Weekly Cell Phone News in Review—March 13, 2017

iPhone Performance Less Reliable than Android, Study Reveals
The battle between iPhone and Android-enabled smartphones is age old. A new research study by the Blancco Technology Group now suggests that the Apple iPhone performance is less reliable than Android. The report suggests that the failure rate experienced by iOS users is far greater than Android and surprisingly, it is only increasing with each passing quarter over the last year. The report goes on to indicate how over the last quarter of 2016, iOS devices experienced a failure rate of 62 per cent. At the same time, Android smartphones experienced a failure rate of 47 per cent. “The iPhone 6 has been the worst performing iOS device consecutively for four quarters with the highest failure rate compared to other models,” the report read. “Twenty-five per cent in Q1 2016, 29 per cent in Q2 2016, 13 per cent in Q3 2016 and 15 per cent in Q4 2016,” the report added. The study further found that when it comes to Android, Samsung is recorded a highest failure. Story in the Deccan Chronicle.

Nationwide AT&T Outage Made it Impossible to Call 911
AT&T experienced a nationwide outage on Wednesday night that affected 911 calls, making it impossible for wireless customers to report an emergency, authorities said. Police departments across the country were urging residents to call different numbers for help after the problem was first reported in North Texas at around 9 p.m. Officials in several other states–including Texas, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Colorado, Oregon and Indiana–also told locals to call an alternate number or text authorities in the event of an emergency. “If you need to text 911,” tweeted the Denver Police Department. “very important to text location next. Then who (police, fire, ambulance) you need.” In a statement, AT&T said the outage had been caused by a “service issue”–which was affecting wireless calls to 911, but not other numbers. Story by Chris Perez for the New York Post.

More Women than Men Watch Porn on Their Mobile Phones
New research from Pornhub has shed a light on the ways in which women watch porn. It turns out we’re far more likely than men to watch it on mobile devices – 80 per cent of women visit Pornhub in this way, with 71 per cent of those using smartphones and 9 per cent using tablets. This is compared with the 69 per cent of men who use mobile devices to access the site. Men are 34 per cent more likely to access porn on desktop computers than women, perhaps suggesting they’re far more open about their habit than women are. Women account for around a quarter (26 per cent) of Pornhub’s total visitors. Accessing porn through mobile devices has become more common among both men and women over the past few years: 72 per cent of Pornhub’s worldwide traffic now comes from smartphones and tablets. But women have been consistently more likely to watch porn in this way. Story by Natalie Gil for Evening Standard.

WikiLeaks: CIA Hacked into Mobile Phones and Samsung Smart TVs, Listened to Conversations
As if we weren’t concerned enough about evil-doers hacking our smart-home devices, WikiLeaks revealed today that the CIA has been hacking into consumer iOS, Android and Windows devices, as well as Samsung smart TVs for the past several years. The accusations of CIA hacking were culled from a trove of documents code-named “Vault 7” by WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks points to a group within the CIA, called EDG (Engineering Development Group), that develops CIA malware and hacking tools for the agency. The EDG is responsible for the development, testing and operational support of all backdoors, exploits, malicious payloads, trojans, viruses and any other kind of malware used by the CIA in its covert operations world-wide. While it’s no secret that the CIA routinely hacks networks and devices of citizens and governments, WikiLeaks says these newly revealed breaches are the “most emblematic realization” of George Orwell’s 1984. In particular, the news organization cites malware called “Weeping Angel,” which “infests smart TVs, transforming them into covert microphones.” Story by Julie Jacobson for CE Pro.

Smartphones Outpacing Humans in Literacy
Does it matter to the world if more smartphones than people will be able to read and write within the next 10 years? A new push to promote human literacy believes it does. Project Literacy, begun by Pearson and supported by 95 other organizations, aims to eliminate illiteracy by 2030. As these organizations have explained, raising literacy rates also raises living standards. “Illiterate people are more likely to be poor, lack education, miss out on opportunities to participate fully in society and the workforce,” Project Literacy stated on its website. “Sadly, their choices in life are far too limited.” Currently, 758 million adults around the world and 32 million Americans are illiterate. These are individuals who are unable to read “a road sign, a voting form or a medicine label.” At the same time, technological advances in artificial intelligence and voice recognition will soon enable more than two billion smartphones to read and write. Natural language processing capabilities will “begin to outpace the reading skills of millions of people,” asserted the authors. Story by Dian Schaffhauser for Campus Technology.

UK Sees 250% Rise in NFC Mobile Payments in Stores
The number of mobile transactions as a percentage of all in-store transactions has grown by 247% in the UK over the last year, analysis of transaction data and a consumer survey conducted by payments processor Worldpay has found. Workers paying for lunch on the go and payments for drinks in bars are the main drivers of the increase in transaction volume. “Lunchtime ‘Meal Deal’ hotspots, including supermarkets and grocery stores accounted for 54% of all mobile tap and pay transactions processed by Worldpay in 2016,” the company says. “Pubs, bars and restaurants made up 20% of the total.” The launch of Android Pay in the UK in September 2016 also led to “a notable lift-off in adoption.” Story by Sarah Clark for NFC World.

Samsung to Bring Samsung Pay to Non-Premium Smartphones
Samsung is exploring new ways to get its flagship mobile payments solution in more markets around the world-and its latest attempt involves markets that aren’t covered in premium phones. The South Korean technology company plans to bring support for Samsung Pay on their non-premium smartphones lineup, including its budget J series models in India, according to two sources familiar with the matter.  Until now, Samsung Pay has been positioned as a headline feature on the company’s premium offering: the Galaxy S series of smartphones and the newly introduced Galaxy A lineup. Sources said the company will explore this opportunity starting in India in the coming months and use the learnings to see if it is viable to replicate this in other markets as well. Story by Manesh Singh for Mashable.

Mobile Banking Among Five Top Security Risks
Credit unions and banks are under a considerable amount of pressure to ramp up security with increased mobile banking adoption, a trend that is increasingly threatening the security of IT infrastructures. A study showed security investment is a high priority for financial institutions, regardless of the potential ROI. After suffering from attacks on their own infrastructure and customers, financial organizations are spending three times as much on IT security as comparably sized non-financial institutions. Sixty-four percent of financial institutions admit that they will invest in improving their IT security regardless of the return-on-investment, in order to meet the growing demands of government regulators, top management and even their customers. Despite financial institutions putting serious efforts and budgets into safeguarding their perimeters against known and unknown cyberthreats, protecting the range of IT infrastructure in existence, from traditional to specialized, ATMs and point-of-sale terminals, has proven difficult. Story by Roy Urrico for Credit Union Times.

Becoming Inhuman? How Our Cellphones Are Making Us Dumber
Earlier this week Pope Francis made a provocative challenge to the Church. What if we loved the Bible like we love our mobile phones? We never leave our phones he said, we feel lost without them, we keep them always by our side. What if we gave the word of God the same attention? Knowledge of God’s word he said, was essential to Jesus victory over temptation in the desert. If it was so for the Son of God, should it be any less so for his followers? The problem isn’t just that we don’t spend much time with the Bible, but that what instead preoccupies us – our mobile devices – is actually making us dumber. Our digital distraction is damaging not just to our spirituality, but our humanity. Here are three ways our mobile obsession is making us dumber, and one thing we can do about it. Story by Joseph Hartropp for Christian Today.

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.