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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The Newsfeed

“I move around every few years so it would be a huge hassle to have to buy and sell property so frequently.”—Female, 28, IN

Gen Z will spend the most on rent of any generation, but Millennials aren’t far behind. HotPads estimates that 2-20-year-olds will spend $226,000 on rent before they buy a home and 24-38-year-olds will ring in at $202,000. Despite the difference, Gen Z will own their first home one year earlier than Millennials because they’ll have “a stronger job market than [M]illennials”—but, despite the myths, they are buying homes in greater numbers. PS: Los Angeles tops the list of where young demos will spend the most on rent. (Business Insider)

What’s behind board games' popularity today? The NPD Group found that board games grew 8% compared to the toy industry’s overall growth of 8% in the past year and has “no signs of slowing down.” Digital detoxing plays a part, as more Millennial parents worry about their kids’ screen time and seek toys that foster face-to-face relationships. But despite the analog appeal, games are also getting high-tech and the word-of-mouth media they receive propels social media-friendly games like Pie Face to the top of toy charts. (Kidscreen)

Parents still have the most influence over kids today, but online celebrities are also top role models. Mintel research found that 86% of 6-17-year-olds say their parents are among their top role models, 62% say teachers, and 41% say siblings. But the top kind of celebrity that gets added to the category are social media celebrities at 35%, followed closely by musicians and athletes. Only 22% said actors were among their top role models and just 16% said the President. (MediaPost)

Disney has a new beverage to fill your Instagram feed: The Purple Wall Slushie. The Millennial & Gen Z-loved company has had no problem coming up with social media-friendly items, from Baby Groot bread to a viral Beauty and the Beast-inspired tumbler, and now they’ve rolled out a boba and taro beverage at Disney World. The Purple Wall is a famous destination to snap a pic for social media in the Magic Kingdom, and this slushy is made specifically to match up with the wall (and monetize on it). (POPSUGARInsider)

Speaking of Instagrammability, the Space Needle’s new, clear benches are sure to make for a thrilling photo op. The iconic viewing deck for the Seattle skyline has been in the midst of a makeover to create a better (and decidedly more social media-worthy) viewing experience. A metal base and caging has been replaced with a high glass wall from floor to sky, and so-called “skyrisers” will let visitors sit right on the edge of it all—and snap a selfie. (Curbed)

“People have been planning outfits since the start of the year [for prom].”—Male, 15, NC

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