Weekly Cell Phone News in Review—January 2, 2018

Apple Will Offer Discounts on Replacement Batteries, Following Lawsuits over iPhone Slowdowns
Apple apologized to customers Thursday for not being clear that the company slows down phones with aging batteries. Apple promised that it will “give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery” and let people see whether their battery’s age affects their phone’s performance. Apple is offering a discount on battery replacements to anyone with an iPhone 6 or later, the company said in a statement. A battery replacement will cost $29 instead of $79 starting in late January. The cheaper price is more in line with third-party repair shops. While Apple’s message was apologetic, it still rejected allegations that the company slowed down phones with older batteries as a way to push people into buying new phones. Story by Hayley Tsukayama for The Washington Post

4 Ways Your Grocery Store May Change In 2018
Shoppers should expect to see more changes to their grocery stores over the next year as the industry adapts to new competitive pressures and millennial shopping habits. The last year has been a trying one for supermarkets that face not only changing technology and consumer demands but heightened competition on price from giants like Amazon, which purchased Whole Foods in 2017, as well as growing discount chains. The stores that survive will be ones that meet the expectations and desires of the changing consumer, noting trends to watch for in 2018 include more online shopping options, mobile payment acceptance, meal kits and in-store drinking and dining. Story by Melissa Anders for Forbes

Why 2017 was the Best Year for Smartphones Ever
There are vintage years for everything, and hours can be spent debating what was the best year for movies, wines, music, fashion, cars, video games, and so much more. We’re here to end any conversations about the best year for smartphones, should such a geeky chat take place. It’s very simple—the answer is 2017. Over the past 12 months we’ve seen more desirable, better equipped, better looking, and downright fabulous smartphones than ever before. Perhaps even better, is that for once it doesn’t matter how much money you want to spend. Story by Andy Boxall for Digital Trends

5G Smartphones Now Projected To Come Sooner
Shipments of smartphones enabled with 5G, the next generation of mobile high speed, are set to start with 2 million units in 2019. The 5G smartphone category will be the fastest-growing segment from then until 2025, growing 250% a year to 1.5 billion units in 2025. Developed markets will see consumer 5G first, in the U.S., Japan and South Korea, according to data from Strategy Analytics. The new 5G speeds will be aimed at data-intensive tasks, such as video streaming and will change mobile communications norms among consumers who have access to it. Story by Chuck Martin for Media Post

WhatsApp Will Stop Working on a Lot of Smartphones from New Year’s Day 2018
WhatsApp is about to stop working on a range of old smartphones, meaning owners will have to buy newer gadgets if they want to continue using the chat app to the best of its capabilities. On New Year’s Day, WhatsApp will ‘remove support’ for a number of devices – which updated versions of the software can no longer be installed on them. This means owners of these clapped out gizmos won’t be able to enjoy new features or plugs for security holes which are often introduced in updates. Story by Jasper Hamill for Metro UK

Nokia 1 Is Reportedly A Part Of Android Go Program, Expected To Launch In March
HMD Global is reportedly gearing up to launch a new entry-level smartphone. The phone, dubbed as Nokia 1, will reportedly be a part of Google’s Android Go program. The Nokia 1 is expected to be available from the first half of 2018. According to the reports, it will be available in Russia from March 2018 and could be priced around 5,999 rubles (approximately $104). Since the phone is said to be the part of Android Go program, which is aimed at emerging markets such as India, there is a strong possibility that the device will also be made available in India quickly after launch. Story by Jeet for Gizmo China

HTC to Limit Number of New Smartphones for 2018
HTC is expected to focus its R&D and marketing efforts on a limited number of smartphones for release in 2018 as it is struggling to bring a comeback to it smartphone business in the coming year, according to industry sources. To enhance its prowess in the mid-tier segment, HTC is expected to release a variant version of its HTC U11+ in January 2018. Based on the company’s roadmap, HTC will also release its new flagship model, likely to be named HTC U12, in 2018. The new flagship is likely to come with a 4K display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, and a dual-lens rear camera, noted the sources. Story by Sammi Huang and Steve Shen for Digitimes

The Pixel C Has Been Dropped by the Google Store
Google started selling the Pixel C about two years ago as its flagship tablet. The price was high, but it was a good Android tablet. Well, as good as Android tablets could be. Google’s commitment to Android on tablets wasn’t strong even then, and now the Pixel C is gone from the Google Store-the listing page redirects you to the Pixelbook. The Pixel C was an odd device. By all accounts, the hardware was originally intended to run Chrome OS, but Google couldn’t get the platform ready for an all-touch device in time. So, the Pixel C became an Android slate. Google has been selling the device continuously since late 2015. It even offered some discounts on the tablet via the Google Store, which it almost never does for other devices. Story by Ryan Whitwam for Android Police

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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.