Ypulse Essentials: Facebook Phone & Kindle Fire Models, Spotify Loses Labels, Toy Of The Year

Facebook PhoneCodenamed ‘Buffy,’ the fabled Facebook phone (is going to be a reality in a year or so, and like its vampire-slayer namesake, it’s out to slay the smartphone competition. The phone will be manufactured by HTC and reportedly will run an Android platform. But will anyone care to have a Facebook phone over a phone with a Facebook app? Some of us still remember how things went when another media company — ahem, ESPN — tried to enter the cell phone market. In other news of tech to come, Amazon will debut new models of the Kindle Fire with larger screens in 2012. Amazon clearly wants to take a bite out of the mainstream tablet market, taking on Samsung and perhaps even Apple) (AllThingsD) (ShelfAwareness)

- Spotify is losing labels (because the music industry isn’t happy with the money it’s making from the service and fears that streaming is cannibalizing sales. But, now that listeners have had a taste of streaming just about any artist they want, we don’t think they’re going to run right back to the record store — digital or brick-and-mortar — to get the music they want; they’ll continue to find it online, one way or another) (AV Club)

- The Toy Industry Association has announced the finalists (for Toy Of The Year. The lists for best boy toy, girl toy, educational toy, and game are packed with cool items — and great gift ideas, obviously — but there’s one item that’s missing. The iPad. Say what you will, that’s one “toy” kids can’t keep their hands off of) (Kidscreen)

- Netflix is making its ‘Just For Kids’ section (available from the Wii console with just one click. We think it’s a smart move since the Wii is particularly popular with young families) (SacBee)

- With all the Black Friday ads clogging the airwaves lately, it’s hard to break through the clutter, but Macy’s ad with…


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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “My financial priority is getting a job and getting out of my parents’ house.” –Male, 20, WA

Virtual reality is poised to become an entertainment game-changer—could it revolutionize education as well? Google is pioneering Expeditions, a new “virtual field trip” program that reaches out to schools with lessons that integrate virtual reality viewers. Expensive VR headsets are not necessary since Google Cardboard is used, allowing a very new technology to be brought into classrooms at an early stage. (NYTimes)

Millennials are bringing their financial preferences to wedding planning. A survey from The Knot and PayPal found that 44% of couples wish they could make all their vendor payments via smartphone, and 42% were surprised their vendors did not accept electronic payments. They also want the “I do” day to be money-hassle-free: 70% think automated payments for remaining balances on the wedding day would be helpful. (MarketWatch)

Smartphones present a whole new set of social problems for Millennials—especially when they’re using them while drinking. New app Drunk Mode, targeting college kids, is designed to make phones safe to use while under the influence: select contacts are hidden for 12 hours to prevent dangerous drunk dialing, the “Find My Drunk” feature uses GPS to help users find drunk friends, and there are also tools for hailing safe rides and retracing intoxicated footsteps. (Springwise)

After years of magical, mystical creatures and dystopian horror stories ruling YA shelves, a new wave of novels are making more relatable narratives popular again. According to Scholastic, “realism is on the rise,” and books that feature the problems of real-world teens are the next big thing. Recent examples include 21 PromsHomeroom Diaries, and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, which was also turned into a feature film. (Scholastic)

In 2014, designer Rebecca Minkoff opened her stores of the future, featuring digital fitting rooms with large, mirrored touch screen walls that allow visitors to browse the latest collections, runway shows, photos, and other brand content . Almost a year later, those tech dressing rooms are being credited with tripling expected clothing sales. Minkoff says, “Trying something on signifies intent, and the customer may not have been thinking about buying a dress, but they see it suggested on the screen and know to ask for it.” (Digiday)

Quote of the Day: “My biggest financial goal is Financial independence from my parents.” –Female, 22, MA

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