Parents of small kids are getting more love from music services.
Amazon noticed kids content on its Prime Music streaming plan was a big hit — no surprise, really, given the popularity of its Amazon Mom program for discounts on diapers, wipes and other items. So Amazon.com Inc. secured original children’s music from The Pop Ups and Lisa Loeb for free streaming to give Prime members another reason to keep their $99-a-year membership.
Meanwhile, a rival service, Rhapsody, is rewarding premium, $10-a-month subscribers with a feature that lets children take control of music when mommy or daddy passes over a mobile phone. Curated playlists keep content safe, and big colorful designs make navigating easy. You won’t need to remember another password to leave the kids’ zone: There’s an unlock puzzle designed to fool a 10-year-old.
Another life hack: bookmarked songs are automatically downloaded. That’s great for junior, who might be using a hand-me-down device that no longer has a cellular plan.
— Ryan Nakashima, AP Business Writer
Facebook is trying to jazz up users’ profiles.
The world’s largest social network is testing new profile videos that can be created from phones and would replace a still profile photo. The seven-second, looping videos play automatically when you look at someone’s profile page. The videos can include sound, but that will play only if you click on the video.
For now, only some iPhone users in California and the U.K. can make them. Any Facebook user can see them. Facebook Inc. doesn’t have a specific date for when it will expand the feature.
— Tali Arbel, AP Technology Writer
Samsung will begin selling its new smartwatch Friday in the U.S., starting at $300.
The South Korean company announced the Gear S2 in August, but gave no details on prices then.
The S2 has a circular frame that can be rotated to scroll through notifications and apps. Past models required swiping, similar to phones, which could tire out fingers given how little fits on each screen. The watch itself is also smaller — roughly the size of the larger version of Apple Watch. For the first time, Samsung’s smartwatch will work with any Android phone, not just Samsung’s, though all features might not work.
What’s not known yet is how good the apps will be. This has been one of the weak points for Samsung’s smartwatch, given that many app developers have focused instead on the Apple Watch and the variety of models running Google’s Android Wear. The S2 runs the little-known Tizen system. Samsung has said it expects about 1,000 apps at launch, but rival watches have many times that.
Apple CEO Tim Cook is getting an award from the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights.
Last October, Cook came out as the first openly gay chief executive of a Fortune 1,000 company. In December, HRC announced that Cook had donated a “substantial” amount to help fund a gay rights initiative in his native Alabama and two other Southern states. The specific amount wasn’t disclosed.
HRC’s Visibility Award is to be presented to Cook on Saturday.
“Through his example and Apple’s commitment to equality, LGBT young people, in particular, can look to Tim Cook’s incredible career and know that there is nothing holding them back,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement. “They can dream as big as their minds allow them to, even if they want to be the CEO of one of the world’s largest companies.”
— Anick Jesdanun, AP Technology Writer
Republished with permission from Associated Press