Weekly Cell Phone News in Review—February 19, 2018

A Concerning New Study Links Miscarriages to Cellphone Radiation
There’s emerging evidence that exposure to one type of radiation from cellphones and other devices might be linked to a major adverse health outcome in women: miscarriages. A new study published in the journal Scientific Reports found a strong link between higher levels of exposure to a type of radiation called magnetic field non-ionizing radiation and higher risk of miscarriage in a group of nearly 1,000 women living in the Bay Area of California. Specifically, the researchers, from Kaiser Permanente in Northern California, found that a woman’s miscarriage risk rose from 10 percent to 24 percent as she was exposed to higher levels of magnetic field non-ionizing radiation. Story by Julia Belluz for Vox

Unlocked Phones vs. Locked Phones: Why You Should Care
The US wireless market is more competitive than ever, which is great news for consumers who have lots of choices when it comes choosing a service provider. But one barrier still exists when trying to switch carriers: the locked smartphone. The end of wireless contracts marked a watershed trend for consumers because it finally opened the door for them to more easily shop around for alternative wireless carriers. But the software locks that carriers put on phones restricting its use on other networks still prevent many consumers from having total freedom when it comes to choosing a provider. Now Verizon, the only wireless carrier that sold its phones unlocked out of the box, is reversing course. Story by Marguerite Reardon for CNet

Apple Captures 51% of Global Smartphone Revenues: 3X Samsung, And 7X Huawei
Apple captured 51% of global smartphone revenues in the last quarter of 2017, according to a new Strategy Analytics report. That’s $61 billion in revenue in just one quarter — up 2.5% — and compares favorably to $19 billion for Samsung, and $8 billion for Huawei.  The Cupertino company’s numbers are up from the previous year’s fourth quarter, in which Apple captured 48.5% of global smartphone revenue. Interestingly, both Samsung’s and Huawei’s numbers are up as well, suggesting that the congested global marketplace for smartphones is consolidating somewhat. Strategy Analytics “other” category, which includes smaller manufacturers in Asia, India, and Europe, lost ground from 30.5% of the global take in Q4 of 2016 to 26.2% in Q4 2017. Globally, we’re spending more on smartphones than ever before, but shipment numbers are declining. Story by John Koetsier for Forbes

Hackers Hijack Millions of Smartphones to Mine Cryptocurrency
Hackers have been secretly hijacking millions of smartphones in order to mine the cryptocurrency monero, new research reveals. Analysts at security firm Malwarebytes first spotted the illicit cryptocurrency mining, known as cryptojacking, in late January but only published details of the campaign this week. The research explains how a phone’s processing power is being used to mine cryptocurrency-the process of generating virtual currencies like bitcoin by completing complex equations in order to confirm transactions-when visiting certain websites. Story by Anthony Cuthbertson for Newsweek

Google Tests System to Help Locate 911 Callers
Public-safety officials have pressured tech giants like Google and Apple  in recent years to make their rich location data available to 911. Google conducted its trial with two companies that have connections into 911 centers, West Corp. and a startup called RapidSOS. RapidSOS said its portion of the trial involved about 50 911 centers covering some 2.4 million people in Texas, Tennessee and Florida. Location data in more than 80% of the 911 calls using Google’s technology were more accurate than the carrier data in the first 30 seconds of a call, according to RapidSOS. Google’s data provided an average location estimate radius of 121 feet, RapidSOS said, while carrier data averaged 522 feet. Carrier data also took longer to reach 911 centers, the company said. 911 directors that participated in the trial said the technology is a major improvement. Story by Ryan Knutson for The Wall Street Journal

5G Is Making Its Global Debut at Olympics, and It’s Wicked Fast
Fifth-generation wireless networks are designed to be wicked fast, about 100 times faster than 4G. At 10 gigabits a second, 5G can send a full-length high-definition movie in seconds. It also paves the way for the “internet of things,” where devices from refrigerators to traffic lights to dog collars can talk to each other. The tech industry is counting on the new capabilities: 5G will be important for developing artificial intelligence, drones, self-driving vehicles, robots and other machines that transmit massive data in real time. Story by Sam Kim and Sohee Kim for Bloomberg

Consumers Find Themselves Engaged with Mobile Banking Apps
Of adults in the U.S. who use a smartphone, 63 percent have at least one financial app installed, and the average smartphone user has 2.5 financial apps. Among millennials (18-37-year-olds), the average number of financial apps is 3.6. The figure drops to 2.3 for members of Gen X (age 38-53), and 1.4 for baby boomers (age 54-72). Predictably, full-service banking platforms lead the app count; 55 percent of U.S. adults who have a smartphone have at least one full-service banking app, and 23 percent have at least two. Peer-to-peer payments apps such as Venmo, PayPal and Square Cash are the second most common downloads. Forty-one percent of smartphone users have at least one of these and 15 percent have more than one. Story in Mobile Payments Today

94 Percent in IT See Increase in Mobile Security Attacks
Ninety-four percent of IT professionals expect mobile security attacks to become more frequent, while 79 percent report increased difficulty securing devices. That’s one of the 12 surprising mobile technology statistics published by Mobile Business Insights. The report also notes that “for every eight minutes users spend on smartphones, seven of those minutes are spent in apps.” And users spend an average of about five hours per day on their device. Story by Scott Rasmussen for Newsmax

HTC Smartphone President Chialin Chang Has Resigned
Not long after letting go of its Pixel team in exchange for some much needed cash from Google, HTC is now also losing its smartphone lead. Chialin Chang, who joined the company as CFO back in April 2012, has immediately resigned as the President of Smartphone and Connected Devices Business due to “personal career plan,” according to HTC. There’s no word on who will take over this role, which basically means more work for Chairwoman and CEO Cher Wang until she finds a replacement, if any. Story by Richard Lai for Engadget

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.