Smartphone market is cooling, says net guru

The smartphone market is saturated, which is creating a big problem for the Internet’s big brands. Read about that, and some other crazy stories from the weird world of tech, in this week’s roundup.

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Technology companies face a tough time adding new users, according to a new report from tech guru Mary Meeker. The analyst-turned venture capitalist, long known for her regular state of the Internet reports, argued that the world’s aging population, combined with slower GDP, is slowing down adoption of new tech services.

The smartphone market is also saturating, meaning that the feedstock of new customers is drying up. Meeker expects the growth in global smartphone users to hit 21 per cent this year, down from 31 per cent last year, and shipment growth will slide still further. So what are the hot technologies to watch? Voice-activated devices, she said, singling out Amazon’s Echo in-home listening device. No wonder Jeff Bezos has singled it out as a possible fourth pillar of its business.

An $18,000 smartphone for the really paranoid

We may all have smartphones now, but few of us will have anything like this: For the person who has everything … how about an $18,000 phone? The Solarin launched this week, with ‘military grade’ security normally available only to the three-letter agencies. It encrypts its stored data, and it also features a special ‘Security Switch’ on the back which, when flipped, will put the phone into a sort of shielded mode.

Naturally it’s all very secret, and the firm won’t reveal exactly how it works, so you’d better have a lot of money and some serious trust, because the phone is selling for £9,500 pre-tax, which is almost CDN$18,000 at this week’s exchange rate. Just so long as the phone doesn’t self-destruct in 10 seconds, eh.

Bible rewritten in emoji form

Always wanted to read the Bible, but been pushed for time? Now, an anonymous author has rewritten it in emoji form. The 3,300-page book, ‘Scripture 4 Millennials.’ We’re not sure that King James would approve, but what better way to spread the Word than by turning it into thousands of pictures? There’s no Android version though, due to technical difficulties.

Hate speech

The Internet is full of idiots. They troll constantly. They force female MPs from Twitter with vile messages and send death threats to developers for having the temerity to delay a game release. What is it with people?

Now, Facebook, Twitter, Google’s YouTube and Microsoft have vowed to review requests for the removal of hateful content within 24 hours, as part of a deal with European regulators. Twitter has also proposed an innovative solution to quickly resolve hate speech claims. When someone reports offensive content on its Periscope live streaming service, it will assemble ‘flash juries’ of randomly selected viewers to quickly vote on the complaint, either validating or refuting it quickly.

Hopefully that will inch the needle further towards a more civil Internet, because as it stands, the trolls are winning. And that’s no joke.

Illustration courtesy of Free Digital Photos

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