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Decade in review: What the smartphone has wrought – Japan Today

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When the first Apple iPhone hit the market in 2007, not everyone was convinced it would supplant the flip-phone. When Google’s Android software system arrived a year later, the Blackberry still seemed to have bright future.

But with the iPhone 4 in 2010, featuring a high-resolution display, sleek design and front-facing camera, our collective fate was sealed. Here are 10 ways the smartphone has made its mark over the decade.

Access everywhere

Today some 5 billion smartphones are in use around the world, according to Canalysis Research. The total number of internet subscriptions has soared to 7.2 billion globally from 1.3 billion in 2010, the vast majority of them mobile subscriptions, International Telecommunications Union data shows. The explosion in connectivity has been especially dramatic in the developing world, where there are now more mobile connections than people.

Tech uber alles

Apple Inc, once a niche computer company, is now one of the world’s most valuable companies thanks to the iPhone. The five largest Fortune 500 technology companies – Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Facebook – currently boast a market cap of $4.7 trillion, compared with about $800 billion for the top five in 2010. Not all of that is due to the smartphone, of course, but the mobile-related technologies and services accounted for nearly$4 trillion in economic activity in 2018, according to trade group GSMA.

There’s an app for that

Whether we’re hailing a cab, ordering food, playing a game, finding a date, listening to music or shopping for just about anything, there’s a good chance we’ll be doing it with a smartphone app that didn’t exist in 2010. Many of most popular apps are free, but consumers are still expected to spend more than $120 billion in app stores during 2019, according to App Annie, a mobile apps analytics firm.

Feed me

The endless scroll on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media apps now consumes 34 minutes of every U.S. adult’s day, according to Nielsen. Fewer people are sitting on the sofa to watch live TV at set times, and advertisers are following. Mobile ad spending surpassed TV for the first time in 2018 in terms of percentage share of the U.S. market, according to research firm eMarketer. We can also thank the smartphone for Instagram influencers, “sextortion,” and fake news.

Smile for the (smartphone) camera

Global shipments of digital cameras dropped from their 2010 peak of 121 million to just 19 million units in 2018, according to the Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA). Meantime the latest phones pack as many four camera lenses and cutting edge software that makes it easier than ever to get that perfect shot. The front-facing camera might be the busiest: Google reports that its Android devices take 93 million selfies every day.

Where am I?

The satellite tracking technology known as GPS, combined with information from cell towers and Wi-Fi networks, has made the smartphones incredibly powerful tracking devices. Google maps and its poorer cousins enable even the most directionally impaired find their way around unfamiliar locales with ease.

For the privacy-minded, though, it’s a disaster: Phone companies and app makers routinely record the movements of subscribers and sell that data to advertisers, a $20 billion-a-year business. The data is “anonymized,” but as numerous studies and a recent New York Times investigation have revealed it is often a simple matter to identify who is behind the dot on the map. Nearly 50 percent of companies surveyed by Verizon this year used or planned to soon use smartphone management tools to track their employees.

You can look it up

The 2010 edition of the venerable Encyclopedia Britannica, all 32 volumes and 129 pounds of it, turned out to be the last. But untold barroom arguments or dining room debates can now be settled on the spot: Wikipedia is consulted more than 240 million times daily.

Distracting ourselves to death

In 2018 alone in the United States, 2,628 fatal crashes involved a distracted driver, and of those deadly crashes, about 13% involved mobile phone use, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Forget your wallet

Apple Pay and Google Pay are still afterthoughts for most U.S. consumers, but China may be a harbinger. Alipay and WeChat pay, China’s two big smartphone payment services, have reached a combined adoption rate of over 80% since they were launched around the beginning of the decade, according to a study by Bain. The QR code now peppers storefront windows. Even streetside beggars have adapted, sometimes rejecting cash and asking that payments be made via WeChat Pay or Alipay.

Say what?

Among the major casualties of the smartphone era is the conventional phone call itself: ubiquitous messaging apps have helped make video calls, GIFs, emojis and audio messaging preferred modes of communication. In the UK, for example, the total number of minutes spent on voice calls fell from 254 billion in 2013 to 206 billion in 2018, and the number of text messages dropped from 129 billion to 74 billion over the same period, according to Ofcom. Mobile data usage, meanwhile, jumped almost nine-fold between 2013 and 2018. The number of available emojis has nearly tripled to almost 3,000 since 2010.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

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City to bring back shared-use streets for physical distancing outdoors – CTV Edmonton

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EDMONTON —
The City of Edmonton is putting the finishing touches on a plan to turn some of its streets into shared-use spaces like it did in 2020 at the onset of the pandemic.

Edmonton’s lead urban strategist said a “set of locations similar to 2020 will be implemented with some changes based on previous observed activities” beginning in the spring.

According to Charity Dyke, her team is finishing consulting with stakeholders to finalize the list.

In 2020, 28 kilometres of shared space was found through lane and street closures, like on Saskatchewan Drive and Victoria Promenade.

“Feedback received included appreciation of the extra space provided to Edmontonians to get outside for both recreation and essential trips and desire from some groups for space to be provided on a larger number of roadways,” Dyke said.

“I think it’s a great idea, especially in high-traffic areas,” Summit Drive resident Val Guiltner told CTV News Edmonton. “It does make space for people to ride their bikes and have their strollers out and go for runs in groups, go for bike rides in groups.”

But a resident of a neighbouring community, Scott Mather, found only some of the 2020 shared-space accommodations useful.

Of the hill going past the Victoria Golf Course he said, “That gets a ton of human traffic, so that one totally made sense.”

But if the city were to consider turning Summit Drive into a shared-use path, Mather commented, “We use this street a ton and quite honestly, this sidewalk’s probably sufficient. Our goal is just to get into the river valley and there’s no traffic there.”

LOOKING FOR FEEDBACK

Ward 1 Coun. Andrew Knack asked city administration earlier in the week about expanding the 2020 project.

He considers last year’s experiment mostly successful, noting there were challenges on arterial roads where a lane was taken away.

It’s being left to communities to approach the city if they feel there is a need for a shared-use path there.

“If we have a community that says, ‘Hey, here’s a roadway that gets a lot of foot traffic, gets a lot of bike traffic and it’s a local road,'” Knack said, “why not give them the opportunity to say, ‘Hey, we could designate this a shared street?””

He expects consultations and planning to take another month before any announcements are made.

But, he said there may be potential for the idea to become permanent.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for a long-term way to help with getting people active. I actually think they also have the opportunity to help with traffic safety concerns.”

In 2020, the shared-use paths were active from April to the end of October at a cost of about $119,500 to the city.

That price, Dyke noted, related to putting up signs, was another concern the city was looking to address in 2021.

She also said traffic levels had returned to near pre-pandemic volumes by the end of the fall, when they started to decrease as the province introduced more restrictions. Currently, traffic volumes sit about 19 per cent lower than normal.

According to a University of Alberta study of the effectiveness and safety of the expanded path system, there was a 52 per cent reduction in the number of physical-distancing violations for Saskatchewan Drive, and a 25 per cent reduction on Victoria Promenade. 

Also like last year, the city will continue allowing businesses to expand their patio or storefront onto public street or sidewalk space in 2021.

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Amanda Anderson 

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AJAC announces six finalists for its 2021 Car and Utility Vehicle of the Year awards – Inspired Traveler

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Here is Shopicar! All models of the year and all current promotions.

In the “Canadian Car of the Year” category, the three finalists are the Genesis G80, Kia K5 and Mazda3. Note, this last model is the reigning champion in this category.

The models still in contention for the Canadian Utility of the Year award are the Genesis GV80, the Kia Telluride and the Nissan Rogue.

The Canadian Car of the Year and Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year awards are normally held during the opening ceremonies of the Toronto Auto Show, an event which of course was canceled this year in due to the pandemic.

AJAC has announced that this year’s awards ceremony will be broadcast live on television for the first time. The winners will be revealed on the Global Network’s Morning Show on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. EST.

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Quebec reports 749 new COVID-19 cases, 10 deaths as province expands vaccine access – The Daily Courier

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Quebec continued to escalate its vaccination drive over the weekend, reporting Saturday that the past 24 hours had seen it deliver a single-day high of nearly 20,000 shots to its growing list of eligible residents.

The 19,865 jabs administered on Friday mark the most the province has reported in a single day and come as vaccine shipments ramp up across Canada following numerous international shipment delays.

To date, provincial figures show 532,012 doses of vaccine have been administered out of a total of 638,445 received from the federal government.

Provincial health minister Christian Dube highlighted the upward trend in a tweet on Saturday.

“Vaccinations have [increased] over the last few days and will continue to [increase], with other regions in addition to Montreal beginning mass vaccination next week,” Dube wrote.

Until recently, Quebec has concentrated its vaccination effort on particular groups such as health-care workers, people living in remote regions and seniors in long-term care facilities.

The government began allowing members of the general public to schedule appointments to receive their vaccines recently, with eligibility varying by region. In Montreal and Laval, for example, people over the age of 70 can book appointments, while slots are restricted to people over 80 in other regions.

More regions are scheduled to expand vaccine access to those in different age groups starting next week.

In addition to the vaccine numbers, Quebec reported 749 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday along with 10 new deaths linked to the virus.

Hospitalizations across the province declined by 16 to 601 over the past 24 hours, while the number of patients in intensive care declined by two to 109.

Quebec’s case numbers have stabilized in recent weeks, prompting officials to relax restrictions in some regions.

Starting on March 8, areas such as Estrie and Capitale-Nationale will be designated as “orange zones,” meaning the provincewide curfew will be extended until 9:30 p.m. rather than 8 p.m. More businesses, including restaurants, will also be allowed to open at limited capacity.

Quebec premier Francois Legault has said that Montreal and the surrounding areas will not see any imminent changes in public health restrictions, warning that more contagious variants of the virus could prompt a sharp uptick in the number of cases in the region.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 6, 2021.

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