As far as we know, you can't make a career out of taking pictures with your cell phone, but you can take a college course teaching you how not to take crappy photos with one. All you have to do is attend Immaculata University in Philadelphia where communications professor Sean Flannery has made it his goal to teach students how to take the best pictures possible with their mobile phones.
T-Mobile suffered through another tough quarter. The wireless carrier said it lost 318,000 contract customers in Q4, after having already lost 60,000 in Q3 and 117,000 in Q4 of 2009. T-Mobile also reports net customer losses of 23,000 in Q4 of 2010, compared to net additions of 137,000 in Q3.
A new study reveals that Internet usage among mobile phone owners isn't a daily task for the vast majority of users. As outlined in Antenna Software's 2011 Mobile Internet Attitudes Report, only one in five American mobile phone owners fire off emails, surf the Web, or perform other Internet-related activities on a daily basis, even though their phones are technically capable of doing so. What gives?
In a survey commissioned by Norton, it was discovered that over a third of all Americans (36 percent) either lose their cell phone or end up having it stolen. Broken down by city, that number jumps to 52 percent in Miami, which ranks No. 1 on the list of top 20 U.S. cities for cell phone loss or theft. Last on the top 20 list is Minneapolis at 29 percent, while San Francisco, home to Silicon Valley, took the No. 13th spot at 35 percent. So what does it all mean?
As Nokia struggles to remain relevant in a competitive mobile handset market, one thing that isn't helping is the prominence of counterfeit cell phones. According to Nokia, as many as one out of every five, or 20 percent, of all cell phones around the world are unlicensed knockoffs, Reuters reports.
"It is mostly China-originated, but it is global. It is not only in Asia, but also in Latin America and even in some parts of Europe," said Esko Aho, a member of Nokia's executive board."
Nokia isn't the only company to complain about forgery in foreign markets. As The Inq points out, Microsoft's Steve Ballmer last year complained about the impact of counterfeit software originating from China. As it pertains to cell phones, the Chinese government has been stepping up its efforts to curtail the problem.
"Recent developments indicate [Beijing] is beginning to take seriously the long-festering problem of smuggled handsets and counterfeit handsets, a thorny issue that not only undercuts the tax revenue but also tarnishes China's image abroad," market research firm iSuppli told TGDaily back in July 2010.
A nonprofit organization called the Environmental Health Trust (EHT) is lobbying the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to "stop flip-flopping and acknowledge and publicize the risks of cell phone radiation." What the EHT ultimately wants is for the FCC to force cell phone makers to slap a warning label on their devices.
"In terms of awareness of microwave radiation risks from cell phones, the U.S. is far behind other countries, including Switzerland, Israel, France, and Germany," says EHT founder Devra Lee Davis, PhD, MPH. "These nations require cell phone makers to publicize radiation rates directly on phones sold to their citizens, provide special labeling for low radiation phones, and restrict their use by children, who are more vulnerable to radiation."
Cell phone radiation continues to be a controversial topic that pops up from time to time. Back in the summer of 2010, CITA, a group representing mobile phone operators, sought to block an ordinance that requires retailers to post information about the Specific Absorption Rate for phones they sell. Prior to that, The Environment Working Group released a chart showing which mobile phones emit the most radiation.
Jerry Brown, California's newly elected governor, issued a "massive cell phone cutback for state employees" in which 48,000 government paid cell phones are to be collected and turned in.
"It is difficult for me to believe that 40 percent of all state employees must be equipped with taxpayer-funded cell phones," the Governor said. "Some state employees, including department and agency executives who are required to be in touch 24 hours a day and seven days a week, may need cell phones, but the current number of phones out there is astounding."
Brown's goal is to cut the number of cell phones in half by June 1, though he wants to be careful and avoid early termination penalties that might offset the monthly savings.
"Because of contract obligations, it is possible that we may not be able to eliminate all 48,000 cell phones by June 1, but it is also conceivable that we can do it earlier -- and this is my hope," Brown said.
Brown estimates that the cell phone cutback will save at least $20 million a year.
According to security firm BitDefender, malware aimed at social networks like Facebook pose the biggest threat for mobile platforms and is as widely spread as malware that targets PCs.
"When data security researchers focus on finding malware specifically designed for mobile platforms, they lose sight of an important mobile platform threat source -- the social network," said George Petre, BitDefender Threat Intelligence Team Leader. "Statistics indicate that malware targeting social networks may be the biggest current threat for mobile devices, and BitDefender can help users stay safe against these types of threats."
Sure it's a self-serving study, but there's still a lesson here. Citing goo.gl statistics, BitDefender points out that one of the URLs used for a recent massive Facebook scam duped a large number of users. One of the URLs making the rounds promised to show users a girl's Facebook status that supposedly got her expelled from school. The simple scam generated 28,672 clicks, and nearly a quarter of those came from mobile platforms.
"Users who clicked on the link -- whether on PC or mobile device -- downloaded a Facebook worm and fell victim to an adword-based money grabbing scheme," BitDefender says.
We've seen it in the movies time and again -- a dude gets shot and you think he's dead, but luckily for him, he was toting a flask/mini bible/cell phone, or some other object in his shirt pocket to protect his chest from the bullet.
That's Hollywood being Hollywood, but for John Garber, a valet for National Park in Atlanta, Georgia, there's nothing fictitious about such a scenario. According to Atlanta's local ABC news affiliate, Garber was hit with a bullet when a shooting broke out at a night club. Lucky for him, the bullet harmlessly knocked into his HTC cell phone, and not his chest.
"Rarely do we hear the shots when they're fired; we're usually called to a scene," said Sgt. Robert Altertini, who was patrolling the streets near the night club. "There were people running around. I radioed in that there were shots fired...it usually doesn't end this way, he's very luck in fact."
Two men opened fire after being kicked out of the night club. Garber says he wasn't the target of the shooting, but hit with a stray bullet.
Butt dialing. We've all done it. It's where you sit on your mobile phone or lean just right so that you accidentally dial someone's number, and hopefully you're not talking trash about the person on the other end of the line when you inadvertently (and unknowingly) dial them up.
There was no gossip taking place when an Illinois man phoned his wife with his backside, but whatever she heard, it spooked her into calling the police," the Chicago Tribune reports.
"You know how when you sit on your phone when it's in your back pocket and it calls the last number that was dialed? His wife was the last number he'd dialed," said Winnetka police Chief Joseph De Lopez. "The conversation led her to believe there was someone holding him hostage."
As the story goes, he was listening to music that had "gangster-like" lyrics. The panicked wife then called the police, who ended up sending a SWAT team -- automatic weapons and bulletproof vests and all -- to the school the husband was supposed to be at.
"He's embarrassed," the superintendent said. "Who wouldn't be? He's taking it hard that it created such a response."