According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global smartphone shipments reached 251 million units in the third quarter of 2013, with Android achieving an 81 percent global share and Microsoft Windows Phone doubling its marketshare. Global smartphone shipments grew 45 percent annually from 172.8 million units in Q3 2012 to 251.4 million in Q3 2013.
Google announced the release of KitKat, the newest version of Android.
The company said the new release slims down Android’s memory footprint so “Android can run comfortably on the 512MB of RAM devices that are popular in much of the world, bringing the latest goodies in Android 4.4 within reach for the next billion smartphone users”.
Android KitKat accomplishes this by “removing unnecessary background services and reducing the memory consumption of features that you use all the time”. KitKat also includes an updated phone dialer, which directly integrates search across contacts, nearby places, and Google accounts. An updated Hangouts app now integrates SMS and MMS messages together along with video calls and other conversations.
KitKat promises it will make the experience “more engaging: the book you’re reading, the game you’re playing, or the movie you’re watching – now all of these take centre stage with the new immersive mode, which automatically hides everything except what you really want to see”.
In related news, Google also launched Nexus 5, positioning it as the giant’s newest flagship smartphone. The device is manufactured by LG Electronics.
Video surveillance captured a Las Vegas, Nevada Metro Police Officer fraudulently using a fleet credit card issued by the city to buy gas for a car registered to his mother, alleged in an arrest report.
Fleet credit cards are issued by the city to officers to purchase fuel only for their patrol cars.
The officer was arrested Wednesday on counts of felony fraudulent use of a credit card and misdemeanor theft.
A friend who lives with the officer, and often used his mother’s Ford Mustang, was arrested today on the same counts and booked into the Clark County Detention Center, police said.
A Metro logistics analyst noticed the officer’s fuel purchases had increased from 11 in one quarter to 54 in the next on his fuel log and on exception reports prepared by the fleet card vendor used by the city, according to the report.
The exceptions report triggered an investigation that led to the arrest.
Government agencies are one of the biggest users of fleet cards to manage and prevent fruadulent fuel and vehicle maintenance expenses.
ISIS – the mobile payment venture backed by AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless – is going to launch a ‘free million smoothies’ promotion with restaurant retailer Jamba Juice as soon as the service goes live nationwide in a “few weeks.”
“Jamba Juice is committed to supporting new and existing customers in an ultra-mobile retail world,” said James White, CEO of Jamba Juice. “To that end, we’re rolling out NFC terminals with Isis’ proprietary SmartTap technology at Jamba Juice locations nationwide, allowing customers to redeem and pay for products with one tap.”
ISIS is a payment technology currently available on over 40 different models of Android phones equipped with NFC.
New Entity Structure to Maximize Growth Opportunities for Ceridian HCM and Comdata
Ceridian announced last week that it has completed the legal separation of its Human Capital Management (HCM) and Payments businesses. Ceridian completed the separation on October 1, 2013 through a series of transactions that result in the Payments business being operated as Comdata Inc. (“Comdata”), and the HCM business being operated as Ceridian HCM Holding Inc. (“Ceridian HCM”).
Stuart C. Harvey, Jr. will serve as Chairman of the Board for both Comdata and Ceridian HCM, as well as remaining as the Chief Executive Officer of Comdata. Majority owners and financial partners, funds affiliated with Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. and Fidelity National Financial, Inc. remain the same for both Comdata and Ceridian HCM.
Ceridian HCM has seen tremendous market success in the last twelve months. The award-winning Dayforce HCM cloud solution had approximately 750 live clients as of June 30, 2013. Dayforce HCM is a single application for payroll, benefits, time, scheduling and human resources. In addition, the LifeWorks Wellness solution has more than 14 million members using the web, phone, and mobile applications. David Ossip will continue to lead Ceridian HCM as its Chief Executive Officer, David MacKay as President and Lois Martin as Chief Financial Officer.
“The new structure enables our team to continue to innovate in human capital management, helping our clients engage their employees and create the most effective workforce possible,” says David Ossip, CEO, Ceridian HCM. “We will remain focused on delivering trusted results and transformative technology.”
Comdata is a driving force in payment innovation in the fleet, healthcare and retail industries. With leadership from Stuart Harvey as Chief Executive Officer and Steve Stevenson as President and Chief Financial Officer, Comdata continues to evolve card-based and virtual payment products to serve the needs of its customers.
This year, Comdata launched several innovative products, including a mobile application for gift cards, FleetAdvance, ConnectPay, and SmartSight. Stevenson notes, “At Comdata, we are proud of our rich history and look forward to this next chapter where we continue to develop leading payment solutions.”
“This is an exciting time for both businesses to optimize momentum and take advantage of its opportunities,” adds Harvey. “Comdata is a leader in global commercial payments and advanced data solutions, and Ceridian HCM is transforming human capital management with the award-winning, game-changing Dayforce HCM single application.”
About Ceridian HCM
Ceridian HCM is a leader in human capital management with more than 100,000 clients in over 50 countries. Ceridian HCM delivers trusted results and transformative technology. Our offering includes the award winning, cloud-based Dayforce HCM, LifeWorks, PowerPay and International Payroll. Ceridian HCM is transforming the world of work. For more information about Ceridian HCM solutions, call 1-800-729-7655 or visit http://www.ceridian.com.
Comdata Inc. is a leading business-to-business provider of innovative electronic payment solutions. As an issuer and a processor, Comdata provides fleet, corporate payment, healthcare, virtual card, and prepaid solutions to over 30,000 customers. Comdata’s SVS division is a global gift card and loyalty innovator that manages over 600 million cards and processes over 1 billion transactions from over 45 countries and in 26 currencies worldwide every year. Founded in 1969 and headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee with more than 1,200 employees globally, Comdata enables over $60 billion in payment volume annually. For more information about Comdata solutions, call 1-(800) 266-3282 or visit http://www.comdata.com.
Javorius Allen rushed for two touchdowns and Nelson Agholor caught seven passes for 161 yards as Southern California got off to an impressive start with interim coach Ed Orgeron with a 38-31 victory over Arizona on Thursday night.
Cody Kessler passed for a respectable 297 yards and two TDs as the revitalized Trojans (4-2, 1-2 Pac-12) survived Arizona’s second-half rally to win under Orgeron.
SpendingPulse Provides Much-Needed View into Consumer Spending; September Economic Report Shows Retail Sales Slow to 3% YOY Growth
While the government shutdown may delay the release of important monthly economic news and indicators such as the Consumer Confidence and Retail Spending reports, there’s no need to play guessing games about the state of consumer spending. The latest SpendingPulse report released today by MasterCard Advisors provides a much-needed glimpse into consumer spending trends from September.
According to the report, total U.S. retail sales continued to weaken after peaking at 4.7 percent in June of this year. September retail sales were up only 3 percent year-over-year, which was attributed to a significant drop-off in gasoline spending and no major growth in other sectors.
“The government shutdown could impact businesses and consumers in so many ways – fortunately, our monthly SpendingPulse report can help fill a critical void for companies that depend on having an accurate and timely view of consumer spending,” said Sarah Quinlan, Senior Vice President, Market Insights for MasterCard Advisors. “Our insights into consumer spending have always been released ahead of the government figures with 99.86 percent correlation to the Commerce Department. As retailers head into the busy holiday shopping season, we will continue to be a reliable source for companies to help guide their business decisions.”
Other notable economic trends and news from the September report include:
- Shoppers Find Retail Therapy Online – While gas demand is down, e-Commerce sales were up by double digits over last year, an indication that shoppers are finding deals online instead of driving to local stores.
- Clothing and Accessories Take a Hit – The Apparel and Department Store categories were especially hit hard in September, continued evidence that consumers are sacrificing vanity for necessity.
- Sales of Home Goods Slip – Consumers cut back spending on Hardware and Furniture & Furnishings in September. If the government shut down continues, impacts to the housing recovery may continue to drag down these sectors for months to come.
- Travel Bounces Back – The Travel sector showed a bit of growth in September, possibly a hint of what’s to come for the economy as consumers make plans for the holidays.
“The ‘feel-good factor’ is hugely important to driving retail sales – when people feel good, they like to shop,” said Quinlan. “There are some definite bright spots in this month’s SpendingPulse report, but overall, consumers remained cautious and continued to search for the best deals, which it seems they often found online. If the government shutdown continues to drag on, it could take a toll on already wary consumers. We will be keeping an eye on how consumers are adjusting their spending habits as our government leaders work to resolve these issues.”
About the MasterCard SpendingPulse Report
A macro-economic indicator, MasterCard SpendingPulse reports on national retail sales and is based on aggregate sales activity in the MasterCard payments network, coupled with estimates for all other payment forms, including cash and check. MasterCard SpendingPulse reports and content, including estimated forecasts of spending trends, do not in any way contain, reflect or relate to actual MasterCard operational or financial performance, or specific payment-card-issuer data. MasterCard Advisors produces monthly SpendingPulse reports that are available to subscribers in the US, UK, Canada and Brazil, and are delivered ahead of retail spending figures provided by other sources.
Grist’s David Roberts wrote earlier this year in What’s Threatening Utilities: Innovation at the Edge of the Grid: “utilities shouldn’t be opposing or hampering this stuff. They should be enabling it.”
Your local electric utilities are highly regulated, and are not incented to be ever-more efficient, sell you cleaner power or use energy storage.
Combined with the fact that the utility grid itself is highly complex, future change in solar energy could well lead to one of the greatest, and most painful, sector disruptions in modern history, overshadowing the disruption that fell on the telcos with the advent of mobile and the manifestation of distributive news and online shopping born out of the internet.
The Men’s Wearhouse spurned an unsolicited $2.3 billion bid from Jos. A Bank (JAB) Wednesday to combine the two largest U.S. men’s specialty retailers. A merger would benefit JAB beyond cost efficiency. Men’s Wearhouse’s delivers a strong tuxedo rental business and its fashion-forward Joseph Abboud lines through 1,239 Men’s Wearhouse, Moores, and K&G stores.
Houston-based Men’s Wearhouse representatives told reporters the $48-a-share offer “significantly undervalued” the company. The retailer stock rocketed 28% to $45.03 Wednesday, while Jos. A. Bank’s leaped 6% to $44.28.
Jos. A. Bank sells men’s sportswear and footwear, as wells as tailored and casual clothing through its 623 stores in 44 states and the District of Columbia.
From the MasterCard Press Room:
“MasterCard today announced that Beyond the Rack, a North American eCommerce fashion retailer with over 9.5 million subscribers, has signed on to provide MasterPass, a digital wallet service that allows consumers to use any payment card or enabled device to discover enhanced shopping experiences. The new service provides Beyond the Rack’s broad customer base a convenient and flexible way to pay via the web or on a mobile device.”
Beyond the Rack joins the tens of thousands of retailers in Canada and the US who are enabling a seamless, secure and speedy check out regardless of where consumers may be and what device they may be using.
“Beyond The Rack’s success is driven by the consumer desire to shop online – and get a great deal,” said Yona Shtern, CEO, Beyond The Rack. “Our members shop with us regularly, and a great shopping experience is key to building customer loyalty. Implementing MasterPass is one way we can do that. Now, with just a few clicks, shoes, bags and fashion are securely on their way to the shopper’s home.”
MasterPass is an innovative digital commerce solution that delivers value to both consumers and merchants for its simplicity and security. Available now at www.beyondtherack.com, shoppers can begin using MasterPass, registering their credit card credentials for a simplified and faster checkout experience. As MasterPass continues to evolve, Beyond the Rack customers will be provided additional tools including real-time alerts, account balances, loyalty programs as well as Priceless offers and experiences. Since its launch, MasterCard has nearly tripled the number of MasterPass merchant partners in both Canada and the US.
“MasterPass is convenient, secure and easy for consumers to complete their online shopping. It is equally as great for businesses that are looking to deliver a seamless experience to their customers. Beyond the Rack recognizes the immense value that MasterPass brings to their business,” said Will Giles, Vice President, Emerging Payments, MasterCard Canada.
For a list of top Canada and US merchant partners, please visit: http://shopnow.masterpass.com/en-ca/
“At the end of the day, it’s our goal to provide our merchant partners – and ultimately consumers – with an enhanced shopping experience that allows people to pay when, where and how they want,” said Michael Cyr, Group Executive, U.S. Customer Delivery, MasterCard. “The breadth and caliber of merchant partners accepting MasterPass is evidence of the strength of this solution for retailers and shoppers alike.”
Cardholders can sign up at www.MasterCard.com/MasterPass or by clicking on the ‘Buy with MasterPass’ button when checking out at BeyondTheRack.com or other MasterPass merchant partner.
MasterPass™ is a digital service that allows consumers to use any payment card or enabled device to discover enhanced shopping experiences that are as simple as a click, tap or touch – online, in-store or anywhere. The MasterPass suite of services includes: MasterPass checkout services to provide merchants a consistent way to accept electronic payments regardless of where the consumer may be; MasterPass-connected wallets to enable banks, merchants and partners to offer their own wallets; and, MasterPass value added services to enrich the shopping experience before, during and after checkout.