Weekly Cell Phone News in Review–August 31, 2015

Smartphone Market is Slowing Massively. Blame China
The smartphone market is set to grow at a significantly slower pace this year, with previously explosive demand from China set to cool. Worldwide, smartphone shipments are expected to grow 10.4 percent in 2015 to 1.44 billion units-a big drop from the 27.5 percent growth recorded last year, according to a report released by research firm IDC on Tuesday. Previously, IDC forecast 11.3 percent growth this year. And in China, a market that purchased almost a third of the world’s smartphones last year, shipments are expected to grow just 1.2 percent in 2015, a dramatic decline from the 19.7 percent growth seen last year. Story by Arjun Kharpal for CNBC.

How Americans Use Their Cell Phones
In a recent Pew Research Center study, 35 percent of younger Americans use their phone for no reason whatsoever, while 13 percent of them stated they brought it out to avoid interacting with those around them. Cell phone etiquette is a thing, apparently, and all ages have varying degrees of responses on how we should handle cell phone use in certain situations. 88 percent of Americans believe that it’s inappropriate to use a cell phone at the dinner table. 77 percent think that it’s OK to use your phone while walking down the street. 75 percent believe it’s fine to use on public transit. 5 percent said it’s OK to use a phone during a meeting or in a movie theater. Story by Steve Smith for Medical Daily.

Banks Offering Mobile Banking But Consumers Slow to Adapt
Financial institutions are offering mobile banking faster than consumers are adapting to it, according to a recently published survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Banks and credit unions are using this as a tool to attract and retain customers, even though it appears that customers are not taking advantage of the opportunities. Four out of five banks and credit unions said less than 20% of their users had adopted mobile banking for their accounts. Only 4% of financial institutions reported that more than half of their account holders actively used their mobile banking platforms. More than three out of four banks surveyed said they had mobile banking options for their customers. Story by Bill Hardekopf for LowCards.com.

Lenovo Moves Smartphone Efforts to Motorola
Lenovo, which has seen its share of the mobile phone market slide in recent quarters, is reorganizing its mobile operations and shifting responsibility for its smartphone business to the Motorola Mobility division. The streamlining move comes less than a year after the Chinese system maker bought Motorola from Google for $2.91 billion in an effort to rapidly grow its mobility capabilities in an increasingly competitive global market. Story by Jeffrey Burt for eWeek.

Windows Phone Owners Won’t be Happy with this News about Windows 10 Mobile
If you own a Windows-powered phone with 4GB of internal storage, it’s unlikely that you will get the upcoming Windows 10 Mobile software update. Microsoft has previously announced a list of Lumia devices eligible for the update, but it has now emerged that older devices with less than 8GB of storage will be sidelined when Windows 10 Mobile comes around. Story by Thomas McMullan for Alphr.

Acer Goes After Budget US Mobile Consumers
It’s not every day that we see Acer, a company mainly associated with PC production, pushing for smartphone spotlight stateside. So, even if the Liquid Jade Z (Jay Z?) and Liquid Z410 don’t exactly qualify for a heavyweight challenge on Samsung’s Galaxy S6, S6 Edge or S6 Edge+, their North American spread deserves a headline or two. Available in parts of Europe and Asia since spring, the Jade Z starts at $229 with “leading retailers in the United States”, offering you the choice between 1GB RAM and 8GB internal storage space or 2 and 16 gigs respectively. The latter configuration only costs 20 bucks extra, and further sports a 5-inch 720p screen, quad-core 1.5 GHz MediaTek MT6732 SoC, voice-activated 13MP rear camera with F1.8 aperture, 5MP selfie shooter, DTS Sound enhancements, microSD card slot, and 2,300 mAh battery. Story by Adrian Diaconescu for VR Zone.

New Smartphones Keep Samsung at Head of Android Class
Samsung’s new smartphones and tablets might not offer enough to entice current iPhone and iPad users to switch, but they keep Samsung at the head of the class among Android gadget makers. The new Galaxy devices come weeks before comparable updates from Apple are expected. In a sense, if Samsung can’t beat the competition in sales, it can at least beat it to store shelves. Samsung has been facing competition not just from Apple but also from Android manufacturers such as Motorola and Xiaomi, which offer good-enough features while keeping prices low. Story by Anick Jesdanun for the Associated Press.

Some iPhone 6 Plus Smartphones Recalled for Camera Problem
Apple has launched a replacement programme for certain iPhone 6 Plus smartphones, which may be affected by a faulty component that causes photos taken with the back camera to come out blurry. The company said that a “small percentage” of devices are affected, and these units fall into batch sold primarily between September 2014 and January 2015. If your iPhone 6 Plus is producing blurry photos and falls into the eligible serial number range, Apple will replace your device’s iSight camera for free. Story in My Broadband.

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.