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Google Removes ‘Bomb Gaza’ Game from App Store After Backlash

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What could possibly be offensive about a mobile game that makes light of the bloody and ongoing Israeli/Palestinian conflict by encouraging bored Android and tablet users to drop animated explosives on Gaza, where over 1,800 real, human Palestinians have been killed since the start of the fighting? Oh, that’s right — everything.

To make matters worse, the game, titled “Bomb Gaza,” released by developer PLAYFTW, had a “low” maturity rating, meaning children were given the green light to play it. Excellent.

Angry and disgusted complaints flooded the game’s (now-deleted) comments section, and while some comments were political and defended one side of the conflict or the other, the overwhelming sentiment of the outraged objections can be pretty-well summed up by this simple, straight-forward one (heads-up for some swearing):

“WTF There is ongoing conflict in which people are dying and you seem to find it acceptable to make a game of it. That’s fucked up.”

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Kids Are Getting Rashes Because They’re Allergic to Their Tablets

children with tabletsUsed to be that kids would play in the dirt and come home with ringworm. Now kids are spending a whole lot of time playing on the couch or on the porch and still end up with suspicious skin rashes. What gives? Nickel.

Pediatrics is reporting that there’s an increased number of kids reporting cases of allergic contact dermatitis, a skin irritation that can happen when they come in contact with nickel. They’re coming in contact with the metal when they play on their tablet devices.

Says USA Today, “According to the Mayo Clinic, contact dermatitis is a red, itchy rash that is neither contagious nor life-threatening, but can be uncomfortable.” To treat it, steroid creams and antibiotics have to be applied.

For parents, this is a problem. For tablet makers, this could be a bigger problem.

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Starbucks Partners with Duracell to Introduce Wireless Charging Stations

I1402518899000-XXX-San-Jose-2f you’re accustomed to working on your tablet for hours on end at your local Starbucks, but hate crawling surreptitiously underneath strangers’ chairs to access one of the few electrical outlets when your battery dies, the coffee chain’s new partnership with Duracell Powermat was made with you in mind.

Thanks to the scheduled rollout of wireless charging stations, it will soon be even easier for you to stick around and buy that second cup of overpriced coffee without worrying that your device will crap out on you and you’ll actually have to read a book or make conversation (heaven forbid).

The rollout will begin with stores in the San Francisco Bay Area, where customers will be able to simply set their devices down on certain parts of their tabletops to charge them. The company plans to install more that 100,000 such charging stations at Starbucks locations nationwide over the course of the next three years (that’s roughly a dozen per store). Read more

Research Says You Can Tell Whether Someone Is More Likely To be an Android or an iPhone Owner

smartphonesDo you invest in the stock market? Drink wine? Fly on an airplane? Then there’s a good chance you own an iPhone rather than an Android.

Research by Battery Ventures suggest  that there are certain characteristics that will indicate which kind of mobile device you’re more likely to own. If you take public transportation, prefer to drink beer, identify as a religious person, eat fast food and smoke, you’re more likely to own an Android. (Also, you might need to visit the doctor and hit the gym.)

In other words, fancy = iPhone. Not so fancy = Android.

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Putting Down Your Smartphone for Ten Minutes Can Help Get Clean Water to a Child in Need

2009_03_tap_projectSome creative campaigns have been popping up around the idea of breaking our all-encompassing smartphone habit; brands from Coca-Cola to Ikea have touted the importance of being present in our non-virtual lives. Now, UNICEF is giving us a tangible reason to step away from our phones for a few minutes (in case reconnecting with loved ones, nature, and the real world in general weren’t compelling enough prospects).

As part of its annual “Tap Project” effort to bring clean drinking water to those most in need, UNICEF, in partnership with Droga5 and MediaVest, has launched a new campaign via its website UnicefTapProject.org. When you visit the site on your mobile phone, you’ll be able to follow a few simple instructions on how to proceed. Once you begin, for every minute that you don’t touch your phone, the project’s sponsors will fund clean water for needy kids worldwide. Just ten minutes of inactivity is enough to provide one day’s worth of water. Read more

Most PRs Would Like To Have This Problem: ‘Flappy Bird’ Shut Down Because It Got Too Popular

flappy birdWith no promotion and little development, the mobile game “Flappy Bird” became a huge hit, getting downloaded 50 million times and making $50,000 per day in ad revenue. Dong Nguyen, a Vietnam-based developer, says he created the game in two to three days. And he was clearly caught off guard by the success of the game. Having a bit of a meltdown on Twitter, he announced this weekend that he was pulling the game.

“I am sorry ‘Flappy Bird’ users, 22 hours from now, I will take ‘Flappy Bird’ down,” Nguyen tweeted on Saturday. “I cannot take this anymore.”

Being popular is a problem most PRs would like to have. So how can they get this problem too? We have one theory.

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Alicia Keys’ Last Day As BlackBerry’s Global Creative Director Is January 30

alicia keysBlackBerry, in its continuing efforts to stem the tide of losses and reinvent itself in a hyper-competitive mobile market, has decided that it no longer needs the global creative director services of Alicia Keys. It was announced yesterday that January 30 will be her last day, one year after the company made a big show of appointing her to the role.

The move comes as BlackBerry looks to rebuild its customer base as the device of choice for businesses. In all honesty, with the exception of a few ads and promotional materials, it’s a little hard to pinpoint what all Keys did during the course of that year. Which isn’t really an indictment of Keys or even BlackBerry. It just goes back to the basic question of why a company chooses a celeb to be the face of its brand.

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Virgin Mobile Celebrated July 4th By Unleashing A Bunch Of Ben Franklins All Over NYC

If you were in New York City last weekend, you had an advanced July 4th celebration with a slew of Benjamin Franklins, thanks to Virgin Mobile. The mobile company let loose 100 Benjamins to drum up attention for its special deal — they’re offering $100 to anyone who switches carriers through July 7. Personally, we kind of forgot that this was a Virgin Mobile clip about 20 seconds in, but that could be because we’re drunk on Independence Day joy.

via @becktold

Virgin Mobile has been upping its game over the past few weeks, adding the iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy Ring to its offerings. However, the latter doesn’t have 4G, so meh on that.

Separately, but truly in the spirit of the day, the Statue of Liberty reopened today, months after it shut due to damage from Superstorm Sandy. There was a ribbon-cutting ceremony this morning, and we’ve seen a lot of pics and hoopla popping up on Twitter. Nearby Ellis Island remains closed.

We pulled the snapshot at right from Tom Becktold, Business Wire’s SVP of marketing. Very cool.

EBay To Offer Actual Window Shopping On Vacant NYC Storefronts

Starting June 8, people walking down certain streets in New York City will be able to stop, turn and start window shopping.

“Hey,” you’re thinking, “can’t people do that already?” Yeah sure, but it’s not an eBay window! Derp. What does that even mean? It means every gimmick has a chance when it’s artfully done.

EBay is taking over four empty storefronts across downtown Manhattan on which people will be able to purchase any or all of 30 items presented from the new Kate Spade Saturday line. This is happening until July 7.

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Kids Gain an Early Edge with Digital Toys

While children are finicky regarding their toy and game preferences, their fascination with everything digital remains constant. Ever since iPads were introduced, parents have had to share their tablets with their offspring or buy them separate devices.

The latest digital toys were on display at Timetoplaymag.com’s spring media showcase event in New York on Tuesday. They feature QR codes, 3-D, augmented reality and gaming, which are similar to those found in grownups’ devices. Digital toys like these could also serve as background props for agency creative brainstorming sessions.

  • Scanimalz: This newly launched line of plush interactive animal characters from Scandinavia is for boys and girls aged 5 to 10. They’re collectible, and include a series of colorful characters. Customers buy the Scanimalz mobile app and each character separately. Then they scan a QR code to unlock, play with the character and earn Scantz points.
  • Drip Drops: The brand’s Color the World app transforms pre-schoolers’ mobile devices into coloring books. It incorporates 3D animation and augmented reality and also features different characters. The app enables users to turn the items being colored inside out and flip them around. They can also take photos and share them with friends on social media.
  • ArtSee Studio: This recently introduced “art creation studio” is for kids 3 years and older, and comes with an app, an iPad case that serves as an easel and a toolkit with a stylus, rainbow crayon for drawing and several colorful stamps. Proud parents can either save their kids’ masterpieces, print or share them on social platforms.

Perhaps if similar creative digital tools were available during former President George W. Bush’s childhood, he might have discovered his penchant for painting earlier in life and gravitated to a career in art instead of politics.

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