Weekly Cell Phone News in Review–May 5, 2014

cell phone update

More People Now Own Smartphones than Cell Phones
For the first time, more people own smartphones than basic cell phones, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. Nearly two-thirds, 64 percent, of U.S. households own smartphones. That compares to 51 percent household ownership of cell phones. The survey showed strong demand for mobile products last year and so far this year. Story by Lorraine Mirabella for the Baltimore Sun.

Sprint Unveils HD Voice for Cell Phones
For all the amazing things smartphones can do, they’re still not great at actual phone calls. Sprint’s hoping to change that. The wireless carrier is rolling out new “HD Voice” technology to improve the quality of grainy cell-phone calls. It’s already available in a handful of cities, and should go nationwide by “mid-year.” Story by James O’Toole for CNN Money.

Supreme Court to Consider Cell Phone Searches without Police Warrants
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard arguments in two cases that would allow law enforcement officers to search a suspect’s cell phone without a warrant during a lawful arrest. The defendants in these cases feel that smartphones are small computers that contain a tremendous amount of personal information. Lawyers feel this is an invasion of privacy and a violation of the Fourth Amendment, which protects against “unreasonable searches and seizures”. The rulings are expected in June. Story by John Oldshue for SaveOnPhone.com.

With Kids In Car, Parents Still Likely to Use Cellphones
Parents driving with their children in the car are just as likely to use cellphones as other drivers, a new study finds. Researchers interviewed 570 parents of children aged 1 to 12 who were treated at two hospital emergency rooms in Michigan. About 90 percent of parent drivers admitted to distracted driving. Two-thirds of the parents said they had used cellphones while driving with their child, and 15 percent said they had texted while driving with their child. Story by Robert Preidt for U.S. News.

New Technology to Use Body Heat to Power Cellphones
Scientists have devised new technology which generates electricity from body heat, allowing you to charge electronic devices on the go. The small and flexible generator, made from glass and fabric, can be used to power up heart monitors, smart glasses and other wearable tech. The device uses the the small but significant temperature difference between skin and air to create power. Story in The Times of India.

5 Reasons to Keep a Home Phone
About two out of five American households have disconnected their home phones and rely solely on cell service to stay in touch with the world. If you’re thinking of joining the mobile-only movement, though, you might want to reconsider: Here are five reasons to stick with a home phone, whether it’s a landline (traditional copper-wire connection) or VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) service from your cable company. Story by Eileen McCooey for Consumer Reports.

FCC: Florida Man Used Cellphone Jammer
Federal authorities say Jason Humphreys was operating a cellular jamming device during his daily commute in Florida. Humphreys told investigators he was using the jammer to keep people from talking on a cellphone while driving. The Federal Communications Commission was not amused. The agency is proposing a fine of $48,000 against Humphreys. Federal law prohibits the importing, marketing, sale, possession or use of such wireless signal jamming devices, in part because of the public safety issue of people needing to make 911 calls. Unlike radar detectors that are strictly passive, these jammers can proactively block cellphones, Wi-Fi, GPS, aircraft communications and even two-way radios used by law enforcement and emergency personnel. Though illegal in almost every case, such jammers are gaining popularity, federal authorities said, and federal agents often pursue people looking to sell them on Craigslist. Story by Richard Mullins for the Tampa Bay Tribune.

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.