Apple Pay is now accepted at an additional 5,000+ online stores in Denmark, Finland and Sweden …
The Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra continues its tour across Europe, heading to the northern countries at the start of February (previously it landed in France and Germany). It’s alone, the smaller Xperia XA2 and the entry-level Xperia L2 are yet to join it. Units will be available on February 1, but you can pre-order today. Here are the prices: Sweden: SEK 4,000 (407) Denmark: DKK 3,085 (414) Finland: 415 We only found it in this one store, local carriers are yet to list it. If you spot the Xperia XA2 Ultra (or one of the other two), drop a link in the comments.
Just over 25 years ago, the first text message was sent. Not all technology can last a quarter of a century, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be improved. RCS is the cloud-powered standard designed to eventually replace SMS, but adoption has been slow.
[Update: More carriers in Latin America] RCS messaging coming to Telia subscribers in Sweden was written by the awesome team at Android Police.
Just over 25 years ago, the first text message was sent. Not all technology can last a quarter of a century, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be improved. RCS is the cloud-powered standard designed to eventually replace SMS, but adoption has been slow. The next carrier to support the technology isn’t Verizon, or AT&T, or T-Mobile – it’s one that operates in northern Europe.
Google announced on its company blog that it’s partnering with Telia, a European carrier, to offer RCS messaging to Telia’s customers in Sweden.
RCS messaging expands to Telia subscribers in Sweden was written by the awesome team at Android Police.
Apple Pay has now expanded to Denmark, Finland, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates, as promised earlier this year. The addition of Sweden, Denmark and Finland leaves only Norway from the Scandinavian region to receive Apple Pay. Meanwhile, the UAE becomes the first Middle Eastern nation to support Apple Pay. Now banks and financial institutions in a total of 20 countries support Apple’s secure payment system. Naturally Apple is working to further expand Pay’s reach. You can check which banks work with Apple Pay here. Source | 2
As promised earlier this year, Apple Pay on Tuesday expanded its international presence with activations in Denmark, Finland, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates, bringing the total number of countries supporting the service up to 20.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News
A report suggests that Apple Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri’s declaration that Apple Pay would come to Sweden before the end of the year is happening sooner rather than later, with a launch possible in the last full week of October.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News
If you follow along with our Upcoming Games Forum, which you totally should if you care about being on the cutting edge of what’s coming out for mobile, then you may have seen a thread that was posted late last month for a game from developer Sozap called Armed Heist. It’s a third-person cover-based shooter centered around robbery, similar to something like the Payday series, and it tasks you with becoming the best gosh darned armed robber in the world. Not the noblest of endeavors, but it sure makes for some fun gaming. At the time of the forum posting, Armed Heist didn’t have a trailer that was ready for public consumption, but some animated .gifs and a brief video showing some in-game footage of a beta version showed a lot of promise. Now, Sozap has prepared an official public trailer for Armed Heist which you can see below.
Alongside the new trailer Armed Heist has also soft-launched in the Swedish App Store, with plans for the soft launch to expand to the Philippines next week. I actually have an early version installed on my iPhone and have taken Armed Heist for a brief spin, and I’m really liking it so far. There’s not really much story involved, and instead it’s sort of like a jukebox filled with different robbery missions to fulfill. This actually works perfectly for a mobile game as you can hop in and pull off a job in just a few minutes without worrying about getting sucked into a longer play session. The downside to this is that some of the missions begin to feel a bit samey after a bit, but hopefully Sozap finds a way to add some different elements into them to help them feel a bit more unique from each other. Still, there’s a number of different mission types to take on already and they are always fun to complete.
Armed Heist is a free to play game, so the focus of your progression will be on leveling up your character which leads to unlocking and customizing a variety of weapons and gear. It uses the now standard timed loot box system for acquiring new equipment, with more and more items being added to the overall pool the more you level up your character. The weapon customization is quite extensive, and once you’ve unlocked some new items it’s fun to go through and tweak out a weapon to give it the type of performance you want to tailor it to your specific play style. There are two in-game currencies: Diamonds which allow you to instantly open the timed chests, and cash which is used for purchasing weapon and equipment upgrades. You can buy more of either as IAP to speed up the process, but the currencies are also earned through play if you’re patient, and most importantly there doesn’t appear to be any sort of energy system that limits your ability to play, although the game does require an internet connection.
While it’s still rough around the edges, there is a whole lot of promise in Armed Heist. The core shooting gameplay is really fun and the movement system is streamlined so that moving around the environment and taking cover behind obstacles is all quite seamless. Also, the game supports 3D Touch for firing, which allows you to focus entirely on movement and aiming with just a slightly harder press opening fire when you need to. It’s perfect for a touchscreen game and in my opinion should be standard in all third-person and first-person shooters. With the core gameplay loop nailed down, all Sozap needs to do now is polish up the experience and perhaps add in some elements of variety. Armed Heist feels very similar to Assassin’s Creed Identity [$ 3.99] to me, in that it captured the essense of an Assassin’s Creed game but broke it into randomly generated bite-sized missions which felt great on mobile. This is like the Payday version of that, which is something we really need on mobile.
If any of this has piqued your interest, be sure to follow along in new the Armed Heist soft launch thread in our forum. I’m not sure if they’re still accepting beta testers at this point, but if you have access to a Swedish App Store account then you can grab the game in soft launch using the link below, and it’ll be in the Philippines next week as well. We’ll keep our eyes on how this one develops and will surely have more on the game as progress continues.
Swedish App Store Link: Armed Heist, Free (by Sozap)
Is Cash Dead?
Have you noticed that, over the years, you’ve begun to use your cards or mobile pay apps much more frequently than cash? You’re not alone in this, and this trend has been on the rise in other countries around the world. In China, for example, cash is quickly on its way out, with mobile payments doubling in the last year. Sweden has also been forgoing cash an at increasing rate over the last several years, and experts predict that it’s only a short matter of time before the country is entirely cashless.
In fact, Sweden may be completely digital in just a few years, if researchers Niklas Arvidsson of KTH and Jonas Hedman of Copenhagen School of Economics are to be believed. The pair estimate that cash will no longer be used or accepted by Swedish retailers by 2023, at the earliest.
Polling various Swedish retailers revealed that about half expect to stop accepting cash by 2025. Currently, 97 percent of all retailers accept cash payments, but only 18 percent of all transactions actually involve cash.
Card or Smartphone?
Interestingly, mobile payments are performing rather poorly. Credit and Debit cards are the primary way people pay, with mobile pay apps accounting for only 0.4 percent. It’s unclear why only a small amount of people seem to use them; it could be a matter of convenience, trust, or simply knowing how. According to Arvidsson, people are generally comfortable with paying digitally in some way, even if they never see the money leave their hands.
“We are a small country that has had a very stable democracy for a long time,” Arvidsson said. “For us, it’s no problem that the money is only visible on an internet site – we trust it.”
Consumers are largely facilitating the change, though banks have also done their part to push people away from cash, as they want to reduce the risk of robbery. Retailers share this sentiment.
“We wanted to minimise the risk of robberies and it’s quicker with the customers when they pay by card,” says bakery manager Victoria Nilsson, speaking with the BBC in September. “It’s been mainly positive reactions.”
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