Weekly Cell Phone News in Review–July 28, 2014

Obama To Sign Bill Making It Legal To Unlock Your Cell Phone The U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation on Friday to give mobile-phone users the right to ‘unlock’ their devices and use them on competitors’ wireless networks, something that is now technically illegal. The legislation cleared the Senate last week. President Barack Obama said in a statement that he looked forward to signing the bill into law. Story by Reuters.

Massachusetts House Approves Bill Banning Robo-Calls to Cell Phones
The House passed legislation Thursday banning robo-calls or automated texts to cell phones. Beyond marketers, political campaigns often use robo-call technology to spread their messages. The bill cleared the House last session but not the Senate. The current bill still needs passage in the Senate before reaching the governor’s desk. The legislation would create a civil penalty of up to $10,000 for each knowing violation, and a minimum penalty of $1,500 for each knowing violation against a senior. Story by Andy Metzger for WWLP.

Future Cell Phones to Recharge from Air After Rain?
MIT scientists have discovered a way to get an electric current out of water droplets. Enough power to charge mobile phones can be drawn from water condensing and jumping from a super-hydrophobic surface. Researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have come up with a simple device that – not without some improvements – could power electronic devices with ‘green’ energy. Story in the RT Network.

Use Cellphones to Help Bring Schools into 21st Century Smartphones are mini-computers. More than 150,000 apps are classified as educational. An article on the National Education Association website points out that smartphone apps can be used to explore almost any subject. One app provides testing to help students gauge how much they are learning and another will send out text message reminders to students when their assignments are due. Story in The Advertiser.

Rent-A-Center Will Offer Smartphones for Rent
With profits for the second quarter now projected to be lower than analysts anticipated, Rent-A-Center is looking for new ways to generate revenue. Rent-A-Center, the country’s largest rent-to-own operator, is planning to roll out the new smartphone program in its 2,800 stores in the United States by the end of this month. Story by Sarah Hefner for SaveOnPhone.com.

Teen Wakes Up to Find Cellphone on Fire in Her Bed
Teens and their cellphones are rarely parted these days. Some kids even sleep with their cellphones, but if your child is one them, take heed! A Texas teen woke up to the smell of something burning in her bed this week. Turns out the 13-year-old is one of those kids whose cellphone ends up under her pillow at night–and the gadget caught on fire. She woke to a phone that had completely melted, glass, plastic, and all. Story by Jeanne Sager for The Stir.

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.