Mobile Phone Weekly News Round-up – April 7th

In the past week, the mobile phone has turned up in several non-technical news stories, which began with some good news for anyone who has ever had a phone stolen. Police put on quite a show in the North London borough of Finsbury Park earlier this week, as 600 officers closed a road where it’s estimated 40% of all stolen mobile phones in the UK are sold on. In this raid a reported total of 300 phones were seized in addition to a variety of other personal electronic equipment; and 35 arrests were made. It won’t bring your phone back, but it’s good to see some positive action.

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The recent retirement of Cuba’s President, Fidel Castro, and the inauguration of his successor, Raul Castro (Fidel’s brother) has seen some of the tight restrictions previously enforced on the island’s population lifted, one of which is the option to legally own a mobile phone. Over the next week, the state telecoms company will sell pre-pay phones to the general public, however they won’t be cheap. Regardless of the price, it will be interesting to see how long before the mobile becomes the phenomenon it is everywhere else.

Initially, this could have been an April Fool’s joke, as the word nomophobic sounds to ridiculous to be true. Unfortunately however, it’s not, as nomophobics – those who suffer from mobile phone related anxiety – really exist. The Post Office commissioned a survey of 2000 people and the results are startling, for all the wrong reasons. Apparently it’s men who are most likely to be ‘nomo’s’, 22% thought moving house was less stressful than not being instantly contactable and 53% stressed about being ‘stranded’ in an area without coverage. Stranded? Are there uninhabited areas in Scotland and Wales filled with people milling around, staring at the ‘No Service’ message, sobbing quietly? If so, then it may be the best place for them.

Following on from this, we can exclusively reveal the identity of the first confirmed celebrity nomophobics, a dubious honour which goes to Madonna and her husband, Guy Richie. The singer has admitted to the BBC that she sleeps with her BlackBerry under her pillow and Guy does the same with his mystery-shrouded ‘handheld computer’. She says ‘I’m sure lots of couples have their BlackBerry’s in bed with them’. Yeah, right. Save it for Nomophobics Anonymous, Madge.

On the phone release front this week, Nokia have announced a clutch of budget phones for the oft-mentioned ‘emerging markets’ and the only reason we mention it is due to the presence of a new take on their unusual Prism design. The previously high-end Prism has become an entry-level clamshell phone weighing only 78grams – it looks OK too. Jeans manufacturer Levi’s haven’t learnt though, as their new Red Tab Limited Edition phone is just as ugly as the last one and still costs way too much. If you’re tired of all these complicated phones, the then ClarityLife may be for you as it has the bare minimum amount of keys and features. Although it’s marketed for senior citizens, it has an emergency response button on the front panel; the actual design is rather cool!

Finally, the ringtone is dead, long live the ringback! Market researchers BMI claim a dip in ringtone sales is only making way for the popularity of the ringback. A ringback replaces the ringing you would normally hear when calling someone, with a piece of music of your choice and according to them, is the next big thing. Until next week that is, when everyone will have got bored of that and gone onto something else!

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