Weekly Cell Phone News in Review—January 16, 2017

Apple Accounts for Nearly 1/3 of Holiday Smartphone Sales in US
In the months following September’s launch of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, Apple’s smartphone sales in the U.S. surpassed the sales of Samsung’s top Android devices, according to a new report from the market research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. In fact, the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus, along with the iPhone 6s, accounted for 31.3 percent of all smartphone sales at the start of the U.S. holiday shopping season, the report said. The fourth and fifth most popular smartphones, Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, took 28.9 percent of U.S. sales during that period. Story by Shirley Siluk for News Factor.

Israeli Phone Hacking Firm Cellebrite Confirms ‘Information Security Breach’
Cellebrite, the phone hacking company reportedly used by the FBI to crack the San Bernardino shooters’ iPhone, has itself become the victim of a major hack in which customer contact information was accessed by an outside party. Cellebrite is currently conducting an investigation into the breach of an external web server which contained basic customer contact information as well as hashed passwords for existing clients. Vice’s Motherboard claims to have obtained 900GB of data from the hack directly from the person responsible. Story in RT.

Super-Fast Charging the Future of Cell Phone Technology
The days of sitting on the airport floor for an hour, clinging to an outlet to charge a cell phone may soon be coming to an end. Zap&Go Carbon Ion Cell, a technology business company based in Oxford, U.K., has developed the 5-Minute Charger that utilizes carbon-ion technology to charge a cell phone in a manner of minutes. The new charger, along with advancements in battery technology, may enable people to charge their phones in just a fraction of the time they are accustomed to doing today. The device can charge three mobile devices simultaneously with 2x standard USB ports and a Qi wireless charging pad. The device can capture and store 1,500 mAh (milli-Amp hours) in five minutes, which could take an iPhone 5 battery from empty to 100 percent charged and an iPhone 6 to 75 percent charged. Story by Kenny Walter for R&D Magazine.

NYC Riders Can Now Make Calls on Their Cell Phones in Subway Stations after Cellular Service is Installed
Riders can now take and make calls on their cell phones in subway stations, according to Gov. Cuomo. As of Monday, cellular service is coursing through hundreds of underground stops, along with Wi-Fi service that lets riders use apps and surf the web. The MTA got cell service installed inside subway stations a year ahead of schedule, while Wi-Fi was in operation two years earlier than planned, according to Cuomo, who had ordered the MTA to expedite the project. The company that installed the cellular and Wi-Fi system, Transit Wireless, spent $300 million on wiring the subway system with 4,000 antennas and 120 miles of fiber optic cables. Story by Dan Rivoli for the New York Daily News.

Chicago Lawyer Files Federal Lawsuit over Police Cellphone Tracking System
A Chicago attorney filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Chicago Police Department’s use of a secret cellphone tracking system, arguing the practice should require a warrant and violates individual privacy. Jerry Boyle, who is also a longtime volunteer for the National Lawyers Guild, brought the case after police intercepted information from his cellphone at a Black Lives Matter protest for Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 2015 on the West Side, according to the lawsuit. Cell site simulators are devices that mimic cell towers and can collect data from phones, including text messages, internet browsing history, location tracking and phone call content, according to the lawsuit. When police deploy a cell site simulator, also referred to as “Stingrays” based on the name of a popular model, the device captures data from any phone in its range, not just the intended target. When the device is in use, it drains cellphone batteries and can lead to dropped calls. The devices can reach cellphones more than a mile away from them and capture data from up to 60,000 phones simultaneously. Story by Elyssa Cherney for the Chicago Tribune.

Xiaomi Chief Says Mobile Phone Firm Grew Too Quickly
Xiaomi, the world’s fourth largest phone maker, shipped 71 million devices in 2015, up from 6.6 million in 2012. But it experienced weaker demand in the past 12 months, with third-quarter sales down 27%, according to analysts. Experts say Chinese phone makers are struggling in an increasingly competitive global market. In an open letter to staff, Xiaomi’s chief executive Lei Jun said: “In the first few years, we pushed ahead too fast. “We created a miracle, but also drew on some long-term growth. So we have to slow down, further improve in some areas and ensure sustainable growth for a long-term future.” Story in the BBC.

Samsung’s Foldable Smartphones That Transform Into Tablets Hitting Stores In Q3 2017
Samsung is taking a huge step towards smartphone reinvention this year. A new report claimed that the tech giant from South Korea will unveil foldable smartphones that can be used as tablets in this year’s third quarter. The report came from The Korea Herald, which claimed from a source that Samsung is preparing to release more than 100,000 units of the device in Q3 2017. The smartphone will have panels that fold out and when unfolded, can be used as a 7-inch tablet. Story in the University Herald.

Nokia to Launch Android Smartphone on February 26
Nokia is planning to launch its first Android smartphone Nokia 6 in China on February 26. Last year, Nokia announced that it licensed HMD Global to produce Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets. The smartphone has a hybrid in-cell 5.5-inch screen with full HD resolution and 2.5D Gorilla Glass. The device is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor with X6 LTE modem, has 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage. Story in the Economic Times.

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.