Today’s topics include updates on Google’s Project Fi, a House of Representatives vote on the Protecting Cyber Networks Act, new data loss prevention capabilities for SharePoint Online and continued growth in smartphone sales among less affluent individuals.
Google’s rumored “Project Fi” cell phone services are a rumor no more. The search company today announced the new service, which will charge smartphone users $20 a month for cellular access, plus data fees of $10 per GB only for the data that is consumed each month to see if it can build a business as a mobile phone service provider.
Project Fi allows users to connect with others wherever they are, no matter what device they are using, whether it is a smartphone, laptop or tablet. Google has forged a partnership with Sprint and T-Mobile to launch the service, which initially will only work with Nexus 6 smartphones. Other devices will be included in the future.
After years of working its way through Congress, the House of Representatives voted on April 22 to approve the Protecting Cyber Networks Act, which would make it faster and easier for enterprises to share information about cyber-security threats with each other and the government without fear of lawsuits. The legislation still must be approved by the Senate before it can be sent to President Barack Obama to sign into law.
Microsoft is beefing up the data loss prevention capabilities in SharePoint Online and OneDrive, helping Office 365 customers prevent potentially costly leaks of sensitive information. Microsoft is readying a public preview of new DLP capabilities, which the company plans to release sometime later in the second quarter. New to the upcoming preview are automated policies that can kick off actions when SharePoint Online and OneDrive encounter suspicious activity.
For three quarters in a row, year-over-year sales of smartphones among consumers earning under $30,000 annually grew by more than 50 percent. This is according to NPD Group research, which examined data through February 2015. The data suggests that smartphone buyers are significantly older and less affluent than they were a few years earlier. This demographic (buyers ages 55 and up) is now the largest segment of the smartphone market, accounting for 28 percent of all sales, while sales among consumers earning more than $100 thousand a year increased by just 24 percent.