App downloads to hit 100 billion this year

Mobile app stores will see annual downloads reach 102 billion this year, up from 64 billion in 2012, says Gartner. The global research firm this week concluded its annual symposium in Cape Town, where some of its latest research results were revealed.

Gartner research director Sandy Shen says total app revenue in 2013 will reach $26 billion, up from $18 billion in 2012. Free apps will account for 91% of total downloads in 2013, she says. Gartner further notes that in-app purchases will account for 48% of app store revenue by 2017, up from 11% in 2012. more

The 15 Countries With the Highest Smartphone Penetration

Nearly three out of four people in the United Arab Emirates owns a smartphone, making it the country with the highest smartphone penetration in the world. Following the UAE are South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Singapore.

The United States doesn’t even fall into the top 10, finishing at No. 13 with just 56.4% penetration, according to Google‘s Our Mobile Planet report from Q1 of 2013.

Statista‘s chart, below, shows the 15 countries with the highest smartphone penetration in the world.

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Sadly, Apple’s Fingerprint Sensor Won’t Replace Passwords

When Apple acquired Harris Corp. spinoff Authentec in July 2012, pundits accurately predicted it meant fingerprint sensors would soon arrive on iPhones. That moment arrived yesterday, when Apple announced its iPhone 5s would include Touch ID on the home button.

The technology uses a “laser cut sapphire crystal, together with the capacitive touch sensor, to take a high-resolution image of your fingerprint and intelligently analyze it to provide accurate readings from any angle,” according to Apple. To address privacy concerns, the vendor stressed that fingerprints are not stored centrally by Apple; rather, they remain on the device itself. Users can access their phones and buy apps via the app store with their fingerprint. read more

Vodafone Hacker Accesses 2 Million Customers’ Banking Data

An intruder hacked into a Vodafone Group Plc (VOD) server in Germany, gaining access to 2 million customers’ personal details and banking information.

A person with insider knowledge stole data including names, addresses, birth dates, and bank account information, the world’s second-biggest mobile-phone carrier said in a statement today. The hacker had no access to credit-card information, passwords, PIN numbers or mobile-phone numbers, Vodafone said.

The attack was detected by Vodafone at the beginning of September, stopped and reported to the police, Kuzey Esener, a Vodafone spokesman, said. Clients can check on Vodafone’s German website to see if they are affected, and will also be informed by mail, he said. While the data stolen does not allow criminals to access bank accounts, Vodafone will warn clients of the possibility of so-called phishing attacks, he said. more