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We work, we study, we stay in touch, we entertain ourselves through screens. But it is not easy for companies to make these devices. And that makes our virtual lives more terrifying and less fulfilling than they could have been.
It has been true for years that many companies find it difficult to make money on smartphones, PCs, TVs, streaming TVs such as Roku և video game consoles. Producing sophisticated electronics requires a lot of experience և cash, պայքար constant struggle to beat competitors on price և to attract buyers’ attention.
Dynamics creates two paths for consumer electronics that many of us rely on. One of them is that the giant companies take over their management and leave everyone else. The other way is for companies to become money launderers. Either way, it’s not great for us.
It would hardly have been a blip for many of us, but last week Korean electronics giant LG said it might stop making smartphones. LG has long been one of the best sellers of phones in the world. It is not now. LG made many mistakes, rivals like Apple, Samsung and Huawei surpassed it.
But it is also true that in many categories of consumer electronics there is no room for relative detail. Not so long ago, there were many companies that made smartphones, computers, and other categories of devices such as fitness equipment. HTC gave up smartphones. Sony was mainly digging into computers. Remember the jawbone Dead Fitbit now belongs to Google? The categories of these devices և more only have points.
Consolidation is natural when any product goes from hot to hot. I promise you I will not miss the old smartphone companies. (Well, maybe I’m still gloomy for Palm). But I do know that we lose something when companies that have fresh ideas in their tools have little chance of even trying.
And my biggest concern is that the difficulty of making it in the hardware system makes appliance sellers do things that are awkward for us.
Popular TV brands follow everything we see and report to companies that want to sell us new cars or credit cards. (Yeah Al that sounds pretty crap to me, Looks like BT aint for me either, Looks like BT aint for me either) Roku also earns its real money not from selling its gizmos that connect to our streaming TV apps, but from its side performances, including Lots of information about what we see that it uses to sell ads.
You might think that these e-consumer companies are mostly Facebook, who also happen to sell screens to us. I do not know about you, but it makes me feel more tender about my Cobra Kay marathon sessions.
Microsoft announced a few days ago, and then “quickly” stopped a sharp increase in subscriptions to Xbox online video games. The price increase was a step with bones, but it reflected the cruel reality. Selling Xbox video games brings in quite a bit of profit for Microsoft. Online subscription add-ons are more profitable.
I do not want to exaggerate what is happening. Many new ideas are still thriving in some areas of consumer electronics. Do not shed a tear for Apple և its accumulated cash. But mostly the hardware system is difficult. And that makes it even harder for us, especially when we need our devices more than ever.
Three must-have apps for each smartphone
Brian X. ChenThe New York Times personal technology columnist tells us that we now need to download the software.
The most downloaded apps today include TikTok, Instagram, Facebook և Netflix. Here are some of the most popular items that every smartphone needs. Here are my top three.
1. Password Manager. The basic rule is that each password you use must be unique and complex. But it is impossible to do that և remember everyone.
1Password նման Password management software like LastPass solves this problem. They allow you to store all your passwords in a digital folder that can be unlocked with a single master password. In other words, you only need to memorize one password. Apps also include tools to automatically generate complex passwords for you.
2. Ad blocking. Many online ads are loaded with emails that collect your personal information և absorb your phone battery. some even link to malware. Until the ad industry finds a better option, our best bet is to use an ad-blocking program such as 1Blocker to prevent ads from loading in your web browser.
Some people consider ad blocking to be problematic because it can deprive websites of revenue. However, many of the apps allow people to choose their favorite sites և block those ads. (For Android users, Google does not allow ad-blockers to be downloaded from its app store.
3. Encrypted messaging software. Our online chats should not be anyone’s business. This makes password messages extremely important.
Here is how it works. When you send a message, it is mixed so that it is incomprehensible to anyone except the intended recipient.
If someone, including the government, wants to see your messages, no one, including the app provider, can access the error messages. My favorite encrypted messaging app for years is Signal because of its excellent privacy guarantees.
Before we go
The biggest trade union effort on Amazon. Alabama-based warehouse workers plan to vote on forming a union next month. My colleagues Michael Corker և Karen Wise detail what both Amazon and some of its employees want, and how this union campaign relates to poultry processing workers.
Quickly get more kids online. Officials in New York say it is “impossible” to quickly install Wi-Fi in homeless shelters for students to attend online classes. Some shelter operators have proven that they are wrong in imperfect but functional Internet outfit, writes Andy Newman of The Times.
SJ, deaf և extreme online On other TikTok apps, young people are turning their attention to the US Sign Language, an ASL version that scientists say has long been ignored. Writes my colleague Alison Waller.
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