Back in December, a U.S. Appeals court gave the thumbs-up to telecommunications companies working with the National Security Agency to monitor phones and email. Phone companies are also apparently totally cool with selling access to your phone activities to other law enforcement agencies willing to fork over pre-set prices.
Your phone is not only a lifeline, entertainment device and communication portal to everyone you know, but it’s also a siphon that sucks money out of you monthly. Phone companies are counting on you falling into complacency with paying for unneeded services.
We’re constantly being asked for advice on how people can get out of cell phone contracts early without being knocked upside the noggin with a brass-knuckled early termination fee.
Most of us who’ve lived in major city for long enough have had those experiences of sitting in the backseat of a cab, irritated and possibly concerned by the driver’s incessant yammering on his/her phone. Wouldn’t it be nice if such distracting chit-chat was illegal?
If you’re the type of audience member who feels the need to make the performance a sideshow to your nonstop texting and social network updating, you might want to make plans to move to the Seattle area by 2014. A theater there that’s slated to open that year will embrace technological obsession rather than discourage it, encouraging customers to text during shows.
According to AT&T, hackers tried to break into some users’ accounts and make off with some private information. The company calls the attack an “organized and systematic attempt,” but more importantly, a failure.
Apple may be the media darling that grabs most of the headlines, but the sprawling monolith that is Android is the phone of the 99 percent. Or at least the 52.5 percent. Android devices garnered the majority of global market share in the third quarter, while the iOS market slipped from 16.6 to 15 percent in that span. Quickly-fading Symbian — the operating system for Nokia phones — plunged to 17 percent from 36.3 percent last year.
There are some hard and fast rules about what is and is not worth insuring. Blackjack hands in which the dealer is showing an ace — no. Cars — yes, as is required by law. Health — only if you don’t want to go bankrupt. It’s a trickier proposition when it comes to smartphones.
AT&T cell phone users in Southern California have an excellent excuse not to return calls received over the weekend, thanks to a nasty outage that eliminated that voice-chatting feature that some people still use. Data and text messages were unaffected. AT&T had its service back online for almost all customers by Sunday evening.
Likely thanks to the proliferation of smartphones and the way they facilitate on-the-fly email and instant messaging — as well as widespread social network use — text messaging is no longer the growth cottage industry it once was. According to researchers, adults sent and received a median average of 10 texts per day this spring, the same figure as last spring. The previous fall, the median average was five per day.
In an effort to discourage cell phone theft and fraud, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York has asked wireless companies to do more than disabling a stolen phone’s SIM card. He wants the whole phone bricked so it can never be used again.
Blendtec’s super-powered blenders have rarely failed at their “Will it blend” challenges, but the Sonim XP3300 Force, a super-tough cell phone that has survived everything from being encased in concrete to being dumped in -25 degree antifreeze, posed a unique challenge.
Google becomes the latest company to try to turn your cell phone into a digital wallet, with today’s announcement of cleverly named Google Wallet. The app is designed to turn any Android-powered phone with compatible data capabilities into a substitute for your credit cards. Right now, that’s limited to just one phone, Google’s own Nexus S 4G.
Today’s lesson: If you’re wanted for any kind of crime — or even if you just want to be a good, considerate citizen — find a way to make sure your phone doesn’t pocket-dial 911. Otherwise, you may end up like James Green of Bangor, ME, who was arrested this weekend on outstanding warrants after his phone courteously called local police and helped them track him down.
It turns out cell phones distract and annoy more than just drivers, moviegoers, golfers and teachers. According to scientists, bees get all kinds of crazy when cell phone signals scramble their senses.
America’s TVs and radios have the Emergency Alert System to notify people of dire local and national situations. Soon, your cell phone will act as a portable alarm for danger, too.
Even though you’ve been able to port cell phone numbers from one carrier to another for several years, many mobile phone customers find themselves having to buy new phones whenever they switch providers. Not surprisingly, a new survey by our benevolent benefactors at Consumers Union shows that an overwhelming majority of Americans not only want to be able to take any device to any carrier, but they also support legislation that would require it.