By adaptive - November 14th, 2016

Is the mobile industry responsible for Donald Trump's shocker? Are there regulatory concerns moving forward? Andrew Tolve reports.

In the news

Donald Trump won the US presidential election, defeating Hillary Clinton in an electoral college landslide that shocked the world. What this means for the mobile industry in terms of shifting regulations in the coming years — from telecoms to self-driving cars to drones and smartphones — is hard to say given that Trump was so opaque on specific policies during his campaign. What is for sure is that social media played an outsized role in this election season, with Trump using a rambling, nativist rhetoric on Twitter to grow a movement and dominate traditional media coverage the way no candidate ever has before. Facebook meanwhile was one of the primary ways that American adults got news in the run-up to the election; some two thirds of the electorate received news via Facebook, even though some of that news is uncorroborated or downright false. In the wake of the election, some liberal pundits were quick to point fingers at Facebook for the loss, a criticism that Mark Zuckerberg called "crazy." This drew even more liberal ire, and Zuckerberg has now pledged to do more to eradicate fake news and hoax stories from the platform. Strange times.

In the money

Google's new virtual reality headset is now on sale in the United States for $79. The Daydream View VR is made from entirely soft and flexible materials, so it feels more like a comfy headband than a rigid piece of plastic on your eyeballs, the way Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR do. Google is also hoping to distinguish the device thanks to a gesture- and motion-activated controller that makes it easy to move the cursor without fumbling around with your hands. Daydream View VR works with Google's new Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones.

Snapchat debuted it's new Snapchat Spectacles for $130. The sunglasses include a tiny video recorder in the top left-hand corner that makes it easy to capture films in real time and post them to the social media platform. Snapchat is selling its spectacles in bright yellow pop-up vending machines that stay in one location for only 24 hours at a time.

In other news

There's a tiny problem with GoPro's new Karma Drone: it stalls out in mid-flight. Just two weeks after launching the device at a price point of $800, GoPro is therefore issuing a mandatory recall for all 2500 Karma drones that have already been sold and will put shipments on hold until the loss of power problem is resolved. Thankfully no one has been hurt to date, and this is far from the global debacle of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, but it still doesn't look good for GoPro's first foray into unmanned flight.

Speaking of Samsung, the company took out full page advertisements in a spate of mainstream American newspapers to apologize for the phone fires and exploding washing machines and to promise better performance in future devices. At the same time, Samsung continues to push full steam ahead with its Galaxy Note 8, which is due out in March or April 2017, even though the cause of the Galaxy Note 7 fires remains a mystery. The company said that it has launched an internal investigation and hired third-party experts to pinpoint if it's a problem with the battery, the hardware, the software or, worst of all, perhaps a combination of all three. 

Want to reimburse your buddy via PayPal? Now a simple verbal command to Siri is all you need. PayPal says the new feature works on all iOS 10 enabled iPhones and iPads and only requires that a user specify a name and an amount of money. Users can also request money from others via voice command. PayPal is launching the service in 30 countries, including the US and the major markets in Europe and Asia.

Facebook is edging in on LinkedIn's turf. The social media giant is experimenting with a new feature that allows companies to create a dedicated landing page for job postings on their Facebook pages. Companies can also post job opportunities as status updates along with information about job requirements, expectations, title and salary. Candidates can apply directly through the Facebook; those applications will appear as messages in the company's Facebook Messenger inbox.

Inspired by mobile, Google is about to pull a 180 on its search algorithms. When you Google something today, a list of websites and apps pop up based on the relevance of the desktop content of those sites. In the future, Google will switch to mobile-first indexing, so the only thing that will matter will be the relevance of the mobile content. This makes sense given that the majority of searches now happen on mobile devices, but it should still serve as a wake up call to all those companies out there still prioritizing their desktop websites.

Finally, if you've always wanted a connected car but you're stuck with an old clunker, rejoice! Google just updated its Android Auto app so that it's available directly on smartphones. That means it doesn't matter what built-in tech you've got behind your dashboard, you can just open up the Android Auto app on your phone (version 2.0), plant that puppy on a dashboard mount and enjoy an in-car optimized interface. Bigger buttons. Voice commands to access your music and email. The goal is to minimize driver distraction while bringing the full convenience of the mobile era into your car.

The best part: It's free.

The Mobile Digest is a biweekly lowdown on the world of mobile, combining Open Mobile Media analysis with information from industry press releases.


Andrew Tolve is a regular contributor to Open Mobile Media.

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