Amazon wants you to buy its first smartphone, the Fire, which it unveiled Wednesday. But it also wants you to use that phone to buy more stuff … from Amazon.
And one of the device’s most distinctive features is designed to make it as easy as possible do just that.
It’s called Firefly, and it contains image-, text- and audio-recognition technology to help you scan and identify books, songs, movies and other items. Amazon wants you to use Firefly so much that the feature has its own dedicated button on the side of the phone for one-stop shopping.
“The Firefly button lets you identify printed Web and email addresses, phone numbers, QR and bar codes, artwork, and over 100 million items, including songs, movies, TV shows, and products — and take action in seconds,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in announcing the phone, which will run Amazon’s Fire operating system.
For example, you could use the phone’s cameras and sensors to identify an exotic fruit or vegetable, figure out who sings a song on the radio or help send an e-mail to a new contact after scanning their business card.
But forget all that. Well, except for maybe the song. Once you’ve identified the tune, Amazon wants you to download it. From Amazon.
Bezos demonstrated the feature onstage Wednesday by using the phone to instantly identify items arrayed on a table, including a book, a CD and a jar of Nutella.
As with products like its Kindle e-readers, Kindle Fire tablets and Amazon Fire TV, the Fire Phone is designed to pull you into Amazon’s growing universe of products and services and then keep you there.
So with Firefly, the Amazon Music Store will pop up as the default source to buy that song. And that’s also where those QR and bar codes come in.
Firefly will make it even easier to pursue a habit that has proliferated in the smartphone age and driven brick-and-mortar stores crazy. A user will presumably be able to walk into a store, pick out a product they like, zap it with Firefly and, within a second or two, find out whether it’s available on Amazon for less money. (And then maybe even order it right there from their phone.)
According to Amazon, the Firefly feature will recognize 70 million products, 35 million songs, 245,000 movies and TV episodes, and 160 live TV channels.
That’s a lot of chances to spend money.
The Fire also boasts a 3-D screen. It ships July 25, although you can pre-order it now. The phone is available only on AT&T’s network.
If there’s one difference between the Firefly-loaded Fire Phone and other Amazon hardware, it’s the price. At $199 for a 32GB model and $299 for the 64GB — with an AT&T contract — its cost is comparable with that of other high-end smartphones.
By comparison, the Kindle Fire tablet debuted in 2011 at $199, a full $300 less than the cheapest iPad 2 at the time. The first Kindle e-reader debuted about $400 but quickly dropped in price. There are Kindles that can now be purchased for about $70.
Under Bezos, the company’s strategy has been to sell hardware for less than its competitors, sometimes even at a loss, to get customers using other Amazon products.
As such, customers who buy the Fire soon will get a free year’s subscription (normally $99) to Amazon Prime, which offers two-day shipping, free streaming on Prime Instant Video and access to the Kindle book-lending library.
Whether the Fire Phone will be an instant hit remains to be seen. Shoppers may be hesitant to buy a phone online if they can’t test it out in stores.
But if Amazon can carve out a decent piece of the smartphone market, which moved more than 1 billion phones last year, Firefly may help make sure those Amazon purchases just keep on coming.
SOURCE : cnn
Tips for Parents Raising Kids in a Digital World
Raising kids in a digital world is as much of a curse as it is a blessing. Namely, they have the means to learn, grow and entertain themselves, which helps them become more independent early on- Then again, they also grow more and more alienated from the environment. Furthermore, you have no control over what kind of content they’re exposed to and, frankly, with the ever-growing trend of VR, chances are that they might soon be in danger of having a hard time telling the difference between the real and virtual world. Having said that, parents need to be extra careful and take some additional steps of precaution.
1. Encourage playtime
The first mistake that parents often make is trying to force their kids to play outside or go on playdates. Prohibiting, forbidding and ordering your kids around seldom does the trick. If anything, it will make them enjoy less and even openly defy you. Instead, you need to encourage playtime by coming up with fun activities, organizing playdates that they really want and giving them a reason to go outside. In other words, you merely need to help them develop intrinsic motivation and they will look forward to this playtime in the real world.
2. Use parental control
In the previous section, we might have gone too hard on the technology and digital environment but these tools and tech trends are a part of the reality that we live in. This means that you’re doing your kids a disservice by pretending like they don’t exist. Instead, you need to guide them by gradually introducing them into this world and the easiest way to achieve this is to introduce some parental control on the device they’re using. Some devices like iPhone have a parental control in form of iPhone restrictions that are so sophisticated that it may help you give your child the ultimate kid-friendly smartphone experience.
3. Screen time shouldn’t be alone time
Not all content is necessarily bad for your kids when you put it into proper context, which is why you need to ensure that not all screen time is alone time for your kids. Some parents just allow their kids to play with tablets, smartphones and computers, seeing as how this is a (physically) safe activity for them. In other words, they can just leave their kids to the care of these devices and go on about their own business. In parenthood, and in life in general, the easy way out is seldom the right thing to do.
4. Set a good example
The most important thing of all is that you are a good role model for your kids. To achieve this, you need to set a good example by showing restraint when it comes to the use of these devices. Kids often try to reflect the behavior of their parents, so if they see you looking at the screen all the time or trying to take a picture of everything they do, they might start doing the same. In other words, don’t set any rules or expectations that you yourself can’t fulfill.
5. Tech-free zones
The last thing you can do is try to gamify this experience by creating tech-free zones for your children whenever and wherever you can. For instance, instead of getting a huge flat-screen TV to serve as the focal point of your living room, you could make it into a tech-free zone. We already talked about the fact that forbidding things to your kids might backfire and give an adverse result. However, by creating a tech-free zone, you’ll make the execution of this rule into something passive and easy to uphold. Your kids will come to accept this as a way of life, instead of seeing it as a stern rule, especially since it doesn’t apply just to them but is something that everyone must uphold.
Raising kids was never easy, to begin with. However, now you’re facing more and more challenges than ever before. However, the end result is always more than worth it and, as a parent, it’s your duty and your obligation to do all that’s in your power in order to help your kids grow into decent and functional human beings. For that reason alone, you shouldn’t be too eager to prevent them from using even those trends that you personally dislike.
Nigeria recorded low spam calls, messages in 2018: Report
The top 20 Countries affected by spam calls in 2018 released by truecaller
Truecaller claimed to have helped users block and identify 17.7 billion spam calls including the identity of 74.1 billion calls.
Nigeria ranked among markets that experienced low spam calls and unsolicited messages in 2018 according to a report analysis breakdown by Guardian Nigeria, a research conducted by Truecaller has revealed. Unlike in 2017, where Nigeria ranked ninth behind India, USA, Brazil, Chile, South Africa, Mexico, Turkey, and Peru respectively in the world’s top 20 list, the country dropped out of the list last year.
The Truecaller 2017 report put the average spam calls/messages an average Nigerian gets in a month at 10.2 percent.
In the 2018 report obtained by The Guardian, Truecaller found that there are common categories that tie all the spam calls together. They include operator, debt collection, bank, political, health, spam, telemarketing, financial service, scam and insurance.
It explained that the regions span across the world, and even some countries that are on the same continent differ drastically in what type of spam call they receive. Truecaller is a product of Swedish company, True Software Scandinavia AB. It is a mobile app developed to find mobile number details globally given a telephone number either using the app or their synced contacts, and has an integrated caller ID service to achieve call-blocking functionality and social media integration to keep the phonebook up-to-date with pictures and birthdays.
In 2018 alone, Truecaller claimed to have helped users block and identify 17.7 billion spam calls including the identity of 74.1 billion calls. This means that close to every fourth call that the app users receive are spam calls.Compared to 2017, Truecaller said fewer African markets are in the top 20 list: Kenya, Morocco, Egypt, and Nigeria. South Africa is the only country in the list – as a matter of fact the amount of spam calls increased from 15 to 21 spam calls/months – that is a 40 per cent increase!
According to a telecoms expert, Kehinde Aluko, the drop in spam calls and messages could be linked to subscribers’ activations of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC’s) recently introduced Do-Not-Disturb (DND) codes.
NCC had urged subscribers, who are tired of unsolicited text messages and calls to text “Stop” to “2442” or “Help” to “2442” for options.The Guardian gathered that over 12 million subscribers had as at November 2018, activated the code and blocked unwanted messages and calls.
In the 2018 list, Brazil surprisingly took over from India as the most spammed country in the world, with the average Truecaller user receiving 37.5 spam calls per month. This means that Brazil saw an 81 per cent increase in spam calls last year.
The firm cited new markets entered the list including Spain, Canada, Costa Rica, Poland, Dominican Republic, and Israel, adding that there was a big increase of spam calls in European markets like Spain (100%), Greece (54.1%) and Italy (22.7 %.) However, Turkey has seen a decrease of spam calls (18 %.)
Furthermore, Truecaller revealed that a lot of Latin American countries entered the top spam list, and they are seeing the biggest increase of spam calls. Costa Rica was ranked top as country that has seen the highest increase in terms of percentage (330 %.)
Digging deeper into the bigger markets, Truecaller found common categories that tie all these spam calls together. The biggest pattern discovered was that operators across the world are the biggest spammers.“We could also see that telemarketing calls from financial services, debt collectors and insurance related matters are spamming our users globally. Others are political, health, scam, financial service, telemarketing, among others,” the Swedish firm stated.
Google Is About To Fix Terrible Lag Issues On Chrome OS Tablets
So many complaints have been made by users about the Pixel state performance especially when the device is in tablet mode and Users also claim they encounter lagging issues while in the said mode, apart from having a janky experience overall.
According to report, It seems Google is now aware of the issue, at least. Since the Pixel Slate’s sluggish and stuttery user interface is becoming a deal breaker for most consumers, Google is reportedly planning to roll out an update that will improve the performance of its flagship tablet.
Chrome Unboxed has uncovered that Google aims to address performance problems present on the Pixel Slate, particularly issues with lag. What’s more, the fix might actually be a simple one.
Pixel Slate Lag Issues
For sometimes, Many Developers have noticed that much of the performance issues stems from the performance-intensive way the tablet draws rounded corners, and they especially persist when dragging down to reveal the overview mode.
“A lot of animation jank seems to be coming from the use of Mask Layers to create rounded corners. This combined with background blur adds a lot of additional steps in the paint/rendering pipeline,” according per the bug’s description.
When rounded corners are disabled, the performance allegedly improves, even on the Celeron-based Pixel Slate, which is the entry-level model of the lineup.
“The performance (fps increase) and memory improvement (tiles don’t get discarded and we actually see the content) is quite significant on Nocturne Celeron when rounded corners are removed.”
Of course, turning off rounded corners likely won’t solve every lag and performance issue present on the device, but it’s an easy and uncomplicated start, and should significantly increase performance for users who enter overview mode on a regular basis.
When Will Google Release This Fix?
As to when Google plans to release the fix is another story. The company has labeled the bug as high priority, at least, but bear in mind that the discussion dates back to November 2018, which suggests a solution might not be around the corner. Also, Google hasn’t formally acknowledged the Pixel Slate’s performance issues, making it harder to predict if and when the fix is coming.
That’s quite unfortunate since a number of reviewers liken the Pixel Slate as a successful attempt from Google to reinvigorate the tablet landscape, apart from being a worthy competitor to the Apple iPad. Clearly, Google has quite a room for improvement on the software side of things — and definitely on the hardware as well.