Should There Be Stronger Laws On Texting While Driving?

There’s a serious problem in this country, and it’s called texting while driving. Although drivers are banned from using cellphones, many people still do it. Drive down the road in your car and it’s likely you’ll see every other driver texting. It may be while their car is moving, or it could be at a set of traffic lights. Either way, it technically shouldn’t be allowed, and they should get into trouble for it.

So, why do people continue to text and drive? Has our culture become so dependent on smartphones that we can’t go a car journey without using ours? To be honest, I think this is a big reason behind the rise in people texting and driving. Plus, smartphones are more affordable, so everyone has one. This means there’s always someone to message, someone to talk to. In the past, cell phones were a luxury that few people could afford. So, there was no need to use them all the time because you wouldn’t be texting anyone. But, now everyone can buy one and all of your friends will have one, so there’re plenty of people to text while you drive.

(Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/e6Ng2C)

(Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/e6Ng2C)

However, I also think that the law isn’t enforced harshly enough on those that text and drive. If the laws were stronger, fewer people would do it. As it stands, yes, cell phone use is banned while driving. But, there aren’t many consequences, should you get spotted doing it. Most of the time, the police officer will give you a slap on the wrist and tell you not to do it again. This is where I get annoyed because texting while driving is far more serious than people think. Car accidents are often caused by people that are texting, so don’t pay attention to the road. People have died because of a careless driver that didn’t look up from their phone. Obviously, if you cause an accident by texting, you’re going to face the consequences. But even if you don’t cause any harm, it should still be punished for recklessness. Think about it, driving under the influence goes punished even if you don’t hurt anyone. If you visit www.brianzeiger.com, you’ll see DUIs often result in licence suspension. This means you can’t drive for a period. The same consequences should be there for people that text and drive. If you’re caught texting and driving, you run the risk of being suspended or having points on your license. People will be more likely to obey the rules if the consequences are this harsh.

You may not think that this is a big issue, but it is. Have a look on https://www.edgarsnyder.com and you’ll find some shocking statistics. Over one million car crashes are caused by cellphone use every year. One in four car accidents is caused by this! In my eyes, these numbers are so high because people aren’t punished for using their phones. Get stronger laws in place and fewer people will text and drive. As a result, you’ll see fewer car crashes and fewer people getting hurt. It’s simple; you just need to have police officers that will enforce the law properly.


Smartphone Sales Have Overtaken Feature Phone Sales for First Time

Worldwide smartphone sales to end users reached 225 million units, up 46.5 percent from the second quarter of 2012. Sales of feature phones to end users totaled 210 million units and declined 21 percent year-over-year.

“Smartphones accounted for 51.8 percent of mobile phone sales in the second quarter of 2013, resulting in smartphone sales surpassing feature phone sales for the first time,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner. Asia/Pacific, Latin America and Eastern Europe exhibited the highest smartphone growth rates of 74.1 percent, 55.7 percent and 31.6 percent respectively, as smartphone sales grew in all regions.

Samsung maintained the No. 1 position in the global smartphone market, as its share of smartphone sales reached 31.7 percent, up from 29.7 percent in the second quarter of 2012. Apple’s smartphone sales reached 32 million units in the second quarter of 2013, up 10.2 percent from a year ago.

Whether many of the phones shipped could be truly classified as smartphones is debatable.

Via cellular-news.


How Do Users Really Hold Mobile Devices?

Thumb UI

The users who we observed touching their phone’s screens or buttons held their phones in three basic ways: one handed – 49%, cradled – 36%, two handed – 15%. In the following sections, I’ll describe and show a diagram of each of these methods of holding a mobile phone, along with providing some more detailed data and general observations about why I believe people hold a mobile phone in a particular way.

Read more. Via Small Surfaces


138.5 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones (58 percent mobile market penetration) during the three months ending in April, up 7 percent since January. Apple ranked as the top OEM with 39.2 percent of U.S. smartphone subscribers (up 1.4 percentage points from January). Samsung ranked second with 22 percent market share (up 0.6 percentage points), followed by HTC with 8.9 percent, Motorola with 8.3 percent and LG with 6.7 percent.
comScore


Judge: Cell phone users ‘have no legitimate expectation of privacy’

Cellphone privacy

An American federal judge recently ruled that if someone has their cell phone turned on, their location data does not deserve protection under the Fourth Amendment, meaning law enforcement can track individuals without a search warrant. RT.com reports:

“Given the ubiquity and celebrity of geolocation technologies, an individual has no legitimate expectation of privacy in the prospective of a cellular telephone where that individual has failed to protect his privacy by taking the simple expedient of powering it off,” Brown wrote.

“As to control by the user, all of the known tracking technologies may be defeated by merely turning off the phone. Indeed – excluding apathy or inattention – the only reason that users leave cell phones turned on is so that the device can be located to receive calls. Conversely, individuals who do not want to be disturbed by unwanted telephone calls at a particular time or place simply turn their phones off, knowing that they cannot be located.”

He goes on to suggest that because there are smartphone applications available that allow users to locate people in their area with similar interests, cell phone customers should not expect their inherent right to privacy to be observed.

More here.


A ‘novel’ idea for spreading literature in Africa: The cellphone

Reading using cellphone

A man wearing yellow shoes checks his phone in Kibera, Africa’s largest slum, in Nairobi, Kenya, in March. Cellphones are ‘a huge component of how consumption is happening here,’ Angela Wachuka, executive director of Kenya’s Kwani Trust says. Photo: Jerome Delay/AP

New technology and new thinking are helping African literature leapfrog the high costs of traditional publishing and reach new readers across the continent. Csmonitor.com reports:

As e-readers boom in popularity in the West, African publishers are stretching their reach with the help of a device millions already have in their pockets: their cellphones.

“You can give people instant access to work now,” says Angela Wachuka, executive director of Kenya’s Kwani Trust, which publishes the popular Kwani? literary journal. “Before, you had to rely on delivery or people coming to find you.”

Mobile internet now accounts for well over half of all web traffic in some African countries, and it is expected to grow 25-fold on the continent in the next four years, according to the Groupe Speciale Mobile Association, an industry organization.

Cellphones are “a huge component of how consumption is happening here,” Ms. Wachuka says, noting that she’s seen Kenyans devour hundreds of pages of text on their tiny screens, plowing through tell-all memoirs and other accounts of the country’s recent political turmoil.

For now anyway, much of that literature is pirated, but Kwani is taking the approach that if the e-literate get a taste for free, at least some will pay for more.


At the end of 2012, 2bn adults had yet to buy a mobile connection of any kind, and another 1.6bn were on prepay and not eligible to get subsidies. It doesn’t matter how many operators Apple or Samsung puts on distribution: those people are not going to buy a $600 phone.

However, that leaves about 1.6bn who might. Benedict Evans


Apple is leading the smartphone market in the U.S

Market research firm comScore recently released a new study that shows Apple is leading the smartphone market in the U.S. The study focused on a three month average ending March 2013.

According to comScore, 136.7 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones during the three months ending in March, up 9 percent since December. Apple ranked as the top OEM with 39 percent of U.S. smartphone subscribers (up 2.7 percentage points from December). Samsung ranked second with 21.7 percent market share, followed by HTC with 9 percent, Motorola with 8.5 percent and LG with 6.8 percent.

While Google’s Android ranked as the top smartphone platform with 52% of the share, Android’s share dropped 1.4% during this study period. Apple’s iOS rose 2.7% from 36.3% to 39% during the same period.


Mobile phones are booming in North Korea

North Korea’s only mobile operator, Koryolink, is about to hit 2 million subscribers, its CEO Ezzeldin Heikal recently told diplomats and NGO workers in Pyongyang. Koryolink launched services in North Korea in 2008 and took more than three years to sign up its millionth subscriber. It doubled that number in just 14 months. From Quartz:

North Koreans can’t do much with their phones: international calls are banned, internet access is limited to “a walled garden of scrubbed content taken from the real Internet”, and calls and texts are monitored by authorities.

Just who are these 2 million subscribers? The service is available in Pyongyang and another 115 cities, covering 14% of North Korea’s territory and 90% of its 24.4 million people. But in a country with average incomes of between $80 and $170 a month, only a fraction of North Koreans can afford it.


Smartphone Condoms

Smartskin Condoms for Smartphones

Smartskin Condoms for Smartphones

Smartskin Condoms for Smartphones are soft and stretchy plastic skins that cover your device to protect it, while still retaining full touchscreen capability and 98% camera clarity. The skins slip on and stretch to fit, and sealing tabs are provided to stick over the remaining area.

Useful for last minute protection from rain and sand. This looks nicer than my current sandwich bag solution.

Available for a range of popular smartphones from Firebox.


Whatsapp dedicated button built into Nokia Asha phone

It may be fun to automatically dismiss devices like this but I find these to be an attractive option. They look smart too (I’m heavily invested in iOS but a part of me wants to see Nokia succeed). From the BBC:

The feature triggers the cross-platform messaging app which offers a free alternative to SMS texts.
HTC and Nokia have previously released handsets with Facebook-devoted buttons, but this marks a first for WhatsApp.

Analysts suggested the move would make WhatsApp the text app of choice on the handsets, but suggested it would have limited impact on the wider mobile phone market.


Mobile becoming the primary way to access Internet

Photo by Robert Scobile

Photo by Robert Scoble

Although consumers are increasingly using their mobile devices as a primary outlet to the Internet, there are substantial global challenges to market on smaller-sized screens, according to a new study from the Boston Consulting Group.

The “Through the Mobile Looking Glass: The Transformative Potential of Mobile Technologies” report breaks down mobile development into three models. The report also highlights how consumers are leading the charge with the shift to mobile-first strategies.

“The main message for marketers is that clearly the mobile devices are becoming the primary way for accessing the Internet for many consumers around the world,” said David Dean at Boston Consulting Group, Boston.

[…]

Four out of five broadband connections will be mobile this year, showing how the Internet is increasingly becoming dominated by smartphones and tablets.

[…]

The Boston Consulting Group report breaks down mobile into three models that are being integrated into the global economy – collaborative, competitive and greenfield.

Each of these models can be viewed as a stack, or a set of software and hardware that drives a smartphone or other device.

Consumers who create, consume and share content through a variety of services and applications are at the top layer of a stack.

Underneath consumers are the layers that enable the consumer to interact with their mobile device – including carriers, service providers and networks.

“I think mobile is going to become the primary source of interaction for many consumers throughout the world,” he said.

“Many talk about mobile-first in their plans, which is essentially are saying about their devices.”

More on Mobile Marketer


Samsung Galaxy S4 Reviews

A couple of reviews of the Samsung Galaxy S4 show some problems in both build quality and ease of use. If you are buying your first smartphone or considering a new Android device you might want to look elsewhere.

From the Verge’s review of the Samsung Galaxy S4:

I don’t like holding this phone, and I can’t overstate how much that informs the experience of using it. It makes an awful first impression, slippery and slimy and simply unpleasant in your hand. My white review unit is completely smooth and glossy, with a subtle checkered pattern that looks textured but is neither grippy nor textured anywhere on its body. Even the silver band around the sides, which is obviously supposed to look like metal, is plastic. Everyone I showed the GS4 to frowned and wrinkled their nose as if it smelled bad, before rubbing their fingers on the back of the phone and then handing it back to me — that’s the opposite of the standard reaction to HTC’s One, which everyone wants to ogle and hold.

Sounds horrible.

From Joanna Stern:

Many people will find the phone’s sheer number of features to be overwhelming and hard to find. For instance, I really like the multitasking feature that lets you stack apps one on top of another — i.e. e-mail on the top of the screen and a browser on the bottom — but it isn’t obvious how you actually can set that up. For real smartphone beginners, Samsung has added an Easy Mode, which simplifies the entire phone, with a stripped-down homescreen and settings menu.

If you need a special version of your mobile software to allow ‘normal’ people to effectively use it, your product has problems. Mobile devices by there very nature require easy to use interfaces.

Via DF.