Mobile phone Stories August 27, 2015

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82% think it’s rude to use a smartphone at a social gathering, but 89% do it anyway

A Pew study on mobile etiquette found that 82% of Americans think it hurts the conversation when people use smartphones at social gatherings, but 89% did so anyway at the most recent one they attended.

When asked for their views on how mobile phone use impacts group interactions, 82% of adults say that when people use their phones in these settings it frequently or occasionally hurts the conversation […]

In spite of this […], 89% said that they themselves used their phone during their most recent time with others.

Many do at least have the excuse that some of the smartphone use is related to the gathering, 45% posting a photo or video taken there, 41% sharing something that happened there and 38% getting information they thought would be interesting the group.

The majority thought it was fine to use a smartphone while walking down the street, on public transport and while waiting in line – but not at a restaurant, at a family dinner or during a meeting. The worst places to use a smartphone were said to be a movie theater and a church.

Photo: Samsung

Mobile phone Stories March 25, 2015

AAA road safety campaign shows real videos of teenage car crashes while using smartphones

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has put online video clips from real car crashes caused by 16-19 year old drivers using smartphones while driving. The videos, which show both the view through the windscreen and a view of the driver, are designed to make real the dangers of distracted driving.

None of the crashes featured in the above clip feature injuries, but almost 3,000 people a year are killed in crashes involving drivers in this age-range, the majority of them caused by the driver being “inattentive or engaged in some other non-driving-related activity.” A further 383,000 people a year are injured.

Researchers at the University of Iowa examined carcam footage from 1,691 crashes involving drivers aged 16-19 to determine the cause. Distracted driving was found to be the cause in 58% of crashes, with 12% of them due to using a phone while driving. For crashes involving the car leaving the road, a full third of crashes were attributed to cellphone use.

UK tests conducted earlier this month suggested that smartwatches are even worse than smartphones for driver distraction.

The full AAA report can be downloaded here.

Mobile phone Stories March 13, 2015

Smartwatches like the Apple Watch are worse for driver distraction than smartphones, shows UK safety tests

UK safety tests have shown that using a smartwatch while driving is more dangerous than using a smartphone, reports the Huffington Post.

The Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) in Wokingham, Berks showed that a driver reading a message on an Apple Watch would take 2.52 seconds to react to an emergency manoeuvre, whereas a driver talking to another passenger would react in 0.9 seconds. Reading on an Apple Watch was even found to be more distracting than using a handheld mobile (1.85 second delay).

While the piece refers to the Apple Watch, the TRL told me that the tests were conducted with an unspecified smartwatch, and was not a full-scale study, but earlier studies have shown that even talking with someone handsfree is more distracting that holding a conversation with someone in the car.

Mobile phone Stories February 27, 2015

Ericsson, an early pioneer in cellphone technology, has upped the ante in a patent dispute with Apple by asking the U.S. International Trade Commission to block the import of iPhones into the country.

Ericsson owns patents to a number of fundamental technologies used in all cellphones, including LTE, and Apple had been paying royalties for these up until mid-January when the license fell due for renewal, reports Bloomberg …  expand full story

Mobile phone Stories February 10, 2015

Apple’s comms chip supplier Qualcomm fined almost $1B in Chinese anti-trust case

Qualcomm, which makes baseband communications chips for Apple and licenses 3G and 4G patents to other smartphone manufacturers, has been fined almost a billion dollars by the Chinese government in an anti-trust case. The company was found to have abused its dominant position in wireless chip technology by charging “unfairly high” licensing fees to manufacturers of smartphones and tablets.

The 6B Yuan ($960M) fine is the largest fine ever imposed on a foreign company, reports the GuardianChina’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said that the fine was calculated as 8% of Qualcomm’s 2013 revenue in China. China is responsible for around half of Qualcomm’s total revenue.

Chinese regulators said that Qualcomm bundled together patent licenses, forcing Chinese companies to buy unwanted licenses in order to get the core 3G and 4G ones they needed. Qualcomm said that it was disappointed by the ruling, but has agreed to separate out its licenses to allow companies to purchase only the ones they need.

The ruling is unlikely to impact Apple this year, as the company orders its baseband chips from Qualcomm rather than licensing patents, but may have an impact next year. KGI predicted last month that Apple would be buying 30% of its baseband chips from Intel in 2016.

Photo: Mike Blake/Reuters

Mobile phone Stories December 6, 2014

not me

I reviewed two portable Bluetooth speakerphone options earlier this year: The Philips WeCall ($145) vs. Logitech P710e ($125) . Both are square and have internal batteries and make conference calling easy. But for their ~$150 price tag, I wondered if you could get more portability and style without sacrificing sound quality.

Harman Kardon Esquire Mini Black (3D View) 02

The answer to those questions is the Harman Kardon Esquire line of portable speakerphones. Below, I take a look at the Esquire Mini which retails for $149.99 and can be found as low as $145 at Amazon or $135 at World Wide Stereoexpand full story

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