News Scan: Apple to refund $32.5M to consumers; Micro-windmills to recharge mobile devices; more
>> Apple to refund $32.5 million for unauthorized in-app purchases
Apple has agreed to pay at least $32.5 million in customer refunds as part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Communication over in-app purchases on the Apple App Store. The FTC alleges that Apple enabled children to rack up millions of dollars in charges for in-app game purchases by not requiring parents' authorization for the purchases. The commission said it had received tens of thousands of complaints about the unauthorized charges. Apple has also agreed to modify its billing practices to prevent future problems with unauthorized charges. Read more on the Apple-FTC settlement.
>> Researchers invent micro-windmill to recharge mobile devices
Researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington have developed a micro-windmill that can recharge mobile devices, the university announced. The windmills are so small that a grain of rice could hold about 10 of them. Hundreds of the windmills could be embedded in a mobile device sleeve, which could then be waved in the air or placed in a windy spot, the report explains. The researchers, Smitha Rao, a university research associate, and J.-C. Chiao, an electrical engineering professor, have filed a patent for the windmill. Read more on the tiny windmills.
>> Gen Y warms to mobile payments
Gen Y consumers are almost twice as likely to use their mobile devices to conduct financial business as other consumers, according to a survey by Western Union. A full 43 percent of Gen Y consumers use their mobile device to view their bill payment transaction history, compared with 25 percent for all mobile consumers; 38 percent of Gen Yers view their bill statements with their mobile device, compared with 24 percent for all mobile consumers; 38 percent of Gen Yers use their mobile device to make bill payments, compared with 22 percent for all mobile consumers; and 24 percent of Gen Yers set up automated recurring payments with their mobile device, compared with 15 percent for all mobile consumers. Read more about the Western Union survey.
[More on mobile phone payments: Amazon, eBay grab a piece of mobile payment pie | Mobile consumers will disrupt the financial services market, predicts IDC]
>> Chrome mobile browser cuts mobile data use in half
Google said it is adding a data compression and bandwidth management feature to its Chrome mobile browser for Android and iOS devices that will reduce data usage by up to a half. "To start saving data and turn on an even more secure browsing experience, visit 'Settings' > 'Bandwidth management' > 'Reduce data usage.' Then simply turn the toggle to 'On.' From this menu, you'll also be able to track how much bandwidth you save each month as you browse on Chrome," explains Matt Welsh, a software engineer at Google, in a blog. Read more on new Chrome mobile features.
[More on Chrome browser: Google Chrome for Android adds new touch gestures | Google Chrome for Apple's iOS adds support for pronoun voice search]
>> Raizlabs spins off its AppBlade MDM platform
Boston-based Raizlabs has spun off its mobile device management platform AppBlade as an independent company, the Boston Business Journal is reporting. AppBlade, which will be led by James Daniels, provides tools for enterprises to deploy and manage mobile devices. The reason for the spinoff, explains Daniels, is to create a separate equity pool for employee ownership and financing. Read more on AppBlade.