Weekly Cell Phone News in Review—February 26, 2018

Global Smartphone Sales Fall for the First Time in More Than a Decade
Global smartphone sales fell by 5.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017 – the industry’s first decline since 2004, according to a study from research firm Gartner. Chinese smartphone makers Huawei and Xiaomi were the only vendors in the top five to experience year-over-year growth in the quarter, respectively by 7.6 percent and 79 percent. Samsung maintained the number one spot for global sales, growing market share from the fourth quarter of 2016, despite a 3.6 percent dip. Apple sales fell 5 percent year over year and Oppo sales fell 3.9 percent. All five top vendors grew in global market share in the fourth quarter of the 2017, widening the gap between the leaders and the rest of the industry. Smartphones sales for all of 2017 increased by 2.7 percent from the previous year to 1.5 billion. Story by Sara Salinas for CNBC

Children’s Mental Health in Danger Because of Cell Phones, Parents Fear
If you’re concerned about the time your child is spending on a mobile device, you’re not alone. In a survey released Thursday from Common Sense Media and Survey Monkey, about half of the parents who participated said that they believed their child might be addicted to a phone or tablet and were concerned about the impact these devices might be having on their children’s mental health. The survey also found that about a third of parents also felt addicted to their devices. Story by Kate Sheridan for Newsweek

The First Android Go Phones Will be Announced Next Week at Mobile World Congress
Android Go is Google’s latest attempt to build a version of Android specifically designed for low-end phones, and the company has announced that we’ll start to see the first devices running the slimmed-down OS at Mobile World Congress. Android Go was first announced at Google I/O last May as a version of Android that’s meant to work on cheaper, less powerful phones with as little as 512MB or 1GB of RAM. A version of the operating system – awkwardly dubbed “Android Go (Oreo edition)” – was made available to device manufacturers and developers in December, and now we’re finally reaching the point where actual devices will be released. Story by Chaim Gartenberg for The Verge

Iran Could Soon Be Spying on Smartphones Worldwide, Report Claims
Millions of smartphone users in the United States, and around the world, are vulnerable to being spied-on by the Iranian government, according to a new report. And apparently all it takes is downloading the wrong app. The report, “Iran: Cyber Repression,” was recently published by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), considered to be the nation’s largest opposition group. NCRI researchers allege in this new investigation that there are not only hundreds of smartphone apps currently being used by the Iranian regime to spy on its own citizens, some of them are available to users around the world via online marketplaces like Apple’s App Store, Google Play and GitHub.com. Story by Alex Diaz for Fox News

Mobile Phone Use Drops by 40% in Britain After Fine is Doubled
British drivers are more afraid of getting caught for using their mobile phone behind the wheel, according to new figures. An investigation has revealed the number of drivers nabbed for the offence has dropped by 39 per cent in the last year, following the introduction of harsher penalties in March. Story by Dan Elsom for The Sun

Researchers: No Worry About Cancer From Cellphones
Two United States government studies of cellphone radiation have found a weak link to an increased risk of cancer in animals. But government officials and scientists are telling cellphone users not to worry. They say it is safe to use your mobile device. The latest research took a close look at the effects of very high radiation levels in animals to answer some questions that could not be tested on human subjects. In one study, researchers left cellphones in an area with rats. The researchers say radiation from the devices may have been responsible for a small increase in an unusual form of heart tumor in male rats. Yet there were no big problems in female rats or in a separate study of mice. Story by Jonathan Evans for Voice of America

Nokia Makes a Surprising Comeback in Smartphones
Nokia Mobile sold 4.4 million smartphones during the fourth quarter of 2017 and claimed 1% of the global market, according to research firm Counterpoint. That figure seems tiny, but it makes Nokia the 11th largest smartphone brand in the world, putting it ahead of HTC, Sony, Google, Lenovo, and Asus. Nokia’s comeback was fueled by robust sales in the U.K., Russia, Vietnam, and most Middle East markets. It ranked in the top five across all of those markets and hit third place in the U.K. for the first time during the quarter. Story in Fox Business

What is AirPower? Here’s What We Know So Far About Apple’s Wireless Charging Mat
Apple’s iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X have been out for a while now, and one of the biggest innovations with the new iPhones is wireless charging. But, you need something with which to charge these, and your other Apple devices, right? To that end, Apple has created AirPower. Shown off as a sneak peek during Apple’s big event, AirPower is a wireless charging system that lets you power up your iPhone, Apple Watch 3 and AirPods, all at the same time. Story by Michelle Fitzsimmons for Tech Radar

Americans Prefer Bank Branches Over Mobile Apps for Opening New Accounts
Mobile banking apps keep getting better, but 60 percent of Americans would still rather open a new checking account in person at a bank branch than on a phone, tablet or desktop computer. The survey also found that half of U.S. customers feel that online-only banks are “less legitimate” than those with branches. The preference for visits to branch offices over online banking for some activity stems from being able to see someone to resolve any issues that may arise. Story by David Henry for Reuters