Weekly Cell Phone News in Review–March 23, 2015

Nintendo to Bring Its Games to Smartphones, Tablets
After years of scoffing at the idea of putting its games on mobile devices, Nintendo now sees smartphones and tablets as a new market waiting to be monetized and developed. Nintendo is joining up with a Japanese mobile gaming company to finally begin bringing some of its popular video gaming characters to smartphones and tablet computers in an attempt to reignite its sagging business and global sales. Nintendo has resisted bringing its games to small mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets so as not to dilute its gaming console business, but that’s changing now as the company refocuses to seek new ways of retaining and bringing in new customers for its video game titles. Story by Todd R. Weiss for eWeek.

HTC Backs Flagship Smartphones With New ‘No Restrictions’ 1-Year Warranty
If you destroy your new HTC One, you can get a replacement overnight, “hassle free,” HTC America announced Wednesday. Uh Oh Protection, the name given to this alternative approach to the cellphone warranty, will cover upcoming buyers of the new HTC One M9 and last year’s One M8, no matter what they do to destroy their phones. People can even use the warranty to get a new phone if they switch carriers. Story by Nathan Olivarez-Giles for The Wall Street Journal.

The Secret Cell Phone Plans That Save You Money
The big four carriers—AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon—have a big secret . They have discounted brands where consumers can save 60-75% off  your monthly cell phone bill. The AT&T discount service is called Cricket Wireless. If you like Verizon, look for Total Wireless. Sprint’s lower priced brand is Boost Mobile, and T-Mobile operates under GoSmartMobile. They all use the exact same towers as their parent companies, and none of them have long term contacts that must be signed. Story by John Oldshue for SaveOnPhone.com.

Fujitsu Adds Liquid Cooling to Smartphones
Engineers at Fujitsu have come up with a way of dissipating heat from mobile devices five times faster than current methods–by using liquid cooling. Many manufacturers wrestle with the problems of getting rid of heat from increasingly powerful chips in phones and tablets. Unless that heat is removed, dangerous hotspots can form when devices are in use, causing internal damage. One common solution is to make large parts of devices out of substances with high heat conductivity such as metal or graphite, which spread the energy over a wider area. But Fujitsu thinks it has a better idea. Story by Duncan Geere for Wired.

Facebook Moves Into Mobile Payments With New Messenger App Feature
Facebook is not just a social networking website or application, but also facilitates online payments to apps and other services. However, users were not able to send money to, or receive money from each other—until now. Facebook has announced a payment service linked to its Messenger app. In order to facilitate payments, the 500+ million users of the Facebook Messenger application can now directly transfer money from within the application itself with ease. The benefit of such a feature is that direct transactions will require users to jump through less hoops than those required when transferring money via traditional financial services. Since Facebook plans to help facilitate the payments facility to known recipients, and since majority of the Facebook users have most of their friends and acquaintances added already, this can end up being an extremely helpful feature. Story by Martin Blanc for Bidness Etc.

Apple Stores To Accept Android-Powered Smartphones In New Trade-In Program
Apple is taking new steps in its battle against Android—aggressive steps. Reportedly, Apple retail stores will begin a new trade-in promotion that will accept non-Apple smartphones. Customers who turn in their current Android-powered device will receive a gift card that can be used toward the purchase of a new iPhone. Previously, you were only able to trade in Apple’s own products as Apple Stores did not accept hardware from Samsung, Motorola, LG and other manufacturers. Story by Timothy Torres for Tech Times.

The 30 Year-Old Nigerian Mobile Phone Entrepreneur Challenging Apple In Africa
Michael Akindele, a 30 year-old Nigerian, is a director and a co-founder of SOLO Phone, an experience-driven digital content and smartphone company focused on delivering the best content and services on the mobile platform to African consumers. SOLO Phone, which was established in Nigeria in 2012, is an experience-driven mobile device manufacturer which aims to provide the best content and services to the African consumer at an affordable price. The company manufactures smartphones priced at $150, bundled with free music of up to 20 million songs licensed from Sony, Universal and Warner. SOLO also recently launched a Video-On-Demand App available to all Android devices in Nigeria which offers the latest Nollywood and Hollywood movies from global movie studios. Story by Mfonobong Nsehe for Forbes.

Apple’s iPhone Success Rocked the Korean Smartphone Industry into Pure Hysteria
In a January report, Counterpoint’s Research Director based in Korea, Tom Kang commented on Apple’s performance in Korea in this way: “No foreign brand has gone beyond the 20% market share mark in the history of Korea’s smartphone industry. It has always been dominated by the global smartphone leader, Samsung – but the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have made a difference here, denting the competition’s phablet sales.” The chart below illustrates how Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6-Plus smashed through the old Korean record of 20% market share by a foreign company by a wide margin. Samsung is still seething over what happened last year. They have whipped up anger throughout the Korean handset business to pressure the government into changing their new laws to ensure that Apple is never able to duplicate their success in Korea ever again. Story in Patently Apple.

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.