What You Should Know About Mobile Phones

June 21, 2011, By Christian Cawley

IPhones, using a mobile phone on an airplane and mobile signal strength are all the subject of various myths and misunderstandings.

Now, it isn’t uncommon to find that people are somewhat confused about the truth in a number of different subjects (from the purpose of international aid in foreign policy to the scoring system in baseball) but when the facts are obfuscated by interested parties in order to push the myths as “facts” that’s pretty lame.

There are various mistruths circulating about mobile phones that we at DeviceMAG think that you ought to be aware of.

Many smartphones suffer from the "grip of death", say Apple; but only the iPhone 4 loses signal strength completely

iPhone and the Grip of Death

It might sound like a Manga comic, but this really is a serious issue. The iPhone 4 was heavily criticized for having a particular weakness that prevented phonecalls from being made or received; namely, a certain area of the device exterior housed the exposed antenna and touching this would lose signal strength, reduce the speed of data and even drop calls.

Apple’s initial reaction was to advise users to hold the device in a different way, they later pointed out that all smartphones suffer from a similar defect…

…except that other smartphones don’t often drop calls because of it. Apple really dropped the ball with this one, so if you have been putting off buying a smartphone over this bit of misinformation, you really shouldn’t worry.

Mobile Phones, Airplanes and Gas Stations

Why do airlines and gas stations have a ban on the use of mobile phones? Do the microwaves used by such devices interfere with telemetry and other navigational equipment, or cause gasoline to spontaneously ignite?

Of course they don’t.

In fact, airlines insist on mobile phones being switched off to prevent blockages at ground level. When you’re in the air, all mobile phone masts that have a chance of detecting your device are roughly the same distance away, and this can lead to channels being reserved for your device on multiple cell phone towers, something that can affect service quality for other users at ground level.

Meanwhile, it is considered dangerous to use a mobile phone at a gas station because of the chances of you dropping the phone, the battery dropping out or sparking, and the gasoline-filled atmosphere igniting.

Mobile Phone Signal Strength

You might be forgiven that the signal bars on your mobile are there to indicate the quality of the call you are making, in terms of having a good connection to the nearest cell phone tower.

However, this isn’t actually the case. If you have a strong signal (for instance, you have three or more bars on your mobile display) you might still have a poor quality phone call or mobile Internet connection due to various users competing for the same strong signal.

Additionally, you might have a strong signal, a tower that only you are using but a mobile carrier with a poor quality network; once routed your phone call quality might remain poor.

So don’t credit the bars with too much relevance.

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