Android Exec Leaves Google, Joins Xiaomi

Hugo Barra, vice president of product management for the Android division of Google is leaving his role to become vice president at Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi.

“In a few weeks, I’ll be joining the Xiaomi team in China to help them expand their incredible product portfolio and business globally,” Barra wrote in the Google+ post announcing his departure. “I’m really looking forward to this new challenge, and am particularly excited about the opportunity to continue to help drive the Android ecosystem.”

Xiaomi was recently named China’s most popular Android smartphone manufacturer in an AnTuTu study, with two of its handsets appearing in the top three.

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Domino’s Gets Interactive Second Screen Ads in X Factor App Deal

The X Factor has updated its iOS app for the new series to include the opportunity for audience members to act as the fifth judge, predict the outcome of each show and win prizes.

Domino’s is the launch partner for the new app experience and will have mobile and tablet ads synced with TV commercial slots, along with branded games in-ad, a first for ITV’s Ad Sync platform. Viewers will have the chance to win food prizes and personalized promotional codes during gameplay.

Domino’s also gets its own hub within the app, designed and built by iris, where users can find additional content and more digital rewards. The campaign will also run across the rest of ITV’s digital platforms and social media outlets.

The partnership was negotiated by ITV Commercial, FremantleMedia UK and Arena, part of the Havas Media Group. Arena’s business director, Kay Tasker, said: “This is an exciting partnership highlighting the ever increasing importance of mobile in the media landscape. With multi-screening booming, integration with this engaging X Factor app will further solidify Domino’s place within the family entertainment sphere, while highlighting the pivotal role mobile plays in its customer strategy. It is yet another example of our work to keep Domino’s firmly ahead of the curve in the digital media space.”

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Mobile Marketing Live Early Bird Discount Ends Today

Today is your last chance to purchased a discounted Early Bird pass for Mobile Marketing Live, our flagship event taking place on 3 October 2013 at The Grange St Paul’s in London. Early Bird tickets cost £395, £100 off the full price – you can book yours here.

Now in its second year, Mobile Marketing Live brings together leading brands who have successfully deployed mobile in their business, and expert practitioners with their finger on the pulse of the latest developments in their specialist area. 

The conference line up includes Tesco, Yahoo, Johnson & Johnson, Facebook, Domino’s, Barclays, Google and Telefonica alongside expert practitioners who have their finger on the pulse of the latest developments in their area of expertise.

There are also offers available for group bookings: if you buy two or three passes together, you can save 20 per cent by entering discount code “GD20”; while bookings of four or more can save 30 per cent with code “GD30”.

If you would like more information please contact [email protected] or call 020 7183 5285.

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Boost opens Krakow office, hires CTO

Boost Communications has appointed Jakub Dziwisz as CTO, as it opens a development hub in Krakow, Poland.

Dziwisz, who will be based at the Krakow office, will be responsible for organising the company’s technology, overseeing innovation, development and delivery of software solutions. 

“While we already have a fantastic team of developers and creative people here in Norway, we’re very happy to be able to speed up our product development and take on additional projects through having a new hub in Krakow,” said Boost CEO Øystein Skiri. “Having a technical base in Krakow gives us extra capacity to deliver even more mobile projects, at the same high quality and level of innovation we’re known for.”

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Hawaiian Airlines Brings 1,500 iPads on Board

Hawaiian Airlines is introducing 1,500 iPad Mini devices to 14 of its routes, to serve as an in-flight entertainment system.

As of 1 September, passengers on all of the airline’s Boeing 767 routes will be able to access films, TV shows and games on the tablets, using a solution from Bluebox Avionics. The iPads will be complimentary in Business Class, and available to rent for $15 in Economy.

“Hawaiian Airlines’ signature on-board hospitality is already very popular with travellers, but we wanted to go even further to ensure our customers’ travel experience is more enjoyable,” said Blaine Miyasato, Hawaiian Airlines vice president of product development. “With the help of Bluebox Avionics, we’re building on our acclaimed inflight service by incorporating the latest in popular consumer tech products to enhance our in-flight entertainment options.”

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Connected Driving is HERE, from Nokia

Nokia has revealed HERE Connected Driving, an end-to-end solution for connecting vehicles to the cloud.

Connected Driving collects together a number of HERE-branded products. HERE Auto provides in-car navigation, with or without a data connection – there’s also an SDK on the way for car makers wanting to expand its functionality. 

HERE Auto Cloud provides always-on access to dynamic services including real-time traffic and road closure updates, as well as local recommendations for restaurants, parking spots and the most inexpensive fuel.

HERE Auto Companion is a customisable app which connects the driver’s mobile device up with the in-car system, carrying across navigation info between the two, as well as enabling the user to remotely check their car’s fuel level and tire pressure, and find their car using AR.

Finally, Nokia has updated HERE Traffic with the ‘Halo’ engine for processing real-time data on weather, traffic and congestion, in order to deliver a more accurate travel time estimate.

It’s an impressively complete offering, and one which point to the way forward for Nokia, as its handset business struggles. According to Gartner, these kinds of in-vehicle data capabilities will be a key criterion by 2016 for the majority of consumers in mature markets when choosing a car – and it seems to be a market Nokia is well placed to tap.

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3 Drops Roaming Charges in Seven Countries

3 has dropped its roaming charges in seven countries, enabling subscribers to using their UK tariff abroad without extra costs. 

Branded as ‘Feel At Home’ countries, the seven markets are Republic of Ireland, Australia, Italy, Austria, Hong Kong, Sweden and Denmark, with 3 promising more to come.

Customers will, however, be charged roaming rates if they exceed their plan’s call, text or data limits.

“We want to make sure our customers have the best possible mobile experience,” said Thomas Malleschitz, marketing director at 3. “By abolishing expensive roaming charges in select countries, we are allowing our customers to get even more value from their minutes, texts and data abroad by removing the fear associated with staying in touch while travelling.” 

3 has been aggressively competitive with its pricing of late – possibly to offset the fact that it is now the only major operator in the UK which is unable to offer 4G, a title it will hold until December.

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Weekly Highlights: 4G, Nexus 4, PayPal and More

4G has dominated this week’s news, with Vodafone and O2 finally launching their own high-speed networks to compete with EE. We spoke to representatives from four corners of the mobile industry – a retailer, publisher, ad network and creative agency – about what they expect wider 4G access will mean for their business.

While EE might no longer have the monopoly on 4G, it’s got a serious head start. On the same day as the others’ launches, the operator announced it had switched on its 100th city. It seems unlikely that the timing was coincidental.

That leaves just 3, which revealed its plans for a 4G rollout starting this December, over a year later than EE’s initial launch. You might except, then, that 3 doesn’t stand a chance in the 4G race, but it has one trump card – price.

In its announcement, the operator confirmed that it won’t be charging subscribers anything extra for 4G access, and followed up today with the news that it’s getting rid of roaming charges in seven countries, ranging from the Republic of Ireland all the way to Australia.

But it wasn’t all warring operators this week. Google’s Nexus 4 saw a major price cut, bringing the cost of the LG-manufactured handset down to $199 in the US, and £159 in the UK. Kirsty Styles shone a spotlight on ZNAP, the mobile wallet company which isn’t overly interested in mobile payments. Newsworks, the marketing body part-owned by all of the UK’s major national newspaper publishers, launched The Tablet Project, an initiative to create ad standards for newspaper tablet apps. 

Finally, if you’re in the mood for something a little more visual, watch our video report on PayPal’s picture verification service, which launched a couple of weeks back with a small selection of retailers in Richmond. We head over to see it in action, and spoke to the company’s head of retail services Rob Harper.

Thanks for reading – and watching – and we’ll be back on Monday with all the best news from across the industry.

Alex Spencer

Online Editor

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Nationals Call for Tablet App Ad Standards

Newsworks, the marketing body part-owned by all of the UK’s major national newspaper publishers has launched an initiative to help create standards in advertising on newspaper tablet apps.

The Tablet Project is looking to create case studies that will help build industry understanding around click-through-rates, dwell times and other engagement metrics for newspaper tablet ads.

The results will be based on tablet campaigns run in October and November – with a minimum agency spend of £15,000 needed for the tests  – which will be matched in free space by the publishers. The project is limited to five key sectors: retail, finance, motors, tech & telecoms and FMCG. Although the participating agencies will have to stump up to participate, Vanessa Clifford, client services and strategy director at Newsworks, told Mobile Marketing that this is all for the greater good.

“There is still debate around the best way to measure; whether we call it impressions or circulation, or whatever the equivalent, that is still ongoing. But clients are already spending money on tablet advertising and they’re only getting an isolated idea of what’s happening. They can’t tell whether the results are good, bad or indifferent. This is about working out what ‘good’ looks like in the same way we have for online,” she said.

The media owners must give over all their analytics from the test campaigns – whichever platform they are using. “The fragmentation here is also another bit of the problem”, Clifford said. “The clients also have certain numbers – what happened afterwards – which the project leaders will also need to know.”

Asked whether they may be room to repeat the project for newspaper apps on smartphones, she said: “Tablet apps are slightly further down the evolution for news brands compared to smartphone apps. All of the newspapers we look after are now multiplatform brands, many with strong tablet apps and a mobile presence, so this is a step in the right direction for understanding each of those platforms and what people do with them.”

Alex Kozloff, head of mobile at the IAB, welcomed the launch of the project. She said: “Anything that helps clients understand tablets better is a useful tool. We get an awful lot of interest around tablets from advertisers. They’re excited about the opportunities but there isn’t masses of information. It’s very difficult to get a cross-industry view on things likes click-through-rate so this initiative makes sense.”

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Shazam Launches Tablet-friendly Android App

Shazam has launched the latest version of its Android app, optimised for both smartphones and tablets, to work ‘across the range’ of devices in use.

 The app offers an improved UI for all Android users, with tablet owners getting a full-screen interface for the first time, along with support for MP3 purchases on a HTML5 of Amazon.

The company now has more than 80m Android users, of a total userbase of around 350m worldwide. It says Android is their fastest growing platform.

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