Angry Bird Consumers Irritated With In-App Purchases

Nothing looks after your credit card more than those Godfather birds within the image above, anyway, angry Birds 2 has been downloaded an astonishing 10 million times as of writing, if there was a formula for an App which tapped into consumerism as successfully as both this game and Candy Crush has, this would be it. But while consumers are busy chucking more feathered birds than a Bernard Matthews factory, there is an annoyance which has players up in arms.

This is the usual suspect of in App purchases which bombard users with “Relentless and Wearying” prompts to pay for content. According to one reviewer, this decision is, and I quote “Greedy isn’t the word, but there are words to describe this sort of thing: Foolish, baffling, and boneheaded.”

The developers Rovio, state that players who wish not to purchase add-ons will still be able to play a “fully formed game” for free. The first Angry Birds game was a huge hit when it was released in 2009, despite players being asked to pay to download the game.

I am impartial as I have never found myself flinging pixel birds everywhere; I can understand why consumers are irritated with this, yes it’s a free game, but considering Rovio made $70 million dollars from the Angry birds brand in 2011 alone, why not cut the in App purchases and ask consumers to pay to download it again, after all, it worked the first time.

Thank You BBC for providing us with this information.

Taylor Takes A Bite Out Of Apple

There is Bad Blood brewing between Country Pop starlet Taylor Swift and Tech industries goliathan Apple who has announced today via her immensely popular Tumblr blog that she will be holding back her album entitled 1989 from the proposed new Apple Music streaming service. The blog repost from Taylor is the direct result of Apple’s apparent decision to accompany the launch of a Music streaming Service with a 3 months free trial offer to prospective fee paying members

Free trial! What’s wrong with that? I hear you ask, after all, everyone likes free, ok free punch in the face is not so good. According to Taylor Swift, the caveat lies firmly at the artists and producers end who will not be paid a penny for those first three months.

This case underlines the tensions which exist between artists and streaming services, in this case artists would like to receive a fee comparable to the worth of the product while Apple would like to offer a carrot to entice the current climate of consumers to its new service. I do feel as if Apple are playing too hard ball, the notion of not paying for goods or intellectual property, in this case music for the first three months of the service launch is pretty ludicrous. Taylor Swift also makes a valid point citing the fact while she has the resource to absorb such action; a talented but unheard of musician, does not.

Do I expect Apple to change their minds? Possibly, it all depends on who pulls their music; after all, Apple does not need to implement these actions considering they are worth around $600 billion dollars, or put it another way, mo money, mo money, mo money.

Thank You Taylor Swift’s Tumblr Blog for providing us with this information

Image Courtesy of Electronic Fresh

Apple Pay to Rumoured Launch in the UK in First Half of 2015

Apple Pay is said to be launching in the UK during the first half of next year according to The Telegraph. Banks are reportedly in discussions with Apple, with some questioning the use of users personal and financial information.

“It is understood the bank is uncomfortable with the amount of personal and financial information Apple wants to collect about its customers. Some executives fear Apple Pay and the data it delivers to Apple could serve as a beachhead for an invasion of the banking industry. 

Sources accepted no major bank will want to miss out on Apple Pay, however, as early signs from the United States suggest it may be the service to finally convince consumers to pay with mobile phones.”

Apple Pay has been met with great success in the US, with a significant number of high profile retailers and banks agreeing to take part in the service. Customers have welcomed it too, praising its ease of use and security.

Source: MacRumors

Square Bringing Apple Pay to Small Businesses

We’ve recently reported on Apple Pay coming to your mobile phone through their technology advancements, now news has come to light that a credit card processing service for small firms called Square is looking to bring it to the wider audience. The original list of participating Apple Pay stores was completely dominated by big names, leaving the small fish in some hot water.

In basic terms, Square is described as a mobile credit-card reader that allows a small business to process payments without needing a terminal. Originally seen as a competitor to Apple Pay, Square’s founder Jack Dorsey has publicly stated that his companies service is designed to function as  “a [cash] register, and this register accepts all these forms of payments”, not a competitor to Apple’s newly announced technology. Adding to this, he is planning to integrate Apple Pay compatibility into his existing model with development said to commence in 2015.

CNN reported that this change will require a hardware update into Square’s existing technology, which currently serves as a module that plugs into smartphones. However, we’ve come to learn that most smartphones with NFC capabilities will quite possibly allow Square’s Apple Pay integration to work flawlessly without touching any hardware upgrades. If you’re a small business and are planning to use Apple pay, it’s about time you grabbed yourself a Nexus 5 or later model phone.

This is some good news for small business owners for sure, once again opening up another portal for their customers to pay with ease. We’re waiting with baited breath to see if, when and how Apple Pay takes off in the mainstream market.

Image courtesy of Engadget

Get Friends to Use Google Wallet – Get Up To $100

Got an Android device? Got 20 friends with Android devices that currently don’t have a Google Wallet balance?

Well send each of them a penny (20 cents) and you could easily get up to $100 in return.

Google has announced a referral program for Google Wallet, encouraging people to use the service. All you have to do is send a friend any amount of money and you’ll get $5 in return. You are allowed to do that up to 20 times, meaning you could easily convert 20 cents into $100.

You and your friends have to be in the US and the program lasts until the end of the month, or until Google racks up 20,000 referrals (which will probably be very soon).

Source: The Next Web

Google to Kill Google Wallet for Digital Goods

Google Wallet for Digital Goods will be closed down, according to an announcement from the company.

The service which was primarily used as a system for in-app purchases, allowed users to pay for items online with their Google Wallet account. Google said that “industry has matured a lot” since they introduced the service, colluding to the fact that there now exist a cavalcade of different systems for in-app purchases that can do the job just as good or better.

Users who still use Google Wallet for Digital Goods will continue to be able to make purchases, that’s until March 2nd 2015 when developers will be forced to stop using the API.

Source: Engadget

London Underground to Accept Contactless Payments

If you live in London, chances are you own an Oyster card. Oyster cards have been around for a while now but contactless card technology is going be coming along side it in the London Underground. People can choose whether they use Oyster or their own contactless enabled bank card for an easy, quick and hassle free way to board the tube.

A benefit of using your own bank card is that it never requires topping up, something im sure Oyster card holders are more than familiar with. There will also be weekly cap limits so you can only spend a certain amount each week. TfL (Transport for London) will also be making sure you’re paying the cheapest fare possible that period by doing price comparisons plus you’ll be able to track your journey and payment history via an online account.

The implementation of a contactless system throughout the underground comes after a pilot that has been running since April this year. TfL are looking for new testers before the full system is distributed, think it as an Alpha moving into Beta stage. The Full release is expected to be September 16th this year.

Thanks to Engadget for supplying us with this information.

Image courtesy of Engadget.

100 Cars Disabled Over The Internet By A Texas Man

According to an article from PHYS, a man fired from a Texas auto dealership used an Internet service to remotely disable ignitions and set off car horns of more than 100 vehicles sold at his old workplace, police said Wednesday.

Austin police arrested Omar Ramos-Lopez, 20 years old, on Wednesday, charging him with felony breach of computer security. Ramos-Lopez used a former colleague’s password to deactivate starters and set off car horns, police said. Several car owners said they had to call tow trucks and were left stranded at work or home.

“He caused these customers, now victims, to miss work,” Austin police spokeswoman Veneza Aguinaga said. “They didn’t get paid. They had to get tow trucks. They didn’t know what was going on with their vehicles.”

Ramos-Lopez was in the Travis County Jail on Wednesday with bond set at $3,000. The Associated Press could not find a working phone number for his family. The Texas Auto Center dealership in Austin installs GPS devices that can prevent cars from starting. The system is used to repossess cars when buyers are overdue on payments, said Jeremy Norton, a controller at the dealership where Ramos-Lopez worked. Car horns can be activated when repo agents go to collect vehicles and believe the owners are hiding them.

“We are taking extra measures to make sure this never happens again,” Norton said.

Starting in mid-February, dealership employees noticed unusual changes to their business records. Someone was going into the system and changing customers’ names, such as having dead rapper Tupac Shakur buying a 2009 vehicle, Norton said. Soon, customers began calling saying their cars wouldn’t start, or that their horns were going off incessantly, forcing them to disengage the battery. Norton said the dealership originally thought the cars had mechanical problems.

Then employees noticed someone had ordered $130,000 in parts and equipment from the company that makes the GPS devices. Police said they were able to trace the sabotage to Ramos-Lopez’s computer, leading to his arrest. Norton said Ramos-Lopez didn’t seem unusually upset about being fired.

“I think he thought what he was doing was a harmless prank,” Norton said. “He didn’t see the ramifications of it.”

Thank you PHYS for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Consortium News

Samsung and Visa Make Deal for Implementing Mobile Payment in Next-Gen NFC Devices

Efforts are made to make mobile payments easier and more practical in every step, like how Paypal introduced a mobile device to accept credit cards. Samsung went ahead and made a deal with Visa to do just that. The deal will allow Samsung to embed Visa’s own payWave mobile payment applet in the next generation smartphones and tablets with NFC (Near Field Communication). The alliance was formally announced on Monday at Mobile World Congress held in Barcelona.

The next generation Samsung Galaxy S IV is all set to be announced in March and is rumoured to have Visa payWave implementation. This is a news that many officials from Visa and Samsung have confirmed. Since the use of NFC has taken its time to grow, this alliance should help to speed things up.

However, Brad Greene, Visa’s head of NFC payment said that there has been some friction with the implementation of NFC in the United States. The reason why they signed up with Samsung was because the Korean company produces practically half of all the Android powered smartphones in the market today. Since their goal was to make mobile payments available through many devices, Samsung is special and it’s because of this that they get an advantage.

In the agreement, Samsung agreed to load the payWave applet in its devices with NFC embedded in a chip with an encryption algorithm called secure element. The payWave applet also can be used in SIMs, where it can be moved from phone to phone. Samsung will manage the encryption keys and provide security capability to banks and mobile carriers for allowing their users to activate the services.

This alliance will also allow banks and carriers to implement faster, easier and cheaper mobile payment options using NFC according to Greene. Currently Visa payWave is used in a consortium of AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and even Google Wallet.

However, Visa isn’t the only one eyeing up NFC functionality. MasterCard have also announced that it is expanding beyond NFC so that merchants can let customers use QR codes, credit cards and anything else for transactions.

Source: The Verge | Computer World

Paypal Starts Chip-and-Pin Payment Device in the UK as an Alternate Payment Method

Well-known online payment gateway Paypal has launched a chip-and-pin machine for market traders, taxis and shops allowing them to accept credit and debit cards and even their Paypal option.

Paypal stated that this new device will cost under £100 and charges less than 3% transaction fees.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/IVR0IM5rxvI[/youtube]

David Marcus, president of Paypal said the following:

“At Paypal, we spend a huge amount of time talking and listening to small businesses. They are the core of Paypal’s business and they’ve told us that they want a simple, secure way to take card payments anytime and anywhere they trade.”

As of now Paypal is offering these new devices only to a few selected businesses, but it expects to have a full launch by summer 2013. Once they’re able to implement this successfully in the UK, Paypal have already started to make plans to expand this alternate payment procedure in other countries.

Devices like this aren’t new. Even in the UK, there are similar alternate payment methods where Paypal faces competition. Even in the United States, there is a dongle-type device which plugs into a mobile phone and can be used as a credit card reader. There are companies such as iZettle, Intuit and mPowa who have already rolled out similar devices and as said by an analyst of research firm Ovum, Eden Zoller, these types of devices are popular in the US so it makes sense to have an optimized version in the European market.

This will be a boon to small business owners, such as Mark Thomas who runs an ice cream stall at London’s Borough’s Market who will one of the first to use this device.

He said,”Cash is king in the market, but people run out of cash very quickly, and we often lose sales because customers can’t face the long weekend wait at the ATM.”

[youtube]http://youtu.be/IxJ49LtfhLo[/youtube]

In any case, Paypal has a large presence and a huge database, not to mention one of the well-known ways for international and/or online payment. Since you can also use your Paypal account to make payments from these devices, it adds as a +1 advantage.

Source: BBC UK