Nokia now enters the low-cost Thai smartphone market
The Finnish company Nokia, which now is a unit of Microsoft Devices Group, lately unveiled their Lumia 530 that will retail at just 3,690 baht, which is around a fifth of price of rival smartphones by heavyweights Samsung and Apple. Previously Nokia only made phones that were offered for above 5,000 baht so the new Lumia 530 is breaking its previous price barrier.
Microsoft Devices Group Thailand's head of marketing, Nontawan Sindhavananda, has a clear aim for entering the low-cost market.
- At least 20 million mobile users in Thailand have the potential to shift to 3G mobile service. Our move is a determined push to reach the mass-market consumer in the country, says Nantawan Sindhavananda.
The phone predictably features the Windows 8.1 operating system. It also includes Dual SIM functionality and has a quad core processor built in.
Overall smartphone sales in Thailand are expected to reach up to 15 million units this year.
Apple improves iCloud security
Apple is to improve security on its iCloud services after nude photos of celebrities were stolen by hackers and distributed online. Apple's chief executive, Tim Cook, confirms that the iCloud accounts of film stars including Jennifer Lawrence were broken into by hackers using methods such as guessing passwords or answering security questions to gain access. Other methods used were “phishing” practices with fake websites tricking users into giving up their passwords and usernames.
It is also confirmed that these particular attacks were person-targeted and that no widespread breach of the iCloud system have occurred.
Apple are now using a practice that is relatively routine with some other cloud based services already. For example when somebody tries to change a password or tries to transfer iCloud content to a new device the account-owner will receive an alert.
Apple advices it's users to be careful about their own security.
- When I step back from this terrible scenario that happened and say what more could we have done, I think about the awareness piece. I think we each have a responsibility to ratchet that up. That's not really an engineering thing, says Tim Cook.
Apple is continuing to work with law enforcement to help identify the criminals involved.
Google sets aside $19 million to refund child app purchases
Google will refund at least $9 million to consumers in cases where children made in-app transactions from the Google Play store without the consent of their parents.
The refunds come as part of a settlement into a probe by the US Federal Trade Commission looking at unfair practices for the billing of the parents of children who made purchases in kid’s apps. The period of time covers dates back to 2011.
In a statement, FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez says:
- It's vital to remind companies that time-tested consumer protections still apply, including that consumers should not be charged for purchases they did not authorize.
In-app charges can range from US$0.99 to U$200 and many of these charges are for virtual game items that kids are eager to accumulate. However it has lead to children buying these virtual items without the knowledge of their parents.
The problem has been widespread also in Thailand with the recent news that a farmer's son ran up a mobile phone bill of over 200,000 baht due to in-app purchases of virtual game items.
As part of the settlement Google will update its methods to ensure parents give consent for the purchases, noting that in-app purchases are relatively new and the market is still in the development stage.
Google informs in a press release that they have already made product changes to ensure people to have the best Google Play experience possible. Google will focus on creating more ways for people to enjoy all the entertainment they love.
The settlement follows a similar deal with Apple that are refunding US$32.5 million.