Weekly Cell Phone News in Review–January 19, 2015

Sony CEO Eyes Options as Pressure Mounts on Weak TV, Mobile
Sony Corp CEO Kazuo Hirai has weathered a crisis over a cyberattack on its Hollywood studio and its controversial comedy “The Interview”, but his toughest moment may be just arriving as he prepares a new business revival plan. After failing to turn around the storied creator of the Walkman since taking the helm in April 2012, Hirai and his deputies are now open to options including sales and joint ventures for its money-losing TV and mobile phone operations, company officials familiar with the leadership’s thinking say. Sony, which has cut its earnings forecasts six times on Hirai’s watch, forecasts a 230 billion yen ($1.9 billion) net loss for the business year to March, and will suspend dividend payments for the first time, after deep smartphone losses. Story by Ritsuko Ando for Reuters.

Microsoft Unveils Cheapest Smartphone
Microsoft has unveiled the cheapest smartphone in the world. The Nokia 215, which is launched by Microsoft, will cost only $29. The tech giant is calling the smartphone ‘most affordable Internet-ready phone’. It comes with single or dual SIM. The phone can run apps like Facebook, Messenger, Twitter, Bing Search, MSN Weather and Opera Mini. Story by Seth Charlton for Voice Chronicle.

Google to Test Modular Smartphones in Puerto Rico
Google has chosen Puerto Rico as the first market for a much-anticipated line of modular phones for the developing world. The effort, called Project Ara, will try to put more smartphones in the hands of the 5 billion people worldwide who don’t have them. Under the project, customers build their own smartphones piece by piece–starting with a basic Ara phone as something of a skeleton. The phone allows consumers to attach additional parts, such as a better camera, speakers or even medical devices. Story by Wendy Lee for SF Gate.

Stalkers Using Cell Phones To Track Victims
Stalking has gotten a lot easier. Law enforcement officials say with the advancement of technology, one doesn’t have to be physically present to stalk. Your phone, a device that can be a lifeline for victims – especially for those suffering from domestic violence, can be turned against you in a matter of minutes. Story for CBS News.

Smartphones in Kids’ Bedrooms Lead to Less Sleep
Children who sleep in the same room as a smartphone get less sleep, go to bed later and experience a more restless night of sleep than children who do not have a phone in their room, according to a new study from UC Berkeley. This is also true for children who have iPod touches, standard cell phones or other devices the research labels as “small screens.” Story by John Oldshue for SaveOnPhone.com.

10 Ways to Keep Your Phone Safe
If you’re one of the 58 percent of Americans who own a smartphone, then you probably use it every day: In addition to making calls and sending texts, you might use it for directions, to post to social media, browse the Internet and shop. It’s those last few activities that can put your privacy most at risk. Cyber experts say the rapid adoption of smartphones into daily life–especially for shopping, which requires the exchange of payment information–leaves many people vulnerable to financial attacks. A 2013 Norton report found that 1 in 3 smartphone users have experienced some form of cybercrime. Protecting yourself doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming, but you should consider following these 10 steps. Story by Kimberly Palmer for U.S. News.

How Filthy is Your Phone? ‘Invisible Life’ Lurking on the Average Handset
If you’re rarely without your smartphone, then chances are that it’s teeming with bacteria. In many cases, this bacteria is relatively harmless and comes from touching unclean surfaces or not washing your hands properly. But in others, the bacteria found can lead to infections such as food poisoning, impetigo and even septicaemia. To study the level of dirt on a person’s phone, students studying bacteriology at the University of Surrey imprinted their mobile phones on to so-called ‘bacterial growth medium’ in Petri dishes. After three days, they studied the bacteria that had grown in the dishes and were shocked by what they discovered. Story by Victoria Woollaston for Daily Mail.

Google Is Bringing the Paperless Classroom to Teachers’ Phones
Google has spent the last couple of years making a big push into the classroom with its affordable Chromebook laptops, education-focused versions of its productivity apps, and its Classroom learning management software, which aims to help teachers reduce the use of paper in their schools. Now the company is taking another step by bringing its Classroom app to iOS and Android devices. Classroom already lets teachers issue and grade assignments using apps like Google Docs and Google Calendar. Using the new mobile app, students will be able to take pictures and attach them to projects their teachers have assigned in the Classroom system. Story by Victor Luckerson for Time.

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.