Weekly Cell Phone News in Review–August 3, 2015

cell phone update

AT&T Requests Android Smartphone Makers To Turn On FM Radio Chips
AT&T will require the activation of FM radio chips for its Android smartphones beginning next year. Smartphones contain several kinds of radios within them to be able to provide users with various services. One of these radios is the FM radio, which can be used by customers to listen to FM radio stations for music, news reports and emergency broadcasts. The FM radio is usually not activated by smartphone manufacturers, but AT&T will reportedly require the Android smartphone makers to activate the FM radio for devices that they will be selling through the carrier starting 2016. Story by Aaron Mamiit for Tech Times.

Major Security Flaw Exposed in 95% of Android Devices
It may be the largest security flaw ever discovered in smartphones. Zimperium, a mobile security company, has announced that 95% of Android phones can be hacked by simply receiving a picture via text message. That would make 950 million phones around the world vulnerable to being hacked. But what makes this even more concerning is the fact that the text message doesn’t even have to be opened for the phone to be hacked. Android phones begin analyzing text messages before they are opened using a tool called Stagefright. This allows the malware to get complete control of the device without the user ever doing anything. Apparently, the flaw affects all Android phones using software from the previous five years. Story by Jon Oldshue for SaveOnPhone.com.

Cellphones Can Cause Cancer, Meta-Study Confirms
There have been hints for years that cellphones could cause cancer, and now a new meta-study finds that the radiation cellphones emit are a real danger. The new research, which is based on a review of 100 studies, found that the low-intensity radio frequency radiation (RFR), cellphones emit, has an effect on living cells and can damage DNA. RFR causes oxidative stress, a condition in which the body creates harmful radicals at a rate so high it doesn’t have the ability to repair the damage they cause. Story by Sylvia Booth Hubbard for News Max.

Texting While Driving on the Rise
In a worrying trend, more California drivers are using their cell phones while driving this year than last. The study, conducted by the state Office of Traffic Safety and the University of California at Berkeley Safe Transportation Research and Education Center, centers on observations of driver behavior. Researchers this year observed 9.2 percent of drivers using their cell phone. That marks a 39 percent increase from 2014, when 6.6 percent of drivers were seen using their cell phones, but remains lower than the all time high of 10.8 percent recorded in 2012, officials said. Story by Molly Martinez for KRON.

Huawei Passes Microsoft as Third-Largest Mobile Phone Maker
When Microsoft bought Nokia, it inherited a pretty large feature phone business. But that business has shrunk a lot since the purchase, according to Strategy Analytics, and Microsoft hasn’t set the smartphone world on fire either. As a result, Huawei just displaced it as the world’s third largest mobile phone vendor by shipping 30.6 million phones, nearly 50 percent more than last year. It now holds a 7 percent market share behind Apple (10 percent) and Samsung (20.5 percent). Microsoft sits in fourth place after selling 27.8 million phones, nearly half the 50.3 million devices it sold last year over the same period. Story by Steve Dent for Engadget.

The Fastest-Growing Mobile Phone Markets Barely Use Apps
Africa and Asia, the two fastest growing mobile markets, aren’t very big on apps. The overwhelming majority of mobile internet activity in the regions is spent on web pages, according to a report released by Opera Mediaworks. In Asia and Africa, websites made up 90% and 96% of mobile impressions, respectively, in the second quarter. Their habits are a sharp contrast to the US, where apps accounted for 91% of impressions. Globally, there’s a more even distribution, with apps making up 56% of mobile impressions and websites comprising the remainder. Story by Alice Truong for Quartz.

One in Every Five Minutes on a Mobile Phone is Spent on Facebook
Facebook now accounts for one out of every five minutes people spend on mobile phones in the US, the social network revealed, as it unveiled second-quarter results. Users also spend an average of 46 minutes a day on Facebook’s apps, excluding the massively popular messaging service WhatsApp, with people making 1.5 billion searches a day on the site. It has also indexed more than two trillion posts. The figures announced by Facebook, led by founder Mark Zuckerberg, shows its growth in popularity, with 1.49 billion monthly active users as of June 30, up 13% from a year earlier. Story by Andrew Trotman for The Telegraph.

Make Mobile Payments Using Your Voice
A Dutch bank has started allowing mobile banking customers to log in and pay for items using their voice. Voice-activated payments have been launched on the ING Netherlands mobile banking app, offering a simple alternative to entering a pin or password. Users simply have to say a short phrase, and the app will match up the sound recording to a file stored on the phone. The shape of vocal cavities and the way someone moves their mouth means that speech can be more unique than a fingerprint, it is claimed. Fraudulent attempts to access the app can be recorded, stored and used to improve security.
Story in Sky News.

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.