Weekly Cell Phone News in Review–June 2, 2014

What do Mobile Phones do to Teenage Brains?
For every parent who’s ever wondered whether spending hours on a cell phone might be harmful to their tech-crazy teen, a new study is seeking definitive answers. The largest research project ever of its kind, the Study of Cognition, Adolescents and Mobile Phones (SCAMP) is launching in Britain. Over the next three years, it will investigate the impact of mobile phones and other wireless technology on the developing adolescent brain, with a special focus on how the devices impact cognitive functions such as memory and attention. Story in CBS News.

Rise of the Retro Phone
The retro mobile game could be making a comeback, along with the vintage handsets it was played on. Consumers harking back to a simpler era are turning their backs on smartphones by embracing bulky, vintage mobiles, with retro features. The demand for these old-school phones is so high that some models of old Nokias, Ericssons and Motorolas are now fetching up to $1,360 a piece. While they may lack features, these retro phones are simple to use, have batteries that last the week and are practically indestructible compared to their smartphone equivalent. Story by Ellie Zolfagharifard for the Daily Mail.

Cell Phones May Improve Literacy Rates in Developing Countries
Cell phones may be helping lower illiteracy rates in developing countries. According to a recent study conducted in seven countries, cell phone technology gives people access to a world of books they would not normally have. The study showed that females in particular are benefitting from mobile literature, reading up to six times as often as males in the same area. It also discovered that parents regularly read to their children from their phones, and that mobile reading makes people feel better about the reading process as a whole. Story by John Oldshue for SaveOnPhone.com.

T-Mobile Overtakes Sprint in Q1 as No. 3 U.S. Smartphone Buyer
T-Mobile, along with its MetroPCS prepaid brand, surpassed Sprint and  Sprint’s MVNOs as the third-largest U.S. carrier in terms of smartphone volumes purchased in the first quarter, according to a new research report. According to Counterpoint’s Market Monitor, T-Mobile is now closely behind AT&T Mobility in terms of smartphones. Story by Phil Goldstein for Fierce Wireless.

Can the NSA Remotely Turn On Mobile Phones?
Is it possible for the National Security Agency to remotely power up a mobile phone and use it as a listening device? In an interview that aired last week, American NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden told NBC’s Brian Williams that the agency can. Cellphone security experts are divided over whether that’s true. Story by Jill Scharr for Tom’s Guide.

More Stores Tracking Your Cell Phone To Offer Deals
How much of your personal information are you willing to give up, to get a deal? It’s a question worth asking as more and more stores tap into technology to track our cell phones. Two new types of cell phone sensors allow stores to track shoppers, and send them offers. Whether that creates a better customer experience, or a security concern, is open for debate. Online shopping is a give-and-take proposition. With every click, whether buying or browsing, we give up information. And most sites use that information to make suggestions, or even send us deals. Now brick-and-mortar stores are trying to do the same thing, by using our cell phones. Story by Jason DeRusha for WCCO.

Metals in Cell Phones May Cause Allergic Reaction
Does your cell phone leave you itching? You may be allergic to the metals in the device! Studies have identified mobile phones and related devices as sources of metal sensitization and potential causes of allergic contact dermatitis (ACD), scientists say. 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.