Bite-sized news, views and updates from the global tech industry, by Anne Whelton.
Experience the new Xperia
In February, Sony Mobile unveiled the new Xperia E4g smartphone, which offers what Tony McNulty, VP of Value Category Business Management at Sony calls “super-fast 4G LTE connectivity”.
For amateur photographers the Xperia E4g offers auto scene recognition, which optimises capture settings for up to 52 scenarios.
The Xperia E4g launches in Ireland in April and will set you back €99+ from all operators.
- 4G LTE connectivity
- 5-megapixel camera
- 133 x 71 x10.8mm
- 4.7 inch display
- Google Android 4.4.4 (KitKat)
- 1.5 GHz Quad Core
- 2,300mAh battery
- Standby time: up to 653 hours
Some good news for app developers with news that the number of apps downloaded to mobile handsets and tablets is expected to rise by nearly 28% this year to over 235 billion.
According to a report by Juniper Research entitled ‘Apps & App Stores: Market Trends & Forecasts 2015-2019’, while games is the most mature and lucrative app sector, there is significant scope for growth in both developed and developing markets, highlighting strong migration from handheld game consoles and continued social gaming growth.
The four tops
At this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) – held in Barcelona from March 2nd to 5th – LG Electronics unveiled a new line of mid-range smartphones, which the electronics giant hopes will appeal to the masses.
Titled ‘Magna’, ‘Spirit’, ‘Leon’ and ‘Joy’, LG’s four new phones are available in both LTE and 3G versions and offer the same LG hardware and design for users who prefer a smaller screen and price tag.
The Magna is the largest of the four, offering a five-inch HD display; 8 megapixel rear-facing camera, 5 megapixel (selfie stick friendly) front-facing cam; and 8GBs of storage.
LG’s new collection has begun its global rollout in select markets, with no announcement for when Magna, Spirit, Leon and Joy might appear on the Irish market.
The Apple of Athenry’s eye
In February, Apple announced a €1.7bn plan to build and operate two data centres in Europe. The facilities, located in Athenry, Co. Galway – which Apple is investing €850m in – and in Viborg, Denmark will power Apple’s online services including the iTunes Store, the App Store, iMessage, Maps and Siri for customers across Europe.
The new centre at Athenry will be the company’s largest data centre project in Europe, providing 300 jobs during its multiple phases.
Speaking at the announcement on February 23rd, An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, said: “I am delighted that Apple has chosen to make this major new investment in Ireland. It is a very significant investment in the West of Ireland and is fantastic news for Athenry with significant knock-on benefits for the region. Apple has had a major presence in Ireland for many years.
“As the Government works to secure recovery and see it spread to every part of the country, today’s announcement is another extremely positive step in the right direction.”
Banking at your fingertips
On February 19th Ulster Bank customers became the first in Ireland to be able to log in to their mobile banking app using their fingerprint.
Using Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor, Ulster Bank customers who have an iPhone 5s, 6 or 6 Plus can now access their mobile banking app with their unique fingerprint.
Speaking at the launch of this new technology, Brian Allen, head of Direct Banking at Ulster Bank said: “There has been a revolution in banking, as more and more of our customers are using digital technology to bank with us. It is not surprising given the seismic shift in consumers accessing content and services via their smartphones, which account for almost 60% of all mobile users handsets.
“Adding Apple’s Touch ID to our mobile banking app will make it even easier and more convenient for them to access their accounts on the move and manage their finances.”