Weekly Cell Phone News in Review–September 8, 2015

Cell Phone Usage Linked to Boredom, Study Says
Researchers from Telefonica, in Spain, and Germany’s University of Stuttgart made 54 volunteers log how frequently they used their phone in combination with individual boredom levels over a span of two weeks. The evidence proved that there is a direct connection between boredom and phone usage–the more bored you are, the more time you spend engaging apps, texting and calling people on your phone. Using that information, researchers pushed Buzzfeed articles to phones of the volunteers when the algorithm predicted user boredom. Participants opened the push notifications 20% of the time and in 15% of instances read the article for at least 30 seconds. Contrarily, when researchers sent articles to users the algorithm did not think were bored, articles were only clicked 8% of the time with a reading rate of 30 seconds or more at 4%. Story by Nicholas Parco for The New York Daily News.

Justice Department Tightens Cellphone Tracking Rules
U.S. prosecutors and some federal law enforcement agencies will need to obtain a search warrant to use devices that track cellphone locations, under a policy announced by the U.S. Justice Department on Thursday. Until now, U.S. attorneys and Justice Department agencies, including the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration, have been able to use cell-site simulators without applying for a warrant or outlining a probable cause. Story by Julia Edwards by Reuters.

T-Mobile Rolling Out Video Calling to Samsung Phones
T-Mobile wants to change how Americans make phone calls with a new video-calling feature. The service is initially available on a handful of Samsung devices, and lets users place and receive video calls with one click. Software updates to Samsung’s Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Galaxy Note 5 include T-Mobile Video Calling; the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge will upgrade next week. T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray promised the program on “three more of our video calling-enabled devices” by the end of the year, bringing the total to seven. Story by Stephanie Mlot for PC Mag.

Are Cell Phones Making College Students Unhealthy, Unwealthy and Unwise?
The researchers found that the students averaged just over 300 minutes of cell phone use per day. In other words, the students spent about five hours a day on their cell phone, with more than 88 percent using their cell phone primarily for leisure. And high-frequency cell phone users tended to be less physically fit than low-frequency users. It appears that high-frequency cell phone users are more likely to forgo being physically active in order to use their cell phones for more sedentary activities such as using Facebook, Twitter, video games and surfing the Internet. While cell phones provide many of the same temptations as television and Internet-connected computers, the main difference is that cell phones fit in our pockets and purses and are with us wherever we go. They provide an ever-present invitation to sit and play. Story by Heather Hausenblas for U.S. News.

Computer, Cell Phone Use May Improve Seniors’ Mental Age by 4 to 8 Years
Today’s seniors have better cognitive function than seniors did 10 years ago, and cell phone and computer use could be a factor, according to a new study. Researchers tested cognitive function in English and German seniors over age 50 in two groups, one in 2006 and one in 2012. Those tested in 2012 had better cognitive function, verbal fluency and memory. Seniors tested in 2012 were performing as well as those four to eight years younger who were tested in 2006, researchers found. While this could be a result of improved education, healthcare and nutrition, researchers believe the tech boom of the early 2000s could be a driver. Story by Emily Mongan for McKnight’s.

Dads More Likely To Give Young Children Cell Phones
Fathers are more likely to give their children a wireless phone in elementary school, while mothers are more likely to give it to them in middle school, according to the latest release from a Sprint survey. The survey turned up a few other interesting data points. More than two-thirds of us (64%) say we still prefer to buy our phones in a bricks-and-mortar store. Thirty percent of people say it’s still too hard to switch carriers, with almost half (43%) of all respondents listing a contract as the main reason they don’t switch. Story by Heather Newman for Forbes.

U.S. Trade Deficit Falls 7.4% in July as Imports of Cell Phones, Drugs Tumble
The U.S. trade deficit fell 7.4% in July, mainly because of lower imports such as cell phones and pharmaceutical products. U.S. imports dropped 1.1% to $230.4 billion. Imports of cell phone and other electronics fell sharply, but it’s a volatile category prone to large shifts depending on when popular new phones are released. Story by Jeffry Bartash for MarketWatch.

This Startup’s Fast Charging Battery Software Could Land on Cell Phones Next Year
A handful of high end smart phones like Samsung’s Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 are starting to offer the ability to quickly charge a cell phone with hours of talk time in just a few minutes. But a startup called Qnovo says it has a better way to rapidly charge mobile devices, and that its technology could be included on cell phones for the first time next year. The five-year-old Qnovo said that it’s raised another $8.6 million in funding. To date the company has raised a little over $23 million. Qnovo plans to use the funding to get its charging software onto its first commercial cell phones next year, and also expand its software onto laptops and wearable devices. Story by Katie Fehrenbacher for Fortune.

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.