Motorola Mobility is giving startups, developers, and creators the opportunity to break the limitations of smartphones and present their ideas at Viva Technology 2017 conference in Paris later this week.
Billed as the world’s ‘rendezvous’ for game-changers, Viva Technology, also known as VivaTech, is an international innovation showcase taking place in Paris on June 15-17, 2017. Bringing together thousands of the brightest entrepreneurs and most imaginative start-ups, alongside top investors, developers and opinion leaders, VivaTech provides a platform for participants from over 200 countries to find inspiration, generate new contacts and accelerate their business growth. Attendance at this year’s event is expected to surpass last year’s 50,000 visitors.
As part of VivaTech 2017, Motorola has extended its ‘Transform the Smartphone’ challenge, to encourage developers, startups, and other creators to break the limitations of what a smartphone can be. The challenge provides an opportunity for participants to demonstrate their creative skills, while adding their expertise and vision to the Moto Mod universe.
Participants will also get the opportunity to present their Moto Mod campaign on the IndieGogo Crowdfunding platform. This gives Moto Z customers the chance to fund participants’ projects, while also providing early access to new Moto Mods when they become available.
Moto Mods snap easily onto any Moto Z phone. They fit perfectly and securely to transform your smartphone and provide users with unlimited possibilities! The concept of the Moto Mods is simple: They can be just about anything you can dream up. Whether it’s a film projector, a top-of-the-line speaker or even a blood pressure monitor – the possibilities are endless.
The ‘Transform the Smartphone’ challenge gives developers, creators, and startups the chance to contribute to the creation of the next generation of Moto Mods. Motorola wants to harness their creativity to imagine smartphone features that have never been possible, and add these to the ever-growing list of Moto Mods.
To participate in the Transform the Smartphone Challenge, submissions must be completed online by May 25, 2017. Pitch candidates will be selected by June 5, and a jury at VivaTech will choose the top five pitches. Each of the five top teams will receive the Moto Z and Moto Mods Development Kit, to create their prototype and mount a crowdfunding campaign with IndieGogo. The final winner will be invited to present their Moto Mod to a group of executives and developer teams at Motorola Mobility’s Chicago headquarters, and they will be considered for the worldwide accelerator program.
Huge appetite for foldable phones – when prices fall
Samsung, Huawei and Motorola have all shown their cards, but consumers are concerned about durability, size, and enhanced use cases, according to Strategy Analytics
Foldable devices are a long-awaited disrupter in the smartphone market, exciting leading-edge early adopters keen for a bold new type of device. But the acceptance of foldable devices by mainstream segments will depend on the extent to which the current barriers to adoption are addressed.
Major brands have been throwing their foldable bets into the hat to see what the market wants from a foldable, namely how big the screens should be and how the devices should fold. Samsung and Huawei have both designed devices that unfold from smartphones to tablets, each with their own method of how the devices go about folding. Motorola has recently designed a smartphone that folds in half, and it resembles a flip phone.
Assessing consumer desire for foldable smartphones, a new report from the User Experience Strategies group at Strategy Analytics has found that the perceived value of the foldable form does not outweigh the added cost.
Key report findings include:
- The idea of having a larger-displayed smartphone in a portable size is perceived as valuable to the vast majority of consumers in the UK and the US. But, willingness to pay extra for a foldable device does not align with the desire to purchase one. Manufacturers must understand that there will be low sell-through until costs come down.
- But as the acceptance for traditional smartphone display sizes continues to increase, so does the imposed friction of trying to use them one-handed. Unless a foldable phone has a wider folded state, entering text when closed is too cumbersome, forcing users to utilize two hands to enter text, when in the opened state.
- Use cases need to be adequately demonstrated for consumers to fully understand and appreciate the potential for a foldable phone, though their priorities seemed fixed on promoting ‘two devices in one’ equaling a better video viewing experience. Identification and promotion of meaningful new use cases will be vital to success.
Christopher Dodge, Associate Director, UXIP and report author said: “As multitasking will look to be a core selling point for foldable phones, it is imperative that the execution be simplified and intuitive. Our data suggests there are a lot of uncertainties that come with foldable phone ownership, stemming mainly from concerns with durability and size, in addition to concerns over enhanced use cases.
“But our data also shows that when the consumers are able to use a foldable phone in hand, there is a solid reduction of doubt and concern about the concept. This means that the in-store experience may more important than ever in driving awareness, capabilities, and potential use cases.”
Said Paul Brown, Director, UXIP: “The big question is whether the perceived value will outweigh the added cost; and the initial response from consumers is ‘no.’ The ability for foldable displays to resolve real consumer pain-points is, in our view critical to whether these devices will become a niche segment of the smartphone market or the dominant form-factor of the future. Until costs come down, these devices will not take off.”
New exploit exposes credit cards on mobile phones
Check Point Security has found that handsets using Qualcomm chipsets that hold credit and debit card credentials are at risk of a new exploit.
Now it’s more important than ever to update your phone.
Check Point security has found a vulnerability in mobile devices that run Android, which allows credit card details to be accessed by hackers.
Mobile operating systems like Android offer a Rich Execution Environment (REE), providing a hugely extensive and versatile runtime environment, which allows apps to run on the device. However, while bringing flexibility and capability, REE leaves devices vulnerable to a wide range of security threats. A Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) is designed to reside alongside the REE and provide a safe area on the device to protect assets and to execute trusted code. Qualcomm makes use of a secure virtual processor, which is often referred to as the “secure world”, in comparison to the “non-secure world”, where REE resides.
But Check Point “fuzzed” a “hole” into this secure world
In a 4-month research project, Check Point researchers attempted and succeeded to reverse Qualcomm’s “Secure World” operating system. Check Point researchers leveraged a “fuzzing” technique to expose the hole. Fuzz testing (fuzzing) is a quality assurance technique used to discover coding errors and security loopholes in software, operating systems or networks. It involves inputting massive amounts of random data, called fuzz, to the test subject in an attempt to make it crash.
Check Point implemented a custom-made fuzzing tool, which tested trusted code on Samsung, LG, and Motorola devices. Through fuzzing, Check Point found 4 vulnerabilities in trusted code implemented by Samsung (including S10), 1 in Motorola, 1 in LG, but all code sourced by Qualcomm itself. To address the vulnerability, the runtime of Android needs to be protected from both attackers and users. This is typically achieved by moving the secure storage software to a hardware-supported TEE.
Check Point Research disclosed its findings directly to the companies and gave them time to patch vulnerabilities. Samsung patched three vulnerabilities and LG patched one. Motorola and Qualcomm responded, but have yet to provide a patch, and there is no confirmation of a release date yet.
Check Point Research has urged mobile phone users to stay vigilant and check their credit and debit card providers for any unusual activity. In the meantime, they are working with the vendors mentioned to issue patches.