Weekly Cell Phone News in Review—July 10, 2017

Qualcomm Seeks To Ban Imports And Sales Of Apple iPhones In New Lawsuit
Chipmaker Qualcomm is asking U.S. trade regulators to ban iPhone imports, according to a new lawsuit. Apple has allegedly infringed on six of Qualcomm’s patents that improve iPhone battery life, according to Qualcomm. Now Qualcomm wants Apple to pay damages. Qualcomm ultimately wants regulators to investigate which phones use cellular processors from Qualcomm’s competitors, and halt sales of iPhones that violate the patents. Qualcomm said it has filed complaints in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California and with the United States International Trade Commission. It’s not immediately clear how many iPhones that would affect. Story by Anita Balakrishnan for CNBC.

Xiaomi Ships 23.16 Million Smartphones In Q2 2017, An Uptick Of 70% From Q1
Xiaomi announced that it shipped 23.16 million smartphones in Q2 2017, making it the best quarter ever for the Chinese company. The company faced a slowdown in sales last year over supply constraints, with CEO Lei Jun announcing a series of broad changes at the end of last year. It looks like the “recalibration” has worked, as Xiaomi noted a 70% uptick in sales from Q1 2017. Story by Harish Jonnalagadda for Android Central.

Samsung Profits Set To Overtake Apple For First Time In Smartphone Era
Samsung’s operating profits are set to surpass its rival Apple for the first time since the two became the world’s dominant smartphone manufacturers. The Korean electronics giant said operating profits in the second quarter of the year had hit a record 14 trillion won (£9.4bn). This would make Samsung Electronics the world’s most profitable non-financial company, a landmark moment after a tumultuous year. Sales of Samsung handsets are believed to have improved despite last year’s botched launch of the Galaxy Note 7 phone, with its well-received new S8 phone, supported by a huge marketing blitz, driving sales. However, unlike Apple, Samsung does not make the majority of its profits from smartphones. Most of the increase is likely to have been driven by the company’s mammoth display and microchip manufacturing division, with demand for electronics and computer servers surging. Story by James Titcomb for The Telegraph.

Pokémon Go Turns One: How the Insanely Popular App Led To A Tipping Point For Augmented Reality
When Pokémon Go launched on July 6, 2016, America seemed to enter into a craze that bordered on obsession. In its first two weeks, more than 300 million users had downloaded Pokémon Go, making it the most popular app on the App Store and Google Play. At one point, Pokémon Go boasted 28.5 million daily active users. While the hype mostly died out after the summer, Pokémon Go has left a lasting impression on a growing market: augmented reality technology. Pokémon Go uses a players’ smartphone camera and screen to overlay life-like images of characters alongside real-world physical objects. Players would walk around a park, for example, in search of a nearby Diglet or Squirtle in the hopes of capturing one. It was a breakthrough moment for augmented reality, and is considered a significant catalyst behind the surge in AR development across some of Silicon Valley’s biggest tech companies. Story by Annie Palmer for The Street.

Federal Aviation Bill Considers New Rules For Cell Phones
The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate are debating whether to ban air passengers from making in-flight phone calls. The House and Senate bills would forbid passengers from engaging in cell phone calls on airplanes, but allow flight attendants, members of the flight crew, and federal law enforcement officers to do so. Travel industry representatives who back the ban say it will protect passengers who seek quiet from others’ loud conversations. Story by Sabrina Eaton for Cleveland.com.

Bye Bye Chargers: Soviet Technology Key To New Battery-Free Cell Phones
Smart phone users rejoice: researchers have created a phone that works without a battery. The team from the University of Washington took inspiration from a Cold War spying device hidden within a US seal of office which used radio waves to power itself. The battery-free phone was successfully tested using Skype, making a call and communicating with the receiver without any battery being required. The audio produced may have pops and static, and it might be some way from harvesting enough power to use Tinder, but the phone managed to hold its own in a conversation without a charger in sight. Known as the Great Seal bug, the covert listening device was hidden in a US seal and used passive techniques to transmit an audio signal. The battery-free phone reduced its reliance on power to a few microwatts, harvested from radio frequencies transmitted by a base station. The phone also utilizes ambient light in generating power. Story in RT.com.

Major Adoption Means It’s Time To Double Down On Mobile Payments
Mobile payments usage has been slow to date, but that is about to change. Next year, transactions from your favorite mobile wallets, including Apple Pay and the Starbucks app, are expected to more than double to reach $62.49 billion. That figure is projected to grow to $314.13 billion by 2020. There are a few reasons why consumers and merchants alike can expect to see a boom in mobile transactions in 2017 and beyond. The latest EMV security standards are inevitably what influenced their decision to invest. Retailers are now ordering new EMV-compliant terminals from major providers such as Verifone and Ingenico en masse and these often accept NFC payments via mobile wallets. A major concern for consumers regarding mobile payments is security. Mobile payments are generally more secure than other forms of payment, including the standard credit card. The tokenized process takes the worry away from the traditional swipe because the actual credit card data is not transferred or stored on the retailer’s network. Story by Jason Miller for Payments Source.

High-Def Camera Maker Red Announces 3D Smartphone
Red Digital Cinema Camera Co. announced that it will be shipping what it described as the “world’s first holographic media machine,” a smartphone with 3D image capabilities. Red, known for its professional high-definition cameras used for filming movies such as Guardians of the Galaxy and The Hobbit, said its new Hydrogen One Media Machine smartphone will ship in the first quarter of 2018. What the company called “nanotechnology” will allow the smartphone to seamlessly switch between traditional 2D content, holographic multiview content, 3D content and interacting games, which can be viewed in both landscape and portrait modes. Story by Lucas Mearian for ComputerWorld.

New Material May Help Cut Battery Costs For Electric Cars, Cellphones
In the battle of the batteries, lithium-ion technology is the reigning champion, powering that cellphone in your pocket as well as an increasing number of electric vehicles on the road. But a novel manganese and sodium-ion-based material developed at The University of Texas at Dallas, in collaboration with Seoul National University, might become a contender, offering a potentially lower-cost, more ecofriendly option to fuel next-generation devices and electric cars. Battery cost is a substantial issue. As manufacturers and consumers push for more electric vehicles (EVs), lithium production may have a hard time keeping up with increasing demand. In terms of cost savings in the EV battery, using sodium would be less expensive because sodium is more abundant, but it has some drawbacks. Story in Science Daily.

Apple To Use OLED Screens In All New iPhones Launching In 2018
Apple is planning to use advanced organic light-emitting diode displays in all new iPhone models launched from the second half of 2018, according to two industry sources. One said that Apple is tentatively looking at releasing three new models next year. Sources in the OLED production equipment industry suggest that panel makers may not be able to produce enough to meet demand if Apple uses OLED displays in all new iPhones in 2018. This year, Apple will use OLED display only in its premium handset, which will offer a high screen-to-body ratio without the iconic home button. The two other models it will release will continue to sport liquid crystal displays, and these are expected to be sold into early 2019. Story by Debby Wu for Nikkei Asian Review.

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.