Weekly Cell Phone News in Review–February 9, 2015

Cell Phones Have Made It Too Easy To Ignore Each Other
We have entered a time when the technology we carry in our hands has become more important than human interaction. Texting and the emergence of the selfie have become the norm. It is hard to imagine that this new focus on self and lack of direct face-to-face interaction can mean something positive about how we live, love and deal with each other. We have become the victims of our technology. Our phones are a convenience of course, but they have also made it way too easy to ignore real interaction. Story by Chrysler Summer for Opposing Views.

Cellphones the Top Threat in NC Prisons, DOC Says
To the outside world, cellphones are just part of life. But inside prison walls, they’re invaluable–used to plot escapes, threaten innocent people and even commit murder beyond the bars. “Cellphones are our number one threat, and we have to combat it every single day,” said Kenneth Lassiter, deputy director for operations for the North Carolina prison system. It’s not weapons, it’s not drugs–its cellphones. In 2005 only about 30 or so phones were confiscated in prisons across the state, but by 2012 that number jumped up to more than 850. Story by Jonathan Rodriguez for WNCN.

Emojis Could Cost You Hundreds on your Bill if you Have an Older Phone
Phones as recent as the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Note 3 could cost you a fortune every time you give a friend a wink or a smile. Shocked users in the UK have discovered that smiley-face emojis and emoticons are unwittingly costing them hundreds in their phone bills. Older phones, including the Samsung Galaxy S, S2, S3 and S4, may handle emojis by turning them into picture messages, which cost more to send. The Galaxy Note, Note 2 and Note 3 and Galaxy Ace are also reported to be affected. Story by Rich Trenholm for CNet.

Facebook Lite Launched For Use With Simple Mobile Phones In Emerging Markets
Facebook has been testing a lightweight version of its app for mobile phones with poor quality of Internet in emerging markets, the social networking giant announced last week. Called Facebook Lite, the new mobile app is optimized for low-end Android devices in a limited number of countries across Asia and Africa. Story by Rio Rose Ribaya for The Christian Times.

Cell Phone Usage Claims 9 Hours Of Students’ Day On Average
A Baylor University study found cell phone addiction to be a “realistic possibility” among students responding to an online survey. While many claimed they weren’t addicted–despite a high number of hours spent on their devices–60 percent of the 164 respondents admitted to be addicted to their cell phones. Women spent more time on their cell phones, averaging 10 hours per day. Men averaged nearly eight hours. Baylor noted that such excessive use of cell phones presents a risk to academic performance. Story in The Inquisitr.

By 2020, 90% of People over Six Will Have Mobile Phones
According to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report, 90% of the world’s population over six years old will have a mobile phone by 2020. Cell phones are growing at an astounding rate. Ericsson predicts a total of 9.5 billion mobile subscriptions in just five years. Based on projections, smartphones subscriptions will exceed basic phones by 2016 as they become more affordable in developing markets. Of the expected 9.5 billion subscriptions, 6.1 billion will be for smartphones by the end of 2020. Story by Justin Hefner for SaveOnPhone.com.

The Long Slow Decline Of Sony’s Xperia Smartphones
Sony has announced the results for the third quarter of its financial year (which is calendar Q4 2014). While the Japanese company is ahead of overall expectations (and is predicting a smaller than forecast annual loss), the smartphone division continues to drag its heels. While the division behind the Xperia range of Android-powered devices has seen a year-on-year rise for the quarter (no doubt driven by festive sales), the smartphone unit is still looking at a yearly operating loss of 215 billion yen ($1.83 billion), adding another 11 billion yen to this estimated loss it projected in October 2014. Story by Ewan Spence for Forbes.

How Mobile Phones Could Help African Farmers Sell More Products
A U.S. market research company has partnered with a Netherlands-based company that does independent agricultural certifications to engage and educate farmers via mobile phones. The result could mean smallholder farmers in Africa who are better certified to compete in a global marketplace, who are in compliance to compete, and who have the chance to expand their businesses. Smallholder farmers are always looking for access to better markets, and this partnership will help educate and monitor farmers looking to certify their products and enter these markets. Story by Dana Sanchez for AFK Insider.

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.