Weekly Cell Phone News in Review–October 26, 2015

Microsoft Is Making More Money From Sales Of Feature Phones Than Smartphones
Microsoft’s most recent set of results show that it is making more money from feature phones than smartphones.Microsoft, which is attempting to break the iOS-Android duopoly in the smartphone market, made more money in the three months to the end of September by selling phones with tiny screens and physical numberpads than it did from selling cutting-edge smartphones like its Lumia line. Figures shared with International Business Times by research company IDC show that Microsoft’s Lumia range of smartphones brought in $754 million in the third quarter of 2015, while its feature phone business, a legacy of its disastrous purchase of Nokia in 2014, brought in $765 million. Indeed, the company’s feature phone sales jumped significantly from just over $600 million in the previous quarter. Story by David Gilbert for International Business Times.

Feds Detail How They Secretly Track Americans’ Cell Phones
Federal law enforcement officials, in testimony on Capitol Hill Wednesday, gave some long-awaited answers about how they use secret devices to track Americans’ cell phones. Until now, the FBI and several other law enforcement agencies have kept a tight grip on any information about the use of “Stingray” machines. Police nationwide have been using Stingray devices for years. It mimics an actual company cell phone tower and tricks your phone into connecting with it. There have been serious concerns about whether police are listening to phone calls, collecting text messages and tracking Americans’ locations without warrants. Two officials from the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security told Congress that the devices are programmed to track cell phone locations–but not gather calls or messages. Story by CNN.

Hands-Free Cellphones Make Driving More Dangerous, Not Less
Talking on a mobile phone distracts your brain from whatever else you’re doing. Driving? Walking down the street? Doesn’t matter. Your attention is on the conversation, not on the task at hand. What your hand is doing is irrelevant. The conversation distracts your brain. In simulation studies, David Strayer and colleagues at the University of Utah found that drivers talking on cellphones got into more accidents, ran more red lights and stop signs, braked later, and generally made more mistakes, no matter whether they were holding the phone or using a hands-free device. In fact, research by Strayer suggests some hands-free technologies may distract us more than holding the phone. Story by David Ropeik for the Boston Globe.

BlackBerry Returns with New Android-Powered Priv
BlackBerry is back, just in a new way. The Canadian company on Friday announced and made its new Priv smartphone available for pre-orders. Unlike earlier BlackBerry devices, the $699 Priv runs on Google’s Android software, 5.1.1 Lollipop, as opposed to BlackBerry’s own BlackBerry 10 platform which has failed to gain significant market share since its launch in 2013. According to the pre-order page, the phone will start shipping on November 6. At its pre-order price of $699 without a contract–$50 more than an unlocked iPhone 6S and Samsung Galaxy S6–BlackBerry appears to be targeting core business customers. Story by Eli Blumenthal for USA Today.

Users Want More Security Before They Switch to Mobile Payments
Awareness and knowledge about mobile payments are increasing rapidly but usage is relatively stagnant. Accenture surveyed 4,000 smartphone users in the United States and Canada, and found knowledge about mobile payments jumped to 52%, a substantial increase from 42% a year ago. But only 18% of consumers in North America are using mobile payments, only a 1% increase from the previous year. Millennials and high-income consumers are adopting mobile payments more quickly than other groups. 38% of those who make at least $150,000 a year are using mobile payments each week. 23% of Millennials, people between the ages of 18 and 34, are using this payment type at least once a week. For other age groups, the rate is only 18%. Story by Lynn Oldshue for LowCards.com.

Android Pay to Eventually Overtake Apple Pay?
A report by Digitimes says that Android’s 75% global market share will eventually make shops and banks more interested in offering Android Pay than Apple Pay. Apple’s global share is 20%. In addition, Apple Pay is found only on the newer iPhone models and Apple Watch. Any Android phone with NFC enabled will work with Android Pay after a simple software update. Lastly, Google has said that it won’t take a fee from the use of Android Pay, while Apple collects a percentage of each transaction that uses Apple Pay. That difference alone could lead many retailers to join Android’s camp instead of going with Apple. Story by Alan F. for Phone Arena.

Big Data, Cloud, Mobile, Security Drive ROI, Dell Survey Finds
Companies that invest in big data are growing at a 50% faster rate than their competitors, but concerns remain over the cost and ROI. That’s according to Dell’s second annual Global Technology Adoption Index, a survey of 2,900 employees of mid-market organizations, which also looked at three other strategic investment areas for these companies–cloud, mobility, and security. Overall, the survey found that companies that invested in these technologies saw significantly faster revenue growth rates than companies not making those investments. Story by Jessica Davis for Information Week.

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.