waze is set to launch a new carpooling feature called Waze Rider. The service allows passengers to connect with drivers who are headed to a similar destination and pay them $0.54--that's right, 54 cents, in return for sharing their ride. Unlike Uber, Google will take no fee on the transactions.
The best way to make mobile health apps work? Gamification. That's why Fitbit is rolling out a new feature called Adventures that superimposes the mundane steps people take in their everyday lives on the famous trails and walkways around the world, such as the great wall of China or a trek through Yosemite National Park. Adventures is available via a free update.
Finally, Microsoft made a nice move on the calendaring and mobile productivity front when it purchased startup Genee. Genee harnesses artificial intelligence to recommend convenient times for various colleagues to meet up. Want to grab lunch with two coworkers sometime in the next two weeks? Genee will peruse each party's calendar and find the most suitable times that work for every respective party. The coolest part: each user can be using different calendar apps and the technology still works. Microsoft plans to integrate Genee into its Office 365 software as soon as possible.
The Mobile Digest is a biweekly lowdown on the world of mobile, combining Open Mobile Media analysis with information from industry press releases.