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Sixteen percent of U.S. adults own a smartwatch – TechCrunch

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Sixteen percent of U.S. adults own a smartwatch – TechCrunch

The latest figures out of NPD show a continued uptick in smartwatch sales, here in the States. The category has been a rare bright spot in an overall flagging wearable space, and the new numbers show gains pretty much across the board. In fact, the study puts smartwatch ownership at 16 percent among U.S. adults as of December — that figure is up from 12 percent a year prior.

Unsurprisingly, it’s a younger demo driving that growth — specifically 18-34-year-olds, where smartwatch ownership is around 23 percent. Of course, Apple and the like have been looking to increase purchases with the older crowd, courtesy of more serious health feature like last year’s addition of an ECG meter.

Apple, Samsung and Fitbit continue to dominate the market, making up 88 percent of the nearly $5 billion in sales tallied for the year ending in November. But companies like Fossil and Garmin made some marketshare gains. Google, naturally, will be looking to make a larger dent in the market, with its recent purchase of Fossil IP. Wear OS’s growth has been pretty flat, but that could change in 2019 with the rumored arrival of the Pixel Watch.

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Judge says Washington state cyberstalking law violates free speech

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The ruling came after a retired Air Force Major, Richard Rynearson III, sued to have the law overturned. He claimed that Kitsap County threatened to prosecute him under the cyberstalking law for criticizing an activist involved with a memorial to Japanese victims of US internment camps during World War II. While Rynearson would use “invective, ridicule, and harsh language,” the judge said, his language was neither threatening nor obscene.

Officials had contended that the law held up because it targeted conduct, not the speech itself. They also maintained that Rynearson hadn’t shown evidence of a serious threat — just that the prosecutor’s office would see how Rynearson behaved and take action if necessary. A county court had already tossed out the activist’s restraining order against Rynearson over free speech.

It’s not clear whether Washington will appeal the decision. If the ruling stays, though, it could force legislators to significantly narrow the scope if it wants a cyberstalking law to remain in place. This might also set a precedent that could affect legislation elsewhere in the country.

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Steam now supports NextVR’s virtual reality broadcasts

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The Steam version of the software works with the Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive and Windows Mixed Reality devices. NextVR rolled out an iteration of the app for the Rift late last year, and it has supported the Vive and Windows Mixed Reality headsets longer than that. Its arrival on Steam means users don’t have to download it from the headsets’ app stores, though, such as HTC’s Viveport, which used to be infamously buggy.

David Cole, NextVR CEO, said in a statement:

“NextVR is driven to engage the largest possible audience to experience our content in virtual reality. Steam is a critically important platform to reach active virtual reality users. We’re excited to put our unparalleled live sports and entertainment experiences at the fingertips of the vibrant Steam user-base.”

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Instagram code hints at Pinterest-style public collections

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There’s no mention of following other collections, although it might just be a matter of time.

Instagram told TechCrunch only that it’s “not testing this.” However, that only means that the team isn’t publicly experimenting with its widened Collections feature at the moment. This doesn’t preclude future tests or a full-fledged release.

There are strong incentives to launch this feature, too. Instagram wants shopping to be a core part of its money-making strategy, and public Collections would go a long way toward this. Brands could launch larger virtual stores (versus a handful of products in posts and ads), while social media stars could showcase their sponsors’ wares in one convenient place. And then there’s the question of thwarting competition. Instagram is already much larger than Pinterest with over 1 billion active monthly users versus 250 million, but this would reduce the temptation to switch to Pinterest when you want to share more than just a photo or two.

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