Mobile phone Stories August 27, 2015

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

iphones

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

Harman Kardon Esquire Mini - Lifestyle (2)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

Mobile phone Stories November 20, 2014

gorilla-glass-4

The GTAT mess may have forced Apple to abandon its presumed plans to replace iPhone Gorilla Glass screens with sapphire, but next year’s iPhone displays could still prove up to twice as shatter-resistant, says glass-maker Corning.

Corning said that studying hundreds of broken phone screens had revealed the unsurprising fact that shattered screens most commonly occurred in a one-meter drop onto a rough surface like concrete or asphalt. Drop tests in these conditions found that Gorilla Glass 4 survived up to 80% of such impacts – twice the record of the Gorilla Glass 3 used in current iPhones.

While there was much scientific testing behind the scenes, the videos the company used to illustrate the improved strength were rather less scientific in nature …

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Mobile phone Stories July 25, 2014

OECD data reveals one mobile Internet connection for every person in the U.S.

Data released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development reveals that there are now as many mobile Internet connections as there are people in the USA. While not everyone has a mobile data SIM or dongle, those with multiple devices make up for those left out, taking the average to a fraction over 100 percent.

Six other countries also manage to have more mobile data subscriptions than people, Finland topping the list with an average of 1.25 connections per person. The overall average across the 34 countries within the OECD grouping was 72.4 percent.

(via The Register)

Mobile phone Stories February 28, 2014

Court dismisses $2B patent troll claim against Apple for emergency feature in iPhones

A German court has dismissed a $2B patent claim by IPCom against Apple for use of a standard which is a mandatory feature in all cellphones. As we reported earlier this month:

The chip is used to identify mobile phones used by the emergency services in order to give them priority access to networks when they are heavily congested, such as during a major disaster. Carriers can set their networks to block access to all phones in the vicinity of a major emergency other than those identifying themselves as belonging to police and rescue workers. The chip can be included in the circuitry of either a phone or a SIM.

IPCom claimed a patent on the technology, but Germany’s Mannheim Regional Court dismissed the claim, along with a similar one against HTC.

This is, however, unlikely to be the end of it. IPCom has a record of appealing such rulings, and attempting to charge for patents purchased from other companies is its primary source of revenue. The company owns more than a thousand mobile-related patents.

Mobile phone Stories January 3, 2014

Photo: Fox

Photo: Fox

AT&T has announced incentives worth up to $450 for T-Mobile customers who switch to their service. The move is being made in response to T-Mobile’s Uncarrier offers, after AT&T recently said that it too expected to move toward separating device and service charges.

Proving the old adage that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, the deal of course comes with strings. First, $250 of that is the maximum you’ll receive in return for trading in your existing T-Mobile handset. To get the full $250, you’ll need a recent handset in good condition – in which case you’d almost certainly get more selling it privately …  expand full story

Mobile phone Stories December 5, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-12-04 at 11.10.55 PM

AT&T has launched a new initiative called Mobile Share Value Plans that is designed to save customers money on their monthly AT&T mobile phone service bills. The following changes are specifically for the Mobile Share program, which allows devices to work under the same AT&T account and share data, talk, and text plans. Similar to T-Mobile’s “un-carrier” approach, the new AT&T plans separate the cost of the device hardware completely from the monthly service charges:

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Mobile phone Stories July 26, 2013

Apple wins brand of the year trifecta in first full year under Tim Cook

A Harris poll of almost 40,000 American consumers on more than 1,500 brands across 155 categories saw Apple retain Brand of the Year in three categories.

  • 2013 Computer Brand of the Year
  • 2013 Tablet Brand of the Year
  • 2013 Mobile Phone Brand of the Year

What really stands out is that in all three of the categories Apple brands are measured – Computer, Tablet and Mobile Phone – its Brand Momentum scores are in the top 30 of all 1,500 brands evaluated in the study, showing that consumers see this as a brand of the future.

The poll asks consumers to rate brands on Familiarity, Quality, Purchase Consideration, Emotion, Fit, Trust, Performance, Energy, Ubiquity, Future Outlook, Leadership and Popularity.

The top four brands in each of the three categories were:

Computers:

1 Apple Computers – 2013 Computer Brand of the Year
2 Hewlett-Packard (HP) Computers
3 Dell Computers
4 Sony Computers

Tablets:

1 Apple iPad Series – 2013 Tablet Brand of the Year
2 Kindle Fire Series
3 Google Nexus Series
4 Samsung Galaxy Series

Mobile phones:

1 Apple iPhone – 2013 Mobile Phone Brand of the Year
2 HTC Phone
3 Samsung Phone
4 LG Phone

The ratings may provide some comfort for those who feared Apple’s enviable brand popularity would suffer post-Steve.

Mobile phone Stories March 6, 2013

Following a statement from the White House on Monday confirming it would support “narrow legislative fixes” to make unlocking cellphones legal again, several lawmakers have announced plans to introduce legislation. According to a report from The Hill, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy and Chair of the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights Senator Amy Klobuchar have confirmed they will introduce bills in support of the legalization of cellphone unlocking:

“I intend to work in a bipartisan, bicameral fashion to restore users’ ability to unlock their phones and provide them with the choice and freedom that we have all come to expect in the digital era,” Leahy said in a statement.

The Judiciary Committee, which handles copyright issues, would likely have jurisdiction over any bill to legalize cellphone unlocking.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who chairs the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, said she plans to introduce her own bill this week.

During a recent panel discussion on Capitol Hill, other lawmakers voiced their support for the legislation, including Representatives Darrell Issa and Jared Polis, while The Hill reported the Federal Communication Commissions’Jessica Rosenworcel “encouraged Congress to re-examine the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.”

The decision was made by the Library of Congress in October to make unlocking cellphones illegal, and that policy officially took effect in January. Following the White House’s statement in response to a petition with over 110,000 signatures, the Library of Congress issued a statement and agreed that “the question of locked cell phones has implications for telecommunications policy and that it would benefit from review and resolution in that context.” expand full story

Mobile phone Stories January 25, 2013

Last day it is legal? Unlock your iPhone today

Just a quick note: As we reported, carrier-unlocking your iPhone goes from questionably legal to questionably illegal tonight. So, if you are considering unlocking your iPhone for future use, you may want to take advantage of this last little window.

ChronicUnlocks.com has been a solid provider of iPhone unlocks for our readers and us for a while now if you are looking for a good place to unlock an iPhone. Chronic’s lawyers are working to see if there is a legal way to unlock phones after today, but it might make sense to do it now just in case it isn’t.

Mobile phone Stories September 10, 2012

Nielsen: Young adults and teens push smartphone growth in US, with iOS at 34 percent of OS market share in July

While getting its graphics’ proportions right this time around, research firm Nielsen revealed July 2012 findings today and announced 55.5-percent of mobile subscribers in the United States now own smartphones with young adults and teenagers leading the charge.

According to the Nielsen blog

As mobile manufacturers announce new phones in advance of the holidays, Nielsen took a snapshot look at the mobile market in the U.S. Smartphone penetration continued to grow in July 2012, with 55.5 percent of mobile subscribers in the U.S. now owning smartphones. This is a significant increase compared to July 2011 when only 41 percent of mobile subscribers owned smartphones.

Overall, young adults are leading the growth in smartphone ownership in the U.S., with 74 percent of 25-34 year-olds now owning smartphones, up from 59 percent in July 2011. Interestingly, teenagers between 13 and17 years old demonstrated the most dramatic increases in smartphone adoption, with the majority of American teens (58%) owning a smartphone, compared to roughly a third (36%) of teens saying they owned a smartphone just a year ago.

Android still dominates the smartphone OS market in terms of owners and recent acquirers, but iOS maintains second place with 34 percent of smartphone owners and 33 percent of recent acquirers.

Nielsen’s monthly survey is conducted across 20,000 mobile subscribers from the ages of 13 and up in the U.S.

Get additional details at Nielsen.

This article is cross-posted on 9to5Google.

Mobile phone Stories September 6, 2012

JD Power: iPhone ranks highest in customer satisfaction for 8th consecutive study

For the eighth consecutive study, Apple ranks highest among manufacturers of smartphones in customer satisfaction. Apple achieves a score of 849 and performs well in all factors, particularly in physical design and  ease of operation. HTC (790) follows Apple in smartphone rankings.

HTC was its closest competitor. So, I guess that is news. [via the Loop]

Mobile phone Stories July 18, 2012

Apple online store adds text message notifications for order status updates

The Apple online store went down last night for a short while. It appears Apple made some minor tweaks, including the ability to receive text message notifications on orders. Apple is now displaying the following text in several sections of the online store in at least Canada and the United States: “Now get order status updates by text message.”

Apple explained on its website that the new feature is an option during the checkout process, and it is available to the following supported carriers: Alltel, AT&T, Boost Mobile, Cricket, Nextel, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon Wireless, and Virgin Mobile USA.

Apple Notifications is a text-message-based alerts service designed to keep you up-to-date on your shipment and/or pickup notification status. In addition to standard email notifications, you can also request text message updates when you’re in Checkout. The number of messages you’ll receive will vary depending on the orders you placed.

What to Expect

Once your order ships, or is available for pickup, we’ll send you a text message. The text message will include your order number and a link to online Order Status. Texts are sent between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. in your time zone.

How to turn off text notifications:

To stop receiving text notifications, simply reply STOP to the text message. Texting HELP to 83372 will give you additional information.

(via CultofMac & AppleBitch)

Mobile phone Stories May 10, 2012

Report: Apple sold 7.25 million iPhones in Japan during 2011 as No.1 smartphone vendor

According to a report from research firm MM Research Institute translated by Japanese blog Macotakara, iPhone sales in the Unites States during fiscal year 2011 hit 7.25 million units:

Research Institute released “General situation of mobile handsets shipment in Japan at 2011”.  According to this MM Research Institute report, the number of iPhone sales reached 7.25 million units in Japan at 2011.

Amount of shipment of cell-phone was 42.74 million, which was 13.5% bigger than 2010, and smart-phone sales was 24.17 million in amount. In this market, Apple occupied 7.25 million (17% of all mobile phone sale) and got 2nd position by handset maker.

Focusing on smartphone market, Apple got 1st position as 30% share by handset vendor. Androids got 69% share by platform, and iOS got 30%.

As of the latest numbers from comScore, Apple’s growth in Japan outpaced Android during the three-month period ending February 2012 to take 34.2-percent of smartphone subscribers.

Mobile phone Stories May 1, 2012

IDC: Samsung takes top smartphone marketshare in Q1, as Apple hits 8.8-percent high of total mobile phone market

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Today, research firm IDC published its Q1 2012 report of top mobile phone and smartphone shipments worldwide. While Apple was able to post impressive growth with a high of 8.8-percent of the total mobile phone market (up from 4.6-percent a year ago) and 24.2-percent of the global smartphone market (up from 18.3-percent), Samsung was able overtake Apple for the top spot with a year-over-year change of 267 percent and 29.1-percent of the total smartphone market. Samsung also took the top spot of global mobile phone marketshare from Nokia for the first time since 2004.

Meanwhile, the worldwide smartphone market grew 42.5% year over year in 1Q12, as Samsung overtook Apple for the smartphone leadership position. Vendors shipped 144.9 million smartphones in 1Q12 compared to 101.7 million units in 1Q11. The 42.5% year-over-year growth was 1% higher than IDC’s forecast of 41.5% for the quarter, and lower than the 57.4% growth in the fourth quarter of 2011

In terms of shipments among smartphone vendors, Apple took the second spot behind Samsung up from 18.6 million units in Q1 2011 to 35.1 million in Q1 2012. Apple was only behind Samsung with 42.2 million units shipped, up from just 11.5 million a year ago.

The company does not publicly release shipments from Samsung, and IDC’s number of 42.2 million smartphones shipped during Q1 is significantly more than the 32 million estimated by IHS iSuppli just days ago. If IHS’s estimate were correct, it would put Samsung much closer to the 35.1 million devices Apple confirmed it shipped sold during the quarter.

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Mobile phone Stories February 18, 2012

iPhone 4 ‘Antenna-gate’ settlement reached, puts problem to bed for $15/owner

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CNET reported that Apple settled 18 suits bundled as a Class-action lawsuit over the “Antennagate” “scandal.”  Each iPhone 4 owner (it is not clear if Verizon iPhone 4 users who had different radios/Antenna are exempt) is entitled to a $15 cash settlement or a bumper. Apple began offering bumpers to users shortly after the release and the subsequent press conference to address the issue (as well as returns, no restocking fee or questions asked).

The settlement found:

Apple was “misrepresenting and concealing material information in the marketing, advertising, sale, and servicing of its iPhone 4–particularly as it relates to the quality of the mobile phone antenna and reception and related software.”

The settlement has its own Web site, www.iPhone4Settlement.com, which will be up in the coming weeks (the site doesn’t go anywhere right now). There, customers will be able to get information about the settlement and how to make a claim. As part of the arrangement, e-mails will also be sent alerting original buyers to the settlement before April 30, 2012. The claims period is then open for 120 days.

“We believe that the Apple iPhone 4 settlement is fair, adequate, and reasonable,” said co-lead counsel Ira Rothken, who represents the class, to CNET. “We believe that it allows members of the class to choose, and they can get $15 of cash or a bumper, so we believe that type of choice is proportional to the circumstances.”

Consumer Reports, who could not recommend the iPhone 4 based on the problem, demonstrated above, said the iPhone 4S was free of this issue.

Apple still sells the iPhone 4 with what we believe is the same design as the one used above, so it is not certain how this settlement will affect those sales.

Update: Statement from Apple via the Loop:

“This settlement relates to a small number of customers who indicated that they experienced antenna or reception issues with their iPhone 4 and didn’t want to take advantage of a free case from Apple while it was being offered in 2010,”

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Mobile phone Stories December 26, 2011

iPad 3 home buttons begin floating around China, feature more design tweaks

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The above image is a comparison of an iPad 2 home button and an iPad 3 home button. At the surface, not much as changed, but the prospects of some minor structural tweaks do hint at something greater. The iPad 3 home button, which has been handled in both black and white flavors, looks almost identical to the iPad 2 home button. However, the gray glyph representing the frame of a home screen application icon is slightly thicker. This, obviously, is not all the interesting…but we do learn a few things:

– The iPad 3 will likely come in both black and white-just like the iPad 2-if these iPad 3 home buttons pan out to be the ones used in the final.

– The buttons floating around right now-in large quantities-signal that the iPad 3 is either in production or close to the production stage

– The iPad 3 will not lose the home button (iOS devices have been rumored to soon be losing the home button).

Perhaps the most interesting part about the iPad 3 home button is that its internal structuring is smaller than the iPad 2’s connector (easy to tell in the comparison image above). Apple tweaking the home button structural design and making its size smaller may indicate that Apple is trying to make room for something else. The iPad 3 is already rumored to be nearly 1 mm thicker to accommodate a more pixel-dense Retina Display. Perhaps this slightly smaller home button is one method Apple is using to keep the extra thickness required to a minimum.

Power and volume rockers with a similar design to their iPad 2 counterparts are also floating around, perhaps hinting a minimal design changes. Stay tuned for more.

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Mobile phone Stories September 20, 2011

Google brings Hangouts to phones, opens + Beta to everyone

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Among a bunch of Google+ improvements announced today, Google said it would bring Hangouts to mobile phones including iPhone (and iPad 2 and 4G iPod likely).  We’re big fans of Google Hangouts and having it on mobile is going to be really great.  They are also offering Hangout broadcasts which might be fun ways to broadcast a keynote for instance :D

Google announced a bunch of other big Google Plus stuff including open invitations today.  Check full coverage on 9to5Google.com expand full story

Mobile phone Stories September 8, 2011

Apple awarded sixth consecutive J.D. Power and Associates Award for top smartphone manufacturer

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J.D. Power and Associates has just announced the results of their annual 2011 U.S. Wireless Handset Customer Satisfaction Study. Apple has earned the top-spot on the list for the sixth consecutive time. Apple scored a 838 on a 1,000-point scale with the iPhone, while the runner-up HTC scored a relatively close score of 801. 6,898 smartphone owners took part in the study. As if we already didn’t know, customers are pretty satisfied with Apple’s iPhone, and its 5-star rating for “Ease of Operation”. (via BGR)

Press release after the break:

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