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Wet Phones in Western Europe
IDC estimates that 23% of smartphone shipments in Western Europe from January to September 2016 were water-resistant. The number of non-water resistant phones shipped fell to 75.2 million from 90.7 million a year earlier. In the US, water resistance is a valuable feature among smartphone owners, but longer battery life is more prized. Data from YouGov found that 15% of US smartphone users would like their next phone to be water resistant.
Yet Another Metrics Reset From Facebook
Facebook disclosed yet another set of misreported metrics, this time involving undercounted traffic in its Instant Articles platform, which was designed for publishers to use to place content directly on Facebook, rather than link out. Among the sites affected, the Wall Street Journal reported, were the Washington Post and Buzzfeed.
Twitch Goes Beyond Gaming with New Streaming Channel
Twitch has made its first major effort to expand beyond the gaming category with the announcement of its new video streaming channel, IRL. IRL will allow Twitch vloggers and creators to share their thoughts and experiences about non-gaming related content either through live streaming a video or by recording a video and then uploading it to the channel. The company plans to roll out mobile streaming from the Twitch smartphone app in 2017.
New Facebook Messenger Camera with Filters and Masks
Facebook announced the addition of a camera feature to its messenger app with art and special effects similar to those in Snapchat. Data from RBC Capital Markets found that 22% of US Facebook users use the messaging app daily and 23% use it weekly.
Mobile Payments and Beer, Perfect Together
In the UK, credit card provider Barclaycard introduced the world’s first contactless payment-triggered, self-serve beer tap. Dubbed Pay@Pump, the system installed at Henry’s Café and Bar in Central London can serve a pint of ale in 60 seconds and accepts both contactless cards and contactless mobile payments. The move ties into surging tap-and-go payments in the UK. According to the latest Barclays Contactless Card Spending Index, contactless payments by Barclaycard customers in the UK rose 173% by value and 112% by volume in the year ended October 2016.
—Rebecca Chadwick, Alison McCarthy and Cliff Annicelli
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