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The Week in Mobile: October 25-31, 2015

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Apple Boasts 48 Million iPhone Sales in Q4, Facebook adds new contextual services, Nintendo unveils first mobile game and more

Each week we round up the top news stories, think pieces and other content that centers on the fast-paced, quickly changing world of mobile technology. We tell you which companies are employing clever mobile strategies, illuminate new ways of thinking about mobile and offer a peek at meaningful trends in the industry. This content is designed to inspire you and your company to take advantage of the many benefits mobile can offer.

Apple Boasts 48 Million iPhone Sales in Q4

Apple announced the sale of 48 million iPhones during the company’s fourth fiscal quarter, which is up from the 47.5 million units sold in Q3 2015. The number also marks a year-over year increase from Q4 2014 in which nearly 39 million iPhones were sold. Apple reports that fiscal 2015 was the company’s “most successful year ever, with revenue growing 28 percent to nearly $234 billion.” With growing momentum going into the holiday season, Apple is predicting record setting revenue of $75.5 billion to $77.5 billion during the company’s fiscal Q1.

Meanwhile, Samsung posted its third quarter earnings, reporting its first profit growth after seven quarters of decline. The company says it brought in $6.42 billion in operating profit during Q3, which is a significant year-on-year rise considering Samsung reported an operating profit of $3.6 billion in Q3 2014. Samsung’s mobile division brought in $2.1 billion in operating profit, a dip from the $2.4 billion in Q2.

New Apple TV Now in Stores

The new Apple TV became available for pre-orders last week and is now on sale in stores. With a number of reviews already published, it appears most critics agree that the latest generation of the Apple TV is the best yet even though there are some minor kinks to be worked out. Not only do reviews point to the vast improvement from previous models, many also suggest the new Apple TV has a great deal of potential to grow into something even bigger. Still, some are less impressed by new functionality and others cite limited features and numerous bugs.

Facebook Adds New Contextual Services

Facebook launched a new location-based and user-specific service, taking the form of cards found in the notifications tab. Similar to digital assistants like Google Now and Apple’s Siri, Facebook’s new functionality offers up pertinent information on sporting events, trending topics, local weather, news and more. Additionally, thanks to Facebook’s unique data set, the tool tracks friend’s birthdays, upcoming and nearby events and locations friends have visited. And because these cards are located where hundreds of millions of users are already spending time, the new contextual functionality is likely to get a great deal of attention right off the bat.

New Players and Approaches in the Mobile Payment Wars

Last week, JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced plans to launch Chase Pay, which will allow consumers to make purchases in stores using their smartphones. The app will compete directly with a crowded field of mobile payment platforms such as Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay. Chase isn’t the first bank to develop it’s own mobile payments platform. Earlier this month, Capital One Financial Corp. announced updates to its Capital One Wallet app, allowing customers with an Android device to make in store payments.

Applying a novel spin, MasterCard is launching a new program that will allow tech companies to add payment making capabilities to any smart gadget. Thanks to the new program, GM has already developed a key fob with wireless payment technology and Ringly has incorporated payment capabilities into its smart ring.

In yet more mobile payment news, Apple announced a new partnership with American Express, which will bring Apple Pay to card holders in five new countries by 2016.

Nintendo Unveils First Game for Smartphones

Nintendo (finally) announced that its first mobile game, called Miitomo, will launch in March of 2016. Miitomo will center around Mii avatars, which are Wii console characters. The “freemium” app will be the first in a series of five smartphone games, expected to launch by 2017. When Nintendo first announced its move into mobile earlier this year, stock went up by 24 percent on New York intraday trading, however; financial markets were disappointed by the unveiling of Miitomo, which focuses on avatars and communication rather than classic games and characters like Mario or Donkey Kong.

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