Weekly Cell Phone News in Review–December 15, 2014

Canada Rules Police Can Search Cellphones Without A Warrant
The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that police can search mobile phones belonging to suspects, provided that they limit the scope of the search and follow certain steps. This verdict is widely regarded as a setback to privacy advocates. The court acknowledged that cellphones aren’t much different than personal computers. Nonetheless, the judges decided that they should strike a balance between security and privacy, and ruled in favor of the police. They said that a warrant is not necessary as long as the police limit the scope of the search and take note of what they are doing. Story by Summer Hirst for VPN Creative.

Apple Poised to Overtake Nokia in Mobile Phone Sales after 26% iPhone Surge in Q3
Handset heavyweight Nokia could cede its position as the second-largest mobile phone vendor in the world to Apple as soon as the fourth quarter of this year, as an iPhone 6-powered sales spike has pushed the Cupertino company to near-parity with the Finnish giant, according to the latest research from Gartner. Apple is thought to have sold some 38.2 million iPhones in the third quarter of 2014, according to market research firm Gartner’s quarterly handset sales tracker. Nokia sold some 43.1 million handsets, while market leader Samsung moved 94 million devices. Story by Sam Oliver for Apple Insider.

Telecoms Are Hit by Cellphone Cost Worries
What difference does a month make? In telecom, the answer is about $45 billion. That’s how much market value Verizon Communications, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile have lost collectively since mid-November amid a fast-moving reassessment of the industry’s value by investors. The lost value is greater than the current market capitalization of Sprint and T-Mobile combined, and it reflects concern that cellphone service will be costlier to deliver and less lucrative to sell. Two events sparked the change of heart. The first was the government’s ongoing sale of wireless licenses, which kicked off Nov. 13 and as of Friday had drawn more than $43.7 billion of bids. The other was a warning from Verizon last week that competitive pressure was forcing it to offer discounts that would hurt its profits. Story by Thomas Gryta for The Wall Street Journal.

Small Carriers Outrank the Big Ones in Consumer Reports’ Latest Cell Phone Service Survey
When’s the last time you heard anyone describe herself as “completely satisfied” with her cellular service? That’s the kind of feedback we got from customers of several upstart carriers in Consumer Reports National Research Center’s annual cell phone service satisfaction survey. Among the smaller carriers in our Ratings of traditional (aka postpaid) cell service are Consumer Cellular, which stands out for value, data service, and customer support, and Ting, which scored high for value and data service. The picture was not so rosy for the major carriers. Story by Glenn Derene for Consumer Reports.

Is LoopPay Better Than Apple Pay?
Apple Pay was announced with great fanfare three months ago, but a small company that began on Kickstarter called LoopPay may have already established a significant competitive advantage over Apple Pay. The big factor with virtual wallets is where can you use them. Currently, Apple Pay can be used at approximately 2% of retail locations. But LoopPay boasts acceptance at over 90% of retail locations. LoopPay is not an actual phone but a case for your smartphone paired with the LoopPay app. It has a small removable transmitter that fits in the case, and it has room for a drivers license and a backup credit card. What sets LoopPay apart from Apple Pay is its ability to interact with the payment systems that most retailers currently have in place. Story by John Oldshue for SaveOnPhone.com.

By 2018, 9 out of 10 Phones to be Smartphones
Smartphone sales grew over 20 per cent in the July-September quarter, 2014, on the back of strong growth in emerging markets. Given the fast pace of smartphone sales growth and declining preference for feature phones, Gartner estimates that nine out of 10 phones will be smartphones by 2018. Gartner expects sales of smartphones to reach 1.2 billion units in 2014. Story in Business Standard.

Chris Rock Isn’t the Only Comedian who Thinks Cellphones are Killing Stand-Up Comedy
Anyone who’s had semi-serious experience with stand-up comedy will tell you that it’s an art that can only be developed and refined in front of actual human beings. So for many years, prominent stand-up comedians continued working out new material in the same way they did when they weren’t famous: They’d write jokes and test them in the low-stakes space of an open mike. But technology is changing that. Well-known comedians who want to test out material in front of live audiences are facing a world where everyone has a quality video recording device – and the ability to instantly publish videos for everybody to see. Story by Elahe Izadi for The Washington Post.

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.