A study from the American Automobile Association (AAA) has found that using hands-free texting features is actually more dangerous for drivers than making handheld phone calls. The group notes that even while texting through systems such as Ford Sync and Toyota Entune, drivers were found to be more distracted than while listening to music, talking with a passenger and making a phone call. Drivers who used hands-free technology were found to have a slower reaction time and compromised brain functions, which could potentially result in drivers not seeing items right in front of them such as stop signs and pedestrians. As cars become smarter and more connected, the AAA is calling for the government to set limitations on “new and potentially dangerous mental distractions built into cars.” More →
The statewide ban on texting while driving wasn’t enough for one New Jersey town, according to The Huffington Post. After 74 crashes involving pedestrians in 2011, three of which were fatal, Fort Lee, New Jersey passed a new law earlier this year that fines walkers $85 who do not stop prior to texting. “It’s a big distraction,” Fort Lee Police Chief Thomas Ripoli said. “Pedestrians aren’t watching where they are going and they are not aware.” Since the law has been in place, Fort Lee police have issued more than 117 tickets. New York State Senator Carl Kruger has attempted to bring a similar ban to New York, which would also prohibit talking on the phone or using iPods while walking or running, however Kruger has been unsuccessful thus far.
UPDATE: According to MSNBC, there is no ban on texting while walking in Fort Lee, although there is a $54 jaywalking ticket, of which more than 117 tickets have been issued. More →
U.S. Transportation secretary Ray LaHood said he will not issue a nationwide ban on using cell phones and hand-free devices while driving, as proposed recently by the National Transportation Safety Board. LaHood believes that hands-free calling is not a problem in the United States, and his stance certainly supports the auto and mobile industries. Ford, for example, equips several of its car models with Ford Sync hands-free technology. A ban on hands-free devices would likely prevent the company from selling that product. Hands-free phone calls are “not the big problem in America,” LaHood argued. “If other people want to work on hands-free, so be it.” LaHood has admitted that talking on the phone while driving is a distraction and he toyed with a nationwide ban, but never followed through with it. Individual states, however, have the power to issue statewide bans and there are currently nine states, in addition to Washington, D.C., with bans in effect. Thirty-five states currently ban texting while driving, too. The U.S. Department of Transportation is currently working on a set of safety guidelines that hands-free and in-car entertainment system manufacturers will have to follow, The Wall Street Journal said. More →
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) voted on Tuesday to recommend that all states ban the use of using cell phones while driving, whether for talking or texting. It is also recommending that states ban hands-free devices, which are typically used as a safety measure among those who do place phone calls while driving. “No call, no text, no update is worth a human life,” NTSB chairman Deborah Hersan said. “This is a difficult recommendation, but it’s the right recommendation and it’s time.” States are not required to follow the NTSB’s recommendation, The New York Times said, noting that state regulators can individually choose to implement a law or ignore the recommendation altogether. More →
Now this, is awesome. Sprint and Google have just announced that they have worked together to give practically all Sprint wireless subscribers the ability to start using Google Voice immediately without any effort. It will literally be as simple as entering your number into your Google Voice account; the system will recognize that it’s a Sprint number and ask you if you’d like to use it as your Google Voice number. The best part? Google Voice apps aren’t needed anymore, and this works with practically any phone and OS. Android, BlackBerry, feature phones — it doesn’t matter. Any calls or text messages you send from your phone will appear in your Google Voice account, and you’ll be able to place calls or send texts from your Google Voice account online as well. What’s even cooler is that when you make international calls, it will automatically use Google Voice, thus affording deep discounts compared to standard international calling.
According to the latest intel gathered by TmoNews, the nation’s fourth largest carrier, T-Mobile, will begin offering two new, pre-paid international calling plans on March 13th. Aimed at those who frequently dial from the U.S. to friends and family internationally, the plans include unlimited calling to landlines in 50+ countries, unlimited text messaging to any mobile phone in over 220 countries, and discounted calling to international mobile and landline numbers. The plans look like this:
- $60 – International Unlimited Talk & Text with 100MB of domestic data
- $80 – International Unlimited Talk & Text with 2GB of domestic data
Both plans also include unlimited, domestic voice minutes and text messages. That’s a pretty strong offering — especially in the pre-paid category — from T-Mo. Thoughts? More →
AT&T will be launching its Unlimited Messaging with Mobile to Any Mobile plan tomorrow. Just ahead of the launch, BGR has acquired an internal AT&T memo that details exactly what customers will have to do to qualify for said plans. Spoiler alert: not much. Surprisingly, there isn’t any fine print with AT&T’s latest offering. Customers with individual, post-paid lines costing between $39.99 and $59.99 per month are eligible for the unlimited texting and mobile to mobile offer — individual plans over $59.99 include unlimited calling. Customers with family, post-paid lines costing between $69.99 and $109.99 per month are also eligible for the offering — family plans over $109.99 *drumroll* include unlimited calling. That’s pretty much it… no red tape. Who’s jumping on this tomorrow?
According to a memo acquired by TmoNews, U.S. wireless carrier T-Mobile is set to introduce a new, low-cost, international text and calling plan in time for the holidays. The new offering will allow users to send unlimited text messages to cell phones in over 220 countries and call land-line phones in 56 countries without incurring long-distance charges — calls to these countries will count against your plans monthly minute-allowance. The new international talk and text plan will require subscribers to have a postpaid calling account with a monthly plan costing $49.99 or higher and an unlimited domestic text messaging plan. After those prerequisites are met, users can add the international text and calling plan for an additional $10 per line. The plans should be available to T-Mobile customers starting December 8th. Hit the jump to see the full memo. More →
According to recent survey, New Yorkers literally don’t have time to talk on their cell phones. In terms of rank, New York is #15 in the nation for total number of calls, yet almost dead last in terms of actual call durations. If you’re from New York, you’re probably shaking your head in agreement as we’re most likely to take a call while doing seven hundred other things; say what we have to say, and jump off. What state would you guess holds the title for most prolific cellphone users? That would be Georgia. Because everyone is friendly in Georgia. Some more quick data from the study: teens send almost 3,000 text messages a month, and women talk on the phone 22% more than men. Though I doubt anyone is surprised by those last figures… More →
A U.K. woman armed with a Samsung Galaxy S running the SWYPE keyboard has broken the Guinness World Record for text messaging. The 27-year old managed to swipe out the phrase: “the razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human,” in just under 26 seconds. The time bests the official record, held by a 24-year old American, by over nine seconds. As the Press Association reports, “Ms Thompson, who works for an insurance company, was shopping with her boyfriend, Chris Davies, 23, when they visited a Samsung roadshow and she was invited to have a go at breaking the record.” The woman’s feat has yet to be made official by the Guinness Book of World Records.
We scooped it like Houston’s spinach dip back in April and right on schedule, the Samsung T349 is now available from T-Mobile. No, it’s not quite as exciting as some of the other handsets due to drop over the next few weeks and months but the T349 definitely has its place in T-Mobile’s lineup as an affordable messaging phone for tweens. Key features:
- T-Mobile myFaves® enabled
- Messaging services
- Text messaging (XT9 Predictive Text Technology)
- Instant Messaging (AIM®, Windows LiveTM Messenger, Yahoo!® Messenger)
- Picture Messaging
- Support for web2goSM
- 1.3-megapixel Camera
- 1280×1024 resolution
- 4x digital zoom
- MP3 Player: supports MP3, AAC, AAC+
- Stereo Bluetooth® Wireless Technology
- MicroSD Card Slot – up to 4GB
- Personal organizer (alarm, calendar, calculator, notes, world time, converter, timer, stopwatch)
- EDGE & GPRS Class: 10; 850/1800/1900 MHz
- Dimensions: 4.49″ x 1.97″ x 0.53″; 3.2 ounces
- Display: 2.2″, 176 x 220 Pixels, 262K TFT Color
- Standard Lithium Ion Battery: up to 7 hours talk time; up to 300 hours standby time
With a SureType-like 20-key keypad and a remarkably affordable $14.99 price point on a 2-year contract, expect to see this puppy popping up in malls across the country faster than you can say Abercrombie.
Big news today for our friends up north who have been plagued with cold sweats and night tremors ever since November when SMS service was disabled in Canada. When the service was initially killed, Twitter cited billing issues as the reason. It may have taken a while to resolve those issues, but Rogers has just announced a partnership with Twitter that will revive SMS and allow users to both send and receive tweets via text. What’s more, the new deal applies to both Rogers and Fido customers. Canadians, rejoice! Shortcode 21212 has officially been revived and any and all texts exchange will be covered by your SMS plan. In other words, feature phone users no longer have to worry about how to tell all their friends about the string of minutia that combines to make up each day. Woo!