Weekly Cell Phone News in Review–April 28, 2014

Nokia Completes $7.5 Billion Sale of Cellphone, Services Unit to Microsoft

Nokia said Friday it has completed the $7.5 billion sale of its troubled cellphone and services division to Microsoft Corp., ending a chapter in the former world leading cellphone maker’s history that began with paper making in 1865. The closure of the deal, which includes a license to a portfolio of Nokia patents to Microsoft Corp., follows delays in global regulatory approvals, and ends the production of mobile phones by the Finnish company, which had led the field for more than a decade, peaking with a 40-percent global market share in 2008. Story by Matti Huuhtanen for the Associated Press.

Mobile Phones Can Cause 911 Delays, Survey Says
A new study reveals using a cell phone indoors to call 911 could cost the caller precious moments. A survey of 911 dispatchers from the Washington, D.C.-based Find Me 911 Coalition reveals how difficult it is to pinpoint a location when a caller is using a mobile phone inside. According to the survey, 82 percent of dispatchers do not have confidence in location data provided by wireless phone carriers. FCC guidelines only require location accuracy of up to 150 meters for at least 95 percent of GPS-enabled devices. In February, the FCC proposed new requirements for mobile carriers to automatically give 911 dispatchers more accurate location information. Carriers have two years to comply with those requirements. Story for Wink News.

Cell Phones Could Help Millions in Developing Countries To Read
About 774 million people cannot read or write worldwide, and illiteracy can often be traced to the lack of books. A UNESCO study released Wednesday says that hundreds of thousands of people in developing countries are using their mobile phones to read, suggesting that mobile technology could help tackle illiteracy and boost access to educational and reading material. The report found a “revolution” in reading habits in developing countries, where books can be scarce but cellphones are not. The UN estimates that some 6 billion people have cell phones–more than the number of people with access to toilets–and technology that compresses data can help mobile phone users with even basic phones cheaply access books and stories. Story by Noah Rayman for Time.

California Phone Kill-Switch Bill Fails Vote in State Senate
A bill that would mandate a kill-switch on all smartphones sold in California failed a key vote in the state’s senate on Thursday. Senate Bill 962 fell short of the 21 votes it needed to move on to the state assembly, chalking up an important win for the telecommunications industry. While the law would have been in force only in California, it could have ushered in such technology nationwide because of the cost of making a state-specific handset. Story by Martyn Williams for PC World.

7 Ways Your Phone Is Destroying Your Love Life
Since cell phones came into existence there have been a lot of rumors, facts, and gossip about the negative, and sometimes, positive effects of them. What we do know for sure is that cell phones, and technology as a whole, are changing the way we communicate. We seem to be drifting further and further apart. As technology continues to build a wall in between and all around us, it would make sense that our relationships might suffer. You might think it’s not a big deal to have your phone attached to you 24/7, but you are very, very wrong. Story by Amanda Chatel for Your Tango.

Cellphones Not the Leading Cause in Distracted-Driving Crashes
Cellphones rank third on the list of causes in crashes in which distracted-driving is cited as a factor, a law enforcement report out of Arizona shows. The Arizona Highway Patrol says “outside distractions” are the leading cause in distracted-driving crashes, and “reaching for objects” ranks second. The Highway Patrol examined 10,166 crashes on state highways during a period from November 2013 through April 1, 2014, and found that 1,163, or 11 percent, were related to distracted driving. Story by David Tanner for Land Line Magazine.

Verizon: Bring Your Own Device, Get a Discount
You can finally bring your own device to Verizon Wireless, and it’ll matter. Verizon said that customers who bring their own device and sign up for a “More Everything” plan that is under 8 gigabytes will get $10 off of their monthly access fee, paying $30 a month on top of its voice, text, and data plan. The offer begins April 17. The move finally brings Verizon to parity with the rest of the industry, which has long since afforded breaks to customers who had brought in their own devices. Story by Roger Cheng for CNET.

About John Oldshue

John Oldshue is the creator of SaveOnPhone.com. He worked for over 15 years in television and won an Emmy award for his reporting. He covers long distance and cell phone topics for SaveOnPhone.