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Celebrating VIR FIDELIS June 16, 2022

Happy Golfing everyone.  Proud to be part of Farrell life. 

Clever Stereo Camera Uses Sony Wireless Camera Modules

Stereophotography cameras are difficult to find, so we’re indebted to [DragonSkyRunner] for sharing their build of an exceptionally high-quality example. A stereo camera has two separate lenses and sensors a fixed distance apart, such that when the two resulting images are viewed individually with each eye there is a 3D effect. This camera takes two individual Sony cameras and mounts them on a well-designed wooden chassis, but that simple description hides a much more interesting and complex reality.

Sony once tested photography waters with the QX series — pair of unusual mirrorless camera models which took the form of just the sensor and lens.  A wireless connection to a smartphone allows for display and data transfer. This build uses two of these, with a pair of Android-running Odroid C2s standing in for the smartphones. Their HDMI video outputs are captured by a pair of HDMI capture devices hooked up to a Raspberry Pi 4, and there are a couple of Arduinos that simulate mouse inputs to the Odroids. It’s a bit of a Rube Goldberg device, but it allows the system to use Sony’s original camera software. An especially neat feature is that the camera unit and display unit can be parted for remote photography, making it an extremely versatile camera.

It’s good to see a stereo photography camera designed specifically for high-quality photography, previous ones we’ve seen have been closer to machine vision systems.

How to see who subscribes to you on YouTube

Properly managing your YouTube account often means keeping track of who subscribes to you. Your collective subscriber count is important, but it also helps to know who subscribes to you. Let’s go over how to see your subscribers on YouTube.

Read more: How to loop videos on YouTube

Experts raise concerns about the use of a predictive child welfare algorithm in Allegheny County, PA, and its potential to harden racial disparity in the system (Associated Press)

Associated Press:
Experts raise concerns about the use of a predictive child welfare algorithm in Allegheny County, PA, and its potential to harden racial disparity in the system  —  Inside a cavernous stone fortress in downtown Pittsburgh, attorney Robin Frank defends parents at one of their lowest points …

Aimbot Does it in Hardware

Anyone who has played an online shooter game in the past two or three decades has almost certainly come across a person or machine that cheats at the game by auto-aiming. For newer games with anti-cheat, this is less of a problem, but older games like Team Fortress have been effectively ruined by these aimbots. These types of cheats are usually done in software, though, and [Kamal] wondered if he would be able to build an aim bot that works directly on the hardware instead.

First, we’ll remind everyone frustrated with the state of games like TF2 that this is a proof-of-concept robot that is unlikely to make any aimbots worse or more common in any games. This is mostly because [Kamal] is training his machine to work in Aim Lab, a first-person shooter training simulation, and not in a real multiplayer videogame. The robot works by taking a screenshot of his computer in Python and passing the information through a computer vision algorithm which recognizes high-contrast targets. From there a PID controller is used to tell a series of omniwheels attached to the mouse where to point, and when the cursor is in the hitbox a mouse click is triggered.

While it might seem straightforward, building the robot and then, more importantly, tuning the PID controller took [Kamal] over two months before he was able to rival pro-FPS shooters at the aim trainer. It’s an impressive build though, and if one of his omniwheel motors hadn’t burned out it may have exceeded the top human scores on the platform. If you would like a bot that makes you worse at a game instead of better, though, head over to this build which plays Valorant by using two computers to pass game information between.

A look at Zenly, a Snap-owned social mapping app still operating in Russia amid bans and exits of other Western apps; Zenly had 51M+ downloads in Russia in 2021 (Andrew Deck/Rest of World)

Andrew Deck / Rest of World:
A look at Zenly, a Snap-owned social mapping app still operating in Russia amid bans and exits of other Western apps; Zenly had 51M+ downloads in Russia in 2021  —  The app saw 51 million downloads in Russia in 2021.  —  On March 1, 2022, in the days following Russia’s Ukraine invasion …

Apple AirPods Max review: Ecosystem-only excellence

Ever since Apple acquired Beats in 2014, it’s been obvious Apple wants to get more into the consumer audio space. The original AirPods were a hit despite being awful, but the AirPods Pro are among the best true wireless earbuds you can get. So naturally, we were excited yet skeptical when the AirPods Max were announced.

Is this just another overpriced Apple product, or are they actually good?

Plant Growth Accelerated Tremendously with LEDs

[GreatScott!] was bummed to see his greenhouse be empty and lifeless in winter. So, he set out to take the greenhouse home with him. Well, at least, a small part of it. First, he decided to produce artificial sunlight, setting up a simple initial experiment for playing with different wavelength LEDs. How much can LEDs affect plant growth, really? This is the research direction that Würth Elektronik, supporting his project, has recently been expanding into. They’ve been working on extensive application notes, explaining the biological aspects of it for us — a treasure trove of resources available at no cost, that hackers can and should learn from.

Initially, [GreatScott!] obtained LEDs in four different colors – red, ‘hyper red’, deep blue, and daylight spectrum. The first three are valued because their specific wavelengths are absorbed well by plants. The use of daylight LEDs though has been controversial.  Nevertheless, he points out that the plant might require different wavelengths for things other than photosynthesis, and the daylight LEDs sure do help assess the plants visually as the experiment goes on.

Next,  [GreatScott!] borrowed parts of Würth’s LED driver designs, creating an Arduino PWM driver with simple potentiometers. He used this to develop his own board to host the LEDs.

An aluminum PCB increases heat dissipation, prolonging the LEDs lifespan.  [GreatScott!] reflowed the LEDs onto it with solder paste, only to find that the ‘hyper red’ LEDs died during the process. Thankfully, by the time this problem reared its head, he managed to obtain the official horticulture devkit, with an LED panel ready to go.

[GreatScott!’s] test subjects were Arugula plants, whose leaves you often find on prosciutto pizza. Having built a setup with two different sets of flower pots, one LED-adorned and one LED-less, he put both of them on his windowsill. The plants were equally exposed to sunlight and equally watered. The LED duty cycle was set to ballpark values.

The results were staggering, as you can see in the picture above — no variable changing except the LEDs being used. This experiment, even including a taste test with a pizza as a test substrate, was a huge success, and [GreatScott!] recommends that we hit Würth up for free samples as we embark on our own plant growth improvement journeys.

Horticulture (aka plant growing) is one of the areas where hackers, armed with troves of freely available knowledge, can make big strides — and we’re not even talking about the kind of plants our commenters are sure to mention. The field of plant growth is literally fruitful and ripe for the picking. You can accomplish a whole lot of change with surprisingly little effort. The value of the plants on your windowsill doesn’t have to be purely decorative, and a small desk-top setup you hack together, can easily scale up! Some hackers understand that, and we’ve started seeing automated growing solutions way before Raspberry Pi was even a thing. The best part is, that you only need a few LEDs to start.

We thank [MendesL] for sharing this with us!

Uber and Lyft extend legal fee coverage to drivers sued under Oklahoma’s forthcoming abortion law

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Uber and Lyft have both pledged to cover legal fees in case their drivers are sued under Oklahoma’s restrictive abortion bill, according to a report from CNBC. While the bill has not yet been signed into law, Republican Governor Kevin Stitt is expected to approve it within the next few days.

On Friday, Oklahoma’s House passed the Heartbeat Act (SB 1503), a law that bans abortions at around six weeks of pregnancy — much earlier than many women become aware that they’re pregnant — and now awaits Governor Stitt’s signature. Like a similar anti-abortion law recently passed in Texas, Oklahoma’s bill also gives individuals the right to sue someone who “aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion.” This includes the clinic that…

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Protect your iPad mini 5 (2019) with these great screen protectors

Looking for the best of the best screen protectors for your iPad mini 5 (2019)? Well, look no further! These are the toughest and highest-rated screen protectors out there that’ll be sure to save your screen in one way or another. Here are the best iPad mini 5 screen protectors.

Tempered glass trophy

amFilm Glass Screen Protector for iPad Mini 5

Staff Pick

Make sure your iPad mini’s screen is safe and secure with help from the amFilm Glass Screen Protector. This ultra-clear and highly durable screen protector is designed to protect against scrapes and scratches while still being super responsive to touch. The amFilm Glass Screen Protector is incredibly easy to install.

$7 at Amazon$8 at Walmart

2 for the price of 1

Supershieldz Tempered Glass Screen Protector

Keep it safe and keep it secure with the protective and reliable Supershieldz Tempered Glass Screen Protector. This particular screen protector is designed with rounded edges and 99.99% HD clarity. You get two screen protectors in one pack too!

$10 at Amazon

Save your screen from scratches

JETech Screen Protector for Nintendo Switch Lite 2019

Protect your iPad mini 5’s screen and save it from brutal scratches and dust with some assistance from the JETech Screen Protector. This particular protector is highly rated because the extreme hardness and fingerprint-free design are both practical and rugged. At the same time, the bubble-free easy install makes it easy to stick and protect.

$8 at Amazon

Protect ya’ tech!

Tech Armor Screen Protector

Sick and tired of those tempered glass protectors? Then take a peek at the Tech Armor Screen Protector. This additional layer of protection is made from Tech Armor AntiGlare Clear Film and is backed by a lifetime replacement warranty just in case anything goes wrong.

$9 at Amazon

Trusted name

Spigen Tempered Glass Screen Protector (Glas.tR EZ Fit)

$15 at Amazon

Spigen is a trusted name brand that we have used for years for mobile accessories that protect our devices. Their tempered glass screen protector has an “EZ” installation kit, and the glass has an oleophobic coating for daily fingerprint resistance. This protector will keep your screen safe from anything you throw at it.

Easy on the eyes

iCarez (Anti-Glare) Matte Screen Protector for Apple iPad Mini 4

$8 at Amazon

Don’t like glare? No problem! This anti-glare screen protector has a matte finish, so you don’t need to worry about glare from light sources ever again. It still retains touch sensitivity and responsiveness as if nothing’s there so that you won’t notice it.

Protect that cute mini iPad

The iPad mini 5 is always a marvel due to the compact tablet size and how much you can achieve with such a small package. No matter what you’re doing, you’re bound to put that iPad mini through its paces, so you should always be mindful of protecting it from scratches and scuffs.

If we may make some recommendations, we like the amFilm Glass Screen Protector the most because we’ve used the brand for multiple electronic devices and have no issues. Plus, it’s easy to install and durable, and you can’t go wrong with the price. We also like the Tech Armor Glass Screen Protector because it is made with anti-glare HD film and even has a lifetime replacement warranty, just in case. And if you don’t like dealing with glare, you just can’t go wrong with the iCarez Anti-Glare Matte Screen Protector.

Regardless of what you end up choosing, we hope you find the best iPad mini 5 screen protector for you and your lifestyle! Good luck, and happy shopping!

How I made my own Hue light strips for cheap

Credit: Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

I’ve experimented with a variety of remote work arrangements over the last decade. From a bedroom setup to a couch or a dining table, I’ve done it all. But when I recently started rebuilding my home office, I knew good lighting and enough of it was going to be essential. This was all the more important because despite having large windows, my apartment just doesn’t get enough natural light. It’s well documented that lighting can affect mood, productivity, and mental health.

Our picks: The best smart bulbs | The best smart lamps

How to take on Tapu Fini in Pokémon Go

Are you ready for Tapu Fini in Pokémon Go?

As the Season of Alola presses on, the fourth and final Guardian Deity of Alola will be here soon. Tapu Fini is coming to raids in Pokémon Go, and we here at iMore have everything you need to know to beat it and add it to your collection! And be sure to check out our Best Pokémon Go Accessories, so you can be fully equipped for your Pokémon Journey!

Who is Tapu Fini in Pokémon Go?

One of the Legendary Guardian Deities of Alola, Tapu Fini serves alongside Tapu Koko, Tapu Lele, and Tapu Bulu to protect the Alolan Islands. Tapu Fini, the guardian deity of Poni island has full control over water and fog. It releases a mystical fog during battle that can send enemies into a self-destructive trance, but it can also create water capable of purifying anything it touches. Although it remains skeptical of humans, it will allow them to attempt to pass through its fog to reach the enchanted water.

Mega Evolution strategies for Tapu Fini in Pokémon Go?

There are a handful of options for Mega Evolution when countering (Pokémon), focusing on each of its weaknesses: Poison, Grass, and Electric.

Mega Gengar

If at all possible, Mega Gengar is the Mega Evolved Pokémon you want to bring to this fight. As a Ghost and Poison type, it resists Fairy and Fighting type damage, while having no weaknesses Tapu Fini can exploit. Poison isn’t strongly represented among the top counters, so you’ll want to coordinate with the rest of your raid party to get the most out of that Mega Boost. Although Mega Gengar lacks a Poison type fast move, with Lick and Sludge Bomb it’s still the top performing counter in this raid.

Mega Manectric

If you’re mounting an Electric based offensive in this raid, Mega Manectric is the best choice for a Mega Evolution. A pure Electric type, it brings no useful resistances, but also no relevant weaknesses to the fight. Although there are many Electric types among the top counters, you’ll still want to coordinate with the rest of your raid party if it is safe to do so, in order to get the most out of the same type Mega Boost. Thunder Fang and Wild Charge are the moves you’ll want your Manectric to know.

Mega Venusaur

For a Grass based strategy, Mega Venusaur is ideal. It’s a Grass and Poison type, meaning it resists Water, Fighting, and Fairy type damage, but Tapu Fini’s Ice type move will hit extra hard. Because of its secondary Poison type, it will boost the rare Poison type counters and the Grass types on the field, but it’s still a good idea to coordinate with the rest of your raid party if possible. Vine Whip is the fast move you’ll want your Venusaur to know and Frenzy Plant is the ideal charged move.

Honorable mentions

While they will not perform as well, the following Mega Evolved Pokémon can also work for this raid:

Mega Beedrill with Poison Jab and Sludge Bomb
Mega Ampharos with Volt Switch and Zap Cannon

What are the best counters for Tapu Fini in Pokémon Go?

Tapu Fini is a Fairy and Water type with access to Water, Fairy, Fighting, and Ice type moves. Its weaknesses include Grass, Electric, and Poison leaving room for winning multiple winning strategies.

Zekrom

The Legendary mascot of Pokémon White, Zekrom is the top non-Shadow and non-Mega counter in this raid. It’s a Dragon and Electric type, so it resists Water type damage; however, it takes increased damage from Ice and Fairy type moves. Zekrom has also had relatively limited availability, so many players don’t have the Candy to power it up. Still, if you have one, Charge Beam and Wild Charge are the ideal moves for countering Tapu Fini.

Zarude

The Mythical Pokémon, Zarude is another excellent counter for Tapu Fini. This Dark and Grass type takes super effective damage from most of Tapu Fini’s move types, only resisting the Water type moves, but because that’s half of the Guardian’s moves, it’s a safer choice than it seems at first glance. Unfortunately, Zarude has extremely limited availability: only one per account and only from completing a Timed Research line that is no longer available. Still, if you have one, Vine Whip and Power Whip are the moves you’ll want it to know.

Thundurus (Therian)

One of the Forces of Nature from Unova, Therian forme Thundurus is another great choice for this raid. He’s a Flying and Electric type, so Ice type moves will deal super effective damage, while he resists Fighting type. Although his Therian forme hasn’t been available as often as the Incarnate forme, both share the same Candy, so most active players will have enough to power him up. Volt Switch and Thunderbolt is the moveset you’ll want your Thundurus to know when going up against Tapu Fini.

Raikou

Raikou, one of the Legendary Beasts of Johto, performs very well against Tapu Fini. It’s a pure Electric type, so offers no relevant resistances or weaknesses, but it’s been available so many times in so many different ways, that many active players have entire teams of powered up Raikou. If you’re bringing Raikou to this fight, you’ll want Thunder Shock and Wild Charge for its moves.

Roserade

The only Poison type to make our top counters list is the Sinnoh Stone Evolution, Roserade. It’s a Grass and Poison type, so it resists all of Tapu Fini’s moves except for Ice Beam, which deals super effective damage. Roserade has also been featured in multiple events, including Community Day, so most active players have had the chance to add it to their roster. In a vacuum, it’s best moves for this fight are Poison Jab and Grass Knot; however, Razor Leaf or Sludge Bomb could work better with the right Mega Boost.

Electivire

Another Sinnoh Stone Evolution, Electivire is a great choice for this raid. It’s a pure Electric type, so it has no relevant weaknesses or resistances to Tapu Fini’s moves. With its first stage as a Gen I Pokémon and having a baby stage that has often been featured in eggs, Electivire was common enough even before it got the Community Day treatment, but now, its readily available. Thunder Shock and Wild Charge is the moveset you’ll want your Electivire to know for this fight.

Magnezone

Another great choice for this raid is the Gen IV evolution of Magneton, Magnezone. As a Steel and Electric type, it resists Fairy and Ice type damage, but Fighting type moves deal super effective damage. Magnezone does require spinning a PokéStop equipped with a Magnetic Lure Module in order to evolve, but with Magneton as a Gen I Pokémon, it’s still very easy to obtain. If you’re bringing Magnezone to this fight, you’ll want it to know Spark and Wild Charge.

Tapu Bulu

One of the other Guardian Deities of Alola, Tapu Bulu is a great counter for Tapu Fini. It’s a Grass and Fairy type, so it resists Water and Fighting type damage, but Tapu Fini’s Ice Beam will deal super effective damage. Tapu Bulu has only had one run in raids, but it was very recent, so most active players had the chance to catch a few. Bullet Seed and Grass Knot is the moveset you’ll want your Tapu Bulu to know in this raid.

Zapdos

One of Kanto’s Legendary Birds, Zapdos performs well against Tapu Fini. Its Fying and Electric typing make it especially suceptible to Ice type damage, but resistant to Fighting type moves. Despite being a Legendary, Zapdos has been available so many times in so many different ways that there’s just no good reason not to have at least one or two already powered up. If you are bringing Zapdos to this fight, you’ll want Thunder Shock for its fast move and Thunderbolt for the charged.

Luxray

Last but not least is the Sinnoh native Luxray. This pure Electric type won’t bring any useful resistances to the fight, but it’s not taking super effective damage from any of Tapu Fini’s moves either. Its also been featured in many events, including a Community Day, so most active players have had ample opportunity to add it to their roster. Spark and Wild Charge is the moveset you’ll want your Luxray to know for this raid.

Back ups?

Although most players will be able to make a team of the best counters, if you’re finding a gap in your team, there are plenty of back ups who work well in larger groups. Just make sure you’re dodging and any of the following could be a decent back up:

Gengar with Lick and Sludge Bomb
Tapu Koko with Volt Switch and Thunderbolt
Venusaur with Vine Whip and Frenzy Plant
Tangrowth with Vine Whip and Power Whip
Mewtwo with Confusion and Thunderbolt
Celebi with Magical Leaf and Leaf Storm
Toxicroak with Poison Jab and Sludge Bomb
Torterra with Razor Leaf and Frenzy Plant
Thundurus (Incarnate) with Thunder Shock and Thunder
Sceptile with Bullet Seed and Frenzy Plant
Victreebel with Acid and Leaf Blade
Jolteon with Thunder Shock and Thunderbolt
Regigigas with Hidden Power (Poison) and Giga Impact
Manectric with Thunder Fang and Wild Charge
Exeggutor with Bullet Seed and Solar Beam
Simisage with Vine Whip and Grass Knot
Leafeon with Razor Leaf and Leaf Blade
Alolan Golem with Volt Switch and Wild Charge
Zacian (Hero of Many Battles) with Quick Attack and Wild Charge
Chesnaught with Vine Whip and Solar Beam

Shadow Pokémon?

The rebalance of Shadow Pokémon rescued from Team GO Rocket make them excellent glass cannons. Not only are their stats boosted, but during special events or with Elite TMs, it’s possible to change their moves. If you happen to have any of the following Pokémon with the right moveset, they will work very well in this Raid:

Shadow Raikou with Thunder Shock and Wild Charge
Shadow Electivire with Thunder Shock and Wild Charge
Shadow Magnezone with Spark and Wild Charge
Shadow Zapdos with Thunder Shock and Thunderbolt
Shadow Venusaur with Vine Whip and Frenzy Plant
Shadow Tangrowth with Vine Whip and Power Whip
Shadow Mewtwo with Psycho Cut and Thunderbolt
Shadow Torterra with Razor Leaf and Frenzy Plant
Shadow Exeggutor with Bullet Seed and Solar Beam
Shadow Victreebel with Acid and Leaf Blade
Shadow Vileplume with Acid and Sludge Bomb
Shadow Skuntank with Poison Jab and Sludge Bomb
Shadow Magneton with Thunder Shock and Discharge
Shadow Porygon-Z with Lock-On and Solar Beam
Shadow Manectric with Thunder Fang and Wild Charge
Shadow Cacturne with Poison Jab and Grass Knot.

Note: Shadow Pokémon really shine in this raid. Shadow Raikou, Shadow Electivire, and Shadow Magnezone outperform every other Pokémon in the best counters list, expect Mega Evolutions. Shadow Zapdos, Shadow Venusaur, Shadow Tangrowth, and Shadow Mewtwo are only beat out by Megas and Zekrom.

How many players does it take to beat Tapu Fini in Pokémon Go?

With the best counters, three top level trainers can handle Tapu Fini, but if you’re lower level or lacking the best counters, you may want four or five.

Weather conditions that can impact this Raid include:

Rain will boost Tapu Fini’s Water type attacks, as well as your Electric type counters
Cloudy/Overcast weather will boost its Fairy and Fighting type moves, as well as your Poison type counters
Snow will boost its Ice type move
Sunny/Clear weather will boost your Grass type counters

Questions about taking on (Pokémon) in Pokémon Go?

Do you have any questions about taking on the Legendary Guardian, Tapu Fini in Pokémon Go? Got any tips for your fellow Trainers? Drop them in the comments below, and be sure to check out our Complete Pokédex, so you can be the very best like no one ever was!

Hacking Toy RC Cars With The HackRF One

The origin story for many who’d call themselves a member of the hacker community usually starts with taking things apart as a child just to see how they worked. For [Radoslav], that trend doesn’t seem to have slowed down, and he’s continued taking toys apart. Although since it’s his daughters little radio controlled car, he stuck to a non-destructive teardown. The result? He’s able to control the car with his laptop through a HackRF One SDR transceiver as shown in the video below the break.

[Radoslav] is no stranger to reverse engineering embedded devices, IoT gadgets, and probably more. So he started with what information was publicly available about the radio control interface in use. Many electronic devices sold in the US must be certified by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) and prominently display their ID number, and this toy was no exception. The FCC database gave [Radoslav] enough information to know that the communication protocol is modulated with GFSK, a type of Frequency Shift Keying.

He fired up his favorite radio signal analysis tool and and got to work on the protocol itself. Along the way he found that communication between the car and controller is bidirectional but also very easy to get around. The result is that he can drive the car around with his laptop- definitely a cool hack, but for this one, the journey was surely the goal, not the destination.

If hacking on RC cars really gets your wheels turning, you might like this little RC car that can drive on the ceiling. Or if you’re feeling a bit hungry, check out how you can use the HackRF to nab a table at your local restaurant.

Baidu and Pony.ai become first robotaxi services to operate without safety drivers in Beijing

Image: Baidu

Baidu and Pony.ai have been given permission to operate their autonomous vehicles without safety drivers in Beijing, a first for robotaxi services in China (via CNBC). Although both companies now no longer need a staff member in the driver’s seat, they’ll still need a supervisor present somewhere in the vehicle.

Baidu and Pony.ai can’t operate throughout the entire city of Beijing just yet — they’re limited to a 60 square kilometer (23.1 square mile) area in Yizhuang, Beijing, the home of about 300,000 residents. While Baidu can deploy just 10 autonomous vehicles in the area, CNBC says Pony.ai can only operate four. Both companies have plans to expand the number of vehicles on the road (with Baidu shooting for 30), but it’s unclear how…

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A look at the challenges Apple is facing as it develops its own wireless modem, expected to replace Qualcomm chips in 2023 iPhones (Christopher Mims/Wall Street Journal)

Christopher Mims / Wall Street Journal:
A look at the challenges Apple is facing as it develops its own wireless modem, expected to replace Qualcomm chips in 2023 iPhones  —  A series of moves by the tech giant, as well as signals from its suppliers, make clear that it aims to start designing the modems of the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch.

Telegram now lets users send cryptocurrency through TON blockchain spinoff

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Telegram now lets users send Toncoin, the cryptocurrency built off of Telegram’s abandoned blockchain effort, directly from chats within the messaging app (via Protocol). In a post on Twitter, TON (The Open Network), announced that Telegram now supports Toncoin transactions with no fees attached.

TON included a short video showing how crypto transactions work on the platform. To get started, you’ll have to add Telegram’s Wallet bot to your attachment menu, which allows you to “purchase cryptocurrency by bank card, exchange, and transfer to other wallets.”

You can now send #Toncoin directly within Telegram chats!

It’s a new way to send Toncoin without transaction fees to any Telegram user. With this service, you’ll no longer need to…

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5 Android apps you shouldn’t miss this week – Android Apps Weekly

Welcome to the 430th edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the big headlines from the last week:

A report circulated this week outlines Elon Musk’s alleged ideas to increase Twitter’s revenue. Among the ideas includes monetizing tweets, increasing celebrity engagement, and slashing the salaries of high-level executives. It was apparently part of his bid to buy Twitter. We don’t know how feasible a lot of that stuff is, but you can hit the link to learn more about it.
Google is giving people more power to remove personally identifiable information from the web. This week, Google gave people the ability to request that phone numbers, email addresses, and physical addresses be removed from Google Search results. Google processes the requests in a few days and your information should be gone. We like this move a lot and recommend that people do it.
Last week, we talked about the shutdown of the disaster that was CNN Plus. It turns out, it was worse than we thought because it actually shut down two days early. It was set to shut down on April 30th, but shut down on April 28th instead. It’s one of the worst streaming services launches of all time and draws comparison to Quibi quite a lot.
Several major tech companies were duped into giving personal data to hackers. The process is a little complicated. However, the short version is that hackers pretended to be a legitimate company and submitted fake legal requests. The big tech companies responded and gave away data. Google, Apple, Twitter, Discord, and several others were included. Hit the link to learn more.
The Google Play Store now shows you how apps collect and share your data. It’s 100% mandatory for app developers to include this data starting from July 20th, 2022. The information includes what data is collected, how it is used, what third parties it shares with, and several other pieces of data. You should see this rolling out in the coming weeks.

Phantom

Price: Free

How to not throw your Joy-Con at your TV while playing Switch Sports

Be safe and careful when you’re getting a workout with Nintendo’s latest collection.

Nintendo Switch Sports is here, bringing back the fun of Wii Sports for Nintendo’s newest console. Whether you want to go bowling or play a game of golf, you can head back to the good ol’ days of Nintendo’s huge hit. Unfortunately, it also means reliving the infamous days of Wii Remote controllers slipping from players’ hands and flying into TV screens.

This phenomenon was so widespread it prompted an amusing and relatable Hard Drive article, along with an anecdote from IGN editor Kat Bailey, where she accidentally threw her shoe at her TV during a Switch Sports preview. In order avoid going from fun exercise to frustratedly replacing your TV when playing Nintendo Switch Sports, there’s a few important steps to keep in mind.

Clear out an open space

Nintendo Switch Sports is just one of the Switch’s many great exercise games but most of them require enough space for you to safely play. You don’t need a massive open floor plan, but take your living space and how much room you personally need into consideration. You’re going to be swinging your arms around, as well as kicking repeatedly.

Depending on how tall you are and how long your arms and legs are, you might need a different amount of space than someone else. My 6-foot-2-inch frame needs a lot of space, far more than someone smaller. Figure out where you intend to stand, then stretch your arms and legs out in every direction, but especially towards your TV. If you can’t fully extend your limbs without hitting something, you don’t have enough space.

Double-check your Joy-Con straps

While technically you can use your Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons to play Nintendo Switch Sports without using the wrist straps, this is a very, very bad idea. Not having the strap around your wrist exponentially increases the chances of the Joy-Con flying out of your hands and damaging your TV.

Just wearing the strap isn’t enough, however, since you’ll also have to make sure it fits properly. Everybody has different hands and wrists, so adjust the strap and tighten it as necessary to make sure you can play with enthusiasm and energy while not causing damage.

This also goes for the leg strap. While less of a risk for damaging your TV, it’s entirely possible that if it isn’t fastened properly, it’ll slip off your leg. Make sure you tighten it well, especially if you’re wearing non-baggy clothing. Try jumping up and down before playing to see if you feel it slipping.

Be mindful of pets!

This plays into the above notes on clearing out an open space, but it’s possibly even more important. If you’ve got pets, especially dogs or cats, you’ll want to be aware of them so you don’t injure them or damage your TV. Above, you can see my cat Blue. He’s sweet, but he also loves randomly getting between my feet. If I’m playing Nintendo Switch Sports, I need to be sure I know where he is at all times.

Check the steadiness of your TV

In some ways, this is the trickiest step since you don’t want to accidentally damage your TV when checking it. However, you want to make sure that the vibrations from you stomping around in front of your entertainment setup won’t cause your TV to fall or get knocked over, especially if you have a much smaller TV. Anybody living on a ground floor probably doesn’t need to worry, but if you live on higher floor, your TV is precariously balanced, and you happen to have less support underneath your feet, vibrations will carry further and could potentially cause it to fall over.

To safely check the steadiness of your TV, try stomping your feet hard right in front of the entertainment center. As you stomp, look for any wavering or movement on the TV that looks concerning. If you need to tighten or rearrange something so it’s more secure, now you’ll know.

Have fun!

Once you take a few moments to ensure everything is safe and secure, have some fun! Nintendo Switch Sports includes multiple games for players to enjoy, with more coming in the future through updates.

Healthy fun

Nintendo Switch Sports

$50 at Amazon
$50 at Best Buy
$50 at GameStop

Get your kicks

Nintendo Switch Sports is a great way to ensure you’re staying active while also having fun. Just take a few minutes to go over some steps and make sure you don’t damage your TV before playing.

Secure fit

Nintendo Switch Joy-Con Leg Strap

$$10 at Amazon
$10 at Best Buy
$10 at GameStop

Keep your Joy-Con secure

Grabbing a Nintendo Switch Joy-Con Leg Strap isn’t just a great way to keep things secure when you’re kicking. It’s required for some games, like Ring Fit Adventure and Nintendo Switch Sports.

How to make the most of Legendary Raid Hours in Pokémon Go

Every week, Pokémon Go hosts a Legendary Raid Hour. Here’s what you need to know!

In Pokémon Go, Legendary Raids are always available at some Gyms, but once a week they take over virtually all Gyms for an entire hour. These Legendary Raid Hours provide a chance for players to get together with a team and face several of the current Legendary Raid Boss in one quick go. How do they work, and what are they currently offering? Read ahead to find out, and be sure to check out our best Pokémon Go accessories so you can be fully equipped on your Pokémon Journey!

What are Legendary Raid Hours in Pokémon Go?

A feature originally introduced in June 2019, Legendary Raid Hours are a weekly event in which virtually all Gyms are taken over by the current Legendary raid boss. Unlike normal raids, these raids last for the entire hour. These are still Legendary raids, meaning they require multiple players, so players are encouraged to team up for the hour so they can move from Gym to Gym until they’ve exhausted their Raid Passes or the hour is complete. If it isn’t safe in your area to coordinate with a team, you can still participate using Remote Raid Passes and an online team.

When are the next Legendary Raid Hours in Pokémon Go?

Legendary Raid Hours are held every Wednesday evening from 6 to 7 PM local time.

May’s Legendary Raid Hours will be held on the following dates:

May 4: Mega Latias* and Mega Latios*
May 11: Tapu Fini
May 18: Tapu Fini
May 25: Tapu Koko, Tapu Lele, Tapu Bulu, and Tapu Fini

Pokémon with the potential to be Shiny are indicated with an asterisk.

Questions about Legendary Raid Hours in Pokémon Go?

Do you have questions about Legendary Raid Hours? Any guess as to what Pokémon might be featured when they return? Drop us a comment below, and be sure to check out our Complete Pokédex, as well as our many Pokémon Go guides so you too can become a Pokémon Master!

Go hands-free with one of these fantastic iPhone car mounts

Why do you need an iPhone car mount? It’s now illegal in most places to hold your phone and use it while you drive. Using one of the best car phone mounts is vital if you want to use your iPhone while driving, whether it’s to answer calls, play music, or get directions. A great overall option is the Kenu Airframe+. Here are some of the best iPhone car mount options you can buy.

Best overall: Kenu Airframe+ Vent Mount

The Kenu Airframe+ is one of our favorite iPhone car mounts. It’s affordable, installs easily into your car’s vent without blocking airflow, and can expand to hold even bigger-sized devices. The sides clamp on to your iPhone to give it a secure fit, and you won’t have to worry about your device falling while you’re driving.

Pros:

Secure
Easy to install
Expandable

Cons:

Angle not adjustable

Best overall

Kenu Airframe+ Vent Mount

$20 at Amazon

$20 at Walmart

Simply works

There are no bells and whistles here, but this simple iPhone car mount does the job well.

Most reliable: iOttie Easy One Touch 5 – Black

The iOttie Easy One Touch 5 is a great, reliable car mount. As mentioned in our review, we love how it cradles the iPhone securely and has such a strong suction cup. The adhesive dashboard pad means you’ll always have a smooth surface to mount on, and we found it quite easy to set up and install. You can adjust your iPhone to just the right angle with one hand. It actually fits just about any smartphone, even with a case on, and the magnetic cord organizer is a nice touch.

Pros:

Secure cradle grip
Adjustable arm
Easy set up
Fits any smartphone
Magnetic cord organizer
One-handed operation

Cons:

Needs smooth surface
Dashboard pad can be hard to remove

Most reliable

iOttie Easy One Touch 5 – Black

$25 at Amazon

Every angle

Hold just about any smartphone in any case at your preferred angle.

Best MagSafe option: Belkin Car Vent Mount PRO with MagSafe

If you have an iPhone 12 series handset or newer, you can use all of the best MagSafe accessories, including the Belkin Car Vent Mount PRO with MagSafe. As described in our review, it’s dead simple to use, your iPhone will just snap into place. Just be sure that if you’re using a case, you use a MagSafe-compatible case. Otherwise, the magnetic mount won’t be strong enough.

Pros:

Easy to use
Reliable
Adjusts to different angles and orientations

Cons:

Need to have iPhone 12 or newer
Must use a MagSafe-compatible case (or no case)

Best MagSafe option

Belkin Car Vent Mount PRO with MagSafe – silver

$40 at Amazon

$40 at Apple

MagSafe-compatible

This dead-simple little car mount is engineered with official MagSafe technology.

Most perfect fit: ProClip Mounting Solutions Adjustable iPhone Holder

ProClip offers custom mounting solutions that you build on its site. You enter your iPhone model and vehicle make, and ProClip’s site points you to the specific mounts you need to mount your iPhone in your car correctly. They can get a little pricey, but it’s worth it for the last mount you’ll need (in this vehicle and with this phone, anyway).

Pros:

Perfect fit
Customized

Cons:

May need to replace for new phone

Most perfect fit

ProClip Mounting Solutions Adjustable iPhone Holder

$40 at ProClip

Custom fit

It’s the best fit you can get for your current model phone, but keep in mind that it may not fit your future phones.

Most heavy-duty: RAM X-Grip Large Phone Mount with RAM Snap-Link Tough-Claw

This well-built iPhone car mount is made from aluminum composite and stainless steel, with a strong, adjustable arm that lets you orient your iPhone any way you like. If you like using a heavy-duty case on your iPhone, this mount can handle it just fine.

Pros:

Built to last
Adjustable arm

Cons:

Pricey

Most heavy-duty

RAM X-Grip Large Phone Mount with RAM Snap-Link Tough-Claw

$68 from Amazon

$61 from Walmart

Rugged

This super-tough heavy-duty iPhone car mount is built to handle whatever you throw its way.

Best value: Logitech Drive One-touch Mount – Silver

Logitech’s Drive iPhone car mount fits in the car air vent, and all it takes is a twist to attach or remove. It has a strong magnet and will work with any iPhone model as long as you have a metal case or metal inserted into it.

Pros:

Works with any model phone
Powerful magnet
Bargain price

Cons:

Need metal on the back of your phone

Best value

Logitech Drive One-touch Mount – Silver

$5 at Amazon

Great value

As long as you have metal on the back of your phone, this is an inexpensive and reliable way to mount any phone.

Best wireless charging: Totallee Wireless Car Charger – Black

Since the iPhone 8 and newer models support wireless charging, the Totallee Wireless Car Charger is the perfect way to mount your iPhone and juice it up during your commute. Simply attach the mount to your car vent, lay your iPhone on the mount, and start charging your battery in a jiffy. The arms automatically move into place to hold your iPhone securely, which is such a nice touch, as mentioned in our review. The ball-and-socket joint lets you angle your iPhone in any direction.

Pros:

Charges iPhone wirelessly while mounted
Works with any size phone
Arms open and close automatically (or with a touch of a button)
Can adjust to any angle

Cons:

Pricey

Best wireless charging

Totallee Wireless Car Charger – Black

$69 at Amazon

Juice up

You might as well charge up while you drive, and this iPhone car mount/wireless charger makes it easy.

Coolest looking: Night Ize Steelie – Silver

If you’re looking for a magnetic iPhone car mount with a small footprint, then the Steelie is the best. There are several configurations, but the basic one is a small magnetic ball that attaches to your dashboard and a little magnetic circle that adheres to your iPhone case. The magnet is powerful, and you can orient your iPhone in any way you like.

Pros:

Aesthetically appealing
Universal fit
Orient phone any way you want

Cons:

Must have metal on the back of your phone

Coolest looking

Night Ize Steelie – Silver

From $28 at Amazon

$35 at Walmart

Irresistible style

Your car is your pride and joy. When just any ordinary iPhone car mount won’t do, this chill sphere is sure to please.

Mount that phone

These are the best car mounts for your iPhone. They’ll keep your phone out of your hands while you’re driving (and hopefully a ticket off your record!), and they’ll let you check directions and more on the go.

We’ve used the Kenu Airframe+ through several iPhone generations. It adjusts to any size. The vent clip rotates and adjusts to fit both standard and thick vent slats. Since it doesn’t rely on a magnet, you don’t need any special metal case or plate on your iPhone. You can even take it out of your car, stick a credit card into the vent clip, and voila! You have a kickstand for watching videos. It only weighs an ounce, so you can easily stick it in your bag or pocket. Plus, the Kenu Airframe+ has a lifetime warranty. If you’re looking for the best magnetic car mount for iPhone or the best MagSafe car mounts, we’ve rounded up those as well.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Christine Chan is a coffee, food, video games, writing, and photography lover. She’s been writing about Apple and video games for almost a decade.

Karen S. Freeman is a teacher, writer, social media person, and family woman. She loves to travel, play with tech stuff, drink coffee, discover amazing new restaurants, and experience new things.

Mick Symons is as frugal as they come, so he always does extensive research (much to the exhaustion of his wife) before making a purchase. If it’s not worth the price, Mick ain’t buying.

Which is the absolute best smart lock? Here’s our picks!

Our houses, apartments, and offices include tons of smart accessories, so we aren’t afraid to install a smart lock (or four) on our doors. We’ve very nearly tried them all, and that’s why the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock is our top pick for the best smart lock. August’s lock is easy to install, plays nicely with multiple smart home systems, features an excellent design, and works via an intuitive app. Of course, it may not fit everyone’s needs, so here’s our guide to all of the best smart locks that you can buy today.

Best overall: August Wi-Fi, (4th Generation) Smart Lock

August’s fourth-generation Smart Lock is unique because it connects directly to your Wi-Fi, meaning you don’t need the Connect Bridge to control it as you do with other August smart locks. Just take it out of the box, set it up, and you’re good to go. It’s the best August smart lock you can buy, and it’s the best smart lock you can buy, period.

The August lock’s appearance is striking and will give any door a futuristic look, with your choice of dark gray or silver finishes. You can use your smartphone to unlock or lock your door remotely or set up a proximity lock. August also lets you create virtual keys for friends and family, and it keeps tabs on the comings and goings of your household with a 24/7 activity log.

The August Wi-Fi Smart Lock requires no wiring and installs with your existing deadbolt. It also works with HomeKit, Alexa, and Google Assistant, so you can control it with Siri and the Home app for iOS and just about every other smart device you own.

Pros:

Simple installation
Virtual keys
Works with Alexa, Google Assistant, and HomeKit

Cons:

Only works with single-cylinder deadbolts
Doesn’t include a keypad

Best overall

August Wi-Fi, (4th Generation) Smart Lock

$199 at Amazon
$199 at Best Buy
$197 at Walmart

Best for most

You’ll love this smart lock with its simple installation and rock-solid locking mechanism.

Best design: Level Bolt Smart Lock

While it gets our pick for best design, the Level Bolt Smart Lock is actually entirely invisible. In our hands-on review, we loved how it hides all of the smarts inside your door, so you can benefit from having a connected lock without changing out your existing hardware or keys.

The hub-free Level Bolt connects to Apple’s HomeKit over Bluetooth and works with Ring so you can add it to your scenes, automation, and schedules alongside all of your smart accessories. You can also share your lock with friends, family, and more through the Level app by creating passes with specific access times, and you can revoke them at any time.

Pros:

Invisible design
Doesn’t require a hub
Uses your existing key
Works with HomeKit and Ring

Cons:

Keypad not included
Bluetooth-only connectivity
Doesn’t support Alexa or Google Assistant

Best design

Level Bolt Smart Lock

$145 at Amazon
$199 at Best Buy
$145 at Walmart

Completely invisible

The Level Bolt hides neatly inside your existing door, giving you smart home convenience without messing with your decor.

Best keypad: Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt

This advanced smart lock from Schlage has a capacitive keypad with a light that allows you to enter your home without digging out your phone or keys. The Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt comes in multiple finishes and two distinct designs — Camelot, which sports a more traditional look, and Century the one which we tested that features clean lines.

Schlage’s lock works with Apple’s HomeKit right out of the box thanks to Bluetooth, and it can also work with Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Assistant via an optional Wi-Fi adapter. In addition to all of the smart essentials, the Schlage Sense comes with a handy built-in alarm that can alert everyone in the home the moment that someone tries to break in.

Pros:

Lighted keypad
Multiple finishes and styles
Built-in alarm
Works with HomeKit, Alexa, Google Assistant

Cons:

Expensive
Bulky interior component
Alexa and Google require an additional adapter

Best keypad

Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt

$229 at Amazon
$292 at Walmart
$229 at Home Depot

Lights on

Control who has access to your home from anywhere in the world with this great lock. Choose from multiple styles and finishes.

Best value: Wyze Lock

Despite being one of the cheapest options on the market, the Wyze Lock includes all of the smart home essentials — and then some. The Wyze Lock supports features such as remote locking/unlocking with the included Wi-Fi Gateway, detailed event history, and voice assistant compatibility with Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant.

For extra security, the Wyze Lock also packs in additional sensors that allow it to determine door position without needing a separate device. While pretty much every smart lock can let you know whether or not the door is locked, most can’t tell whether or not the door is closed, leaving your home open to potential intruders.

Pros:

Affordable
Includes Wi-Fi Gateway
Works with Alexa, Google Assistant

Cons:

Only one finish
Doesn’t support HomeKit

Best value

Wyze Lock WiFi & Bluetooth Enabled Smart Door Lock

$130 at Amazon
$130 at Best Buy
$130 at Home Depot

Smart security for less

This affordable lock from Wyze includes all the smart home bells and whistles at a price that won’t break the bank.

Best features: Level Lock Smart Lock – Touch Edition

Available in four finishes, the Level Touch Edition features a traditional deadbolt design that you can actually see, unlike the Level Bolt. As the name suggests, the Touch Edition allows for keyless entry and locking with just a tap of your finger if your phone is within proximity.

During testing, we really liked having multiple options for entering the home. The Level Lock Touch Edition supports NFC access cards, virtual keys, and voice and smart app control through the Level app, HomeKit, or Ring if touch isn’t your thing. With the Level Touch, you will never have to worry about accessing your home with the available backup options.

Pros:

NFC and touch access
Four available finishes
Works with HomeKit and Ring

Cons:

Expensive
Keypad not included
Doesn’t support Alexa or Google Assistant

Best features

Level Lock Smart Lock – Touch Edition

$268 at Amazon
$329 at Best Buy
$329 at Walmart

Unlock it your way

With touch, NFC, voice, and app controls, you will never have to worry about keys again with the Level Lock Touch Edition.

Best key-free lock: Yale Assure Lock SL, Wi-Fi Smart Lock

Yale’s Assure touchscreen smart lock is completely keyless, which means you can ditch the keyring and never worry about misplacing it again. This lock can go up to a year between battery swaps, and you can access it in an emergency with a 9V battery that wakes up the touchscreen.

The Assure touchscreen smart Lock supports all major smart home platforms, including Alexa, HomeKit, and Google Assistant. App controls allow you to monitor your home through an app or via a voice assistant, and the lock can send you notifications when it opens or closes with an included door sensor.

Pros:

Completely keyless
Lifetime warranty
Supports Alexa, Google, HomeKit

Cons:

Pricey
Needs a 9V battery for backup entry

Best key-free lock

Yale Assure Lock SL, Wi-Fi Smart Lock

$260 at Amazon
$310 at Best Buy
$310 at Walmart

Go key-free

Yale’s touchscreen lock ditches keys for convenient controls via an app or voice. It is also available in four different finishes.

Add security and convenience with the best smart locks

The best smart locks offer the ultimate in smart home security and convenience. With one of these smart locks in your home, you can monitor, lock/unlock your door, control keyless access, and track who comes and goes from anywhere using your smartphone. Other features such as door position sensors tell you if your door is securely closed, and activity feeds keep you updated on all the events.

The August Wi-Fi Smart Lock is our pick for the best smart lock as it provides the most functionality for most people. The August lock is straightforward to install as it works with your existing deadbolt, and a compact design doesn’t stand out like other bulkier smart locks. The August Smart Lock also works with HomeKit, Alexa, and Google — so you don’t have to worry about losing access to your home if you decide to switch your phone.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Christopher Close spends most of his time writing and dreaming about all things HomeKit. If you wish to join him on his quest to automate everything, you can follow him on Twitter at @itschrisclose.

Karen S. Freeman is a teacher, writer, social media person, and family woman. She loves to travel, play with tech stuff, drink coffee, discover amazing new restaurants, and experience new things.

Evolution of Ecommerce – A Glimpse of Its Past, Present, and Future

With the developments in the internet, eCommerce and the way we sell goods and services online are changing at all times. Merchants and retailers are investing in eCommerce website development to boost their sales with no geographical barriers. While being familiar with terms like PPC and CPC, and other key performance indicators can let you know where and how your products should be sold online, understanding the fundamentals of eCommerce is important. Here’s a detailed guide on the evolution of eCommerce – a glimpse of its past, present, and future that can help you learn how to sell products and services to your online consumers more efficiently. 

Take a Look at the History of Ecommerce   

Michael Aldrich, an English inventor, is the pioneer of electronic shopping or eCommerce. Aldrich’s system coupled a reformed domestic TV to a simultaneous payment processing computer through a domestic telephone line. This made the private information system open and shareable for external parties, thus, leading to the introduction of modern eCommerce. 

Since then, there was no turning back. The occurrence of significant events has made eCommerce what you see today. In 1994, Amazon was launched as an eCommerce platform for selling books online. Eventually, Jeff Bezos transformed the website into one of the largest eCommerce platforms for all types of products.  

PayPal also entered into the eCommerce industry as a quick money transfer solution for merchants. When PayPal united with the internet banking firm of Elon Musk, it experienced immense popularity as a token eCommerce buying platform.  

Furthermore, Google AdWords was introduced for eCommerce development companies as well as merchants to help them optimize ads for consumers using Google Search. Subsequently, eCommerce businesses started using this tool for running PPC campaigns. 

Several other platforms like Etsy, BigCommerce, Shopify, WooCommerce were introduced that broadened the eCommerce market and create new opportunities for retailers to sell products online. 

Now that we’ve discussed the history of eCommerce, let’s move ahead to the present of eCommerce and see what current trends are. 

What’s the Current Status of Ecommerce? 

The Global COVID-19 Pandemic 

The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic has confined many people within the four walls of their homes and shifted regular purchases such as grocery, food, apparel, and entertainment online. This has led to the emergence of many new eCommerce stores which increased the demand for eCommerce website development services. 

Due to this drastic shift, customers spent 791.70 billion US dollars eCommerce businesses in 2020, up 32.4% from 598.02 billion US dollars in the past year, as reported by Digital Commerce 360. The global pandemic has not only changed the consumer buying habits but also transformed eCommerce and the way retailers used to sell products and/or services.  

Integration of Artificial Intelligence Tools 

With the inception of Artificial Intelligence in the eCommerce world, online retailers have been able to increase business efficiency and reach out to more customers effectively. AI in eCommerce is becoming increasingly popular worldwide. According to a survey conducted by Tractica, it is estimated to be worth $36.7 billion globally by 2025.  

Google searches and Amazon Alexa shopping have made voice assistants an integral part of eCommerce. They allow users to perform product search and communicate with web services through voice commands. Moreover, the technology can seamlessly integrate into smartphones or smart speakers exclusively designed for voice-based interaction. 

Furthermore, chatbot in eCommerce helps customers in making purchase decisions. Chatbots usually communicate with the customer, addressing the common queries via text messages or phone calls. Chatbot integration in eCommerce websites helps businesses to provide assistance to customers 24×7 round the clock. 

Subscription-based Business Model 

The subscription-based business model is the new trend, greatly used by companies like Netflix, Spotify, etc. Nearly 50% of all online customers have a subscription, and 15% of those are subscription for tangible products. Customers who own a subscription enjoy free or discounted shipping, store credits, discount offers on specific products, and special occasion benefits.   

Amazon Prime is one of the most popular subscription models. Its membership grew to 200 million members in June 2021.  

Future Ecommerce Website Development Trends 

B2B eCommerce sales is predicted to reach almost $1.5 billion in 2021, which 12.2% more from 2012, as eCommerce trends continue to impact the daily operations of B2B firms. In the coming year, eCommerce will experience changes and trends that are going to be very different from the ones in the past. 

Green Consumerism 

Since eCommerce is booming rapidly, there is a need for a sustainable and eco-conscious option. Customers prefer products that are environment-friendly. According to GWI, 60% of online consumers say that they are willing to pay more for eco-friendly products. It’s good to see that consumers are becoming more eco-conscious.  

2. AI-Based Shopping 

AI in eCommerce is another popular trend that is revolutionizing the industry. The use of artificial intelligence in eCommerce leads to a more enhanced user experience through personalized shopping experiences. Ecommerce businesses can use collected and processed data to provide personalized recommendations to their customers in real-time and create a more tailored buying experience. AI-based customer journeys create a personalized experiences tailored to the needs and interests of every customer. 

3. Voice Search 

In today’s digital age, we have numerous virtual assistant like the very famous ones Google Voice Search, Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Siri, Cortana, and Viv. These virtual assistants enable consumers to use voice commands for searching on major search engines. Voice search is gradually emerging as a trend for eCommerce businesses. According to Google, over 20% of mobile device queries are voice-based. Also, more than 40% of millenarians use a voice assistant to perform searches. 

Ecommerce development companies should consider integrating voice search technology to ensure customers’ loyalty. The implementation of AI can help in understanding the search query and catering to the users with relevant answers or results.  

4. Growth of E-Commerce 

As shoppers are using mobile devices for online shopping, it has led to the rise in M-Commerce. Customers are shopping through social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. as these platforms have added “Buy Buttons” to help them buy products/services without leaving the site. Moreover, the one-click option helps customers to make purchases without re-entering the payment details by storing their card info once. 

5. Mobile Wallet and Mobile Applications 

Only creating a mobile-friendly eCommerce websites is not enough. You need to integrate mobile wallet for payment into your website. Not only this, you should also consider building a user-friendly mobile application for your retail business. As the number of online consumers is increasing day by day, they shoppers understand the advantages and prefer to use secure mobile wallets for the payment. So, integrating a mobile wallet into your business website will help you boost your sales. 

Many online customers prefer to use mobile apps for making purchases as they are more convenient, and user-friendly. 

6. Rise in ROPO/ROBO 

Research Online, Purchase Offline (ROPO) or Research Online, Buy Offline (ROBO) is another significant eCommerce trend that has become increasingly popular in the past few years. However, it cannot be considered as the evolution of eCommerce world. It can be seen as pinnacle of eCommerce technologies of the past decade. 

ROBO or ROPO allows customers to search for products and/or services easily and at the best market price. ROPO helps online retailers to keep track of their offline sales conversions. As an eCommerce business owner, you need to make your digital marketing strategies focused around the ROBO approach. With the support of several metrics and CRMs, customer purchase history, mobile payment, and social media integration, you can efficiently meet the needs of ROBO customers. 

Whether you’ve invested in WooCommerce website development, or in Magento eCommerce development, or working with Prestashop developers, incorporating the trend of ROBO/ROPO can help you retain your customers and boost sales with enhanced shopping experience.  

7. Product Customization 

The demand for product customization is increasing in the eCommerce world. It is also one of the emerging technology trends for online merchants. As product customization feature makes customers’ purchases easy and convenient, it can eliminate the complications of online purchases and meet the requirements of today’s customers. 

Automation is also playing a vital role in the product/service customization. For example, YouTube offers recommendations of videos based on the user behavior. The service gets tailored based on the customers’ usage patterns. 

Many businesses worldwide are using this process. From the choice of clothes to entertainment to furnishing, product customization has emerged as the new eCommerce trend. Companies are customizing the products and services to make their customers’ purchase easier and more convenient 

8. Omnichannel Strategy 

Direct-to-Customer brands are redefining customer’s journey by improving engagement and interaction via multiple touchpoints across various marketing channels such as websites, apps, mobile, social media, and even physical stores simultaneously.  

Companies are now able to monitor the onsite and cross-channel user behavior and utilize this valuable insight to cross-sell business products through their inventory. In D2C model, consumers are interacting with brands on different platforms, touchpoints, and channels. Implementing an omnichannel strategy helps brands to track customers’ behavior across multiple channels and platforms. This further helps them to understand their demographics, pages browsed, how long they stay on each page, products or product categories viewed, and so on to gain a better idea about a customer’s purchase behaviors and intent. This information can be used to offer relevant product recommendations to buyers to upsell and cross-sell, thereby boosting the Average Order Value (AOV) for each customer. 

9. Social Commerce 

Social commerce is another eCommerce trend that is becoming popular among customers and brands as it connects them on a single platform. This enables them to engage in meaningful ways and allows customers to discover more and shop seamlessly.  

One of the most effective ways businesses are converting loyal followers to paying customers is through social proof, which involves influencer marketing, reviews, and endorsements. To create a seamless shopping experience with fewer clicks, businesses are making quick payments the essential part of the mobile-first shopping experience. 

10. Video Marketing 

Unlike other forms of content marketing, videos prove to be an effective marketing strategy for promoting your products and attracting new consumers. You can create and place video content on the key areas of your eCommerce website like your homepage, about us page, product pages, etc. as well as on your social media accounts. Unboxing videos, explainers, tutorials, and user-generated content can make your customers understand your offerings and help them make purchase decisions. 

11. Augmented Reality and New Technologies 

In 2022, eCommerce businesses will continue to incorporate new technologies to stay ahead in the market competition. Innovative features like product builders, product visualizers, 3D mapping, and augmented reality help online customers to explore, visualize, and test out products before buying. This prominent product merchandising allows you to recreate in-store experience that many customers crave while offering them an engaging shopping experience. 

12. Customer Journey Optimization 

With the rise in eCommerce website development, eCommerce has emerged as the main customer purchase path for businesses. Therefore, sellers must track and improve every customer touchpoint to stay competitive. For customer journey optimization, you need to focus on improving your product search, building a smooth mobile-first shopping experience, providing product merchandising, and improving your order fulfillment and return processes. 

13. Conversion Rate Optimization 

To run a successful eCommerce business, you must try to grab the attention of buyers from the get-go and eliminate any hurdle in the conversion path. Conversion rate optimization is one of the crucial parts of eCommerce website development and an evergreen eCommerce trend that will help retailers achieve both short-term and long-term outcomes. 

14. Leveraging Marketplaces and New Channels for Sales 

Customers often flock to online marketplaces like Amazon, Walmart, industry-specific and curated websites. This indicates a shift in purchasing preferences toward speed and convenience that can be provided by these large marketplaces. So, instead of focusing on sales through your eCommerce website only, you can sell products on Amazon to leverage its wide customer reach and efficient services while maintaining the control and brand experience of your official website. 

15. B2B Ecommerce Trends 

B2B eCommerce has been facing significant changes over time. Today, paper catalogs and complex phone orders are being replaced by completely digitalized self-service shopping experiences, better customer service, and smooth back-end processes. B2B companies are considering updating their eCommerce platforms and benefitting from the latest eCommerce trends for 2022 and beyond. 

As a B2B business, you will need to create digital catalogs, offer B2C-like shopping experiences, and fulfill orders quickly and efficiently to remain competitive. Implementing effective B2B eCommerce strategy can help in boosting sales, increase average order value, and achieve greater customer satisfaction. 

16. International Ecommerce 

International eCommerce involves selling products/services online to customers who live in foreign countries. In fact, there’s no boundary to where you can expand your eCommerce business if there is a good market for your products and/or services. However, any business expansion into a new market needs a lot of resources, time, and effort. 

Both physical and online stores can explore new audiences by incorporating international eCommerce into their business strategy. With an integrated eCommerce solution, businesses can enjoy various benefits such as increased brand visibility and a large customer base.  

17. Multiple Payment Options 

Today’s online customers want the freedom to select their preferred payment option during the checkout process. Ecommerce websites that use diverse payment methods are more likely to build trust, retain more customers, lower cart abandonment rates, and encourage shoppers to purchase more.  

No-interest financing options like ‘buy now pay later’ and fast one-click payment method are likely to become more popular and will be preferred by customers for flexibility with their online shopping. 

18. Purpose-driven Shopping 

Shopping with purposes is one of the emerging eCommerce trends for any mission-led brands. Due to the effects of pandemic, there was a real upward shift in the conscious customer spending index, as people were looking for multiple ways to help people in need. 

The rising influence of important social causes has led customers to shop with a purpose, looking to support communities through their purchases or contributions. 

Be careful about the consequences of inauthentic cause marketing. You must incorporate this trend ethically to support your brand. 

19. Focus on Customer Data Privacy 

Customer data privacy is one of the significant eCommerce trends. Customers are becoming aware of the how brand use their data and their demand for more permission control is being recognized finally. This has led to enhanced user experience around direct control of permissions. Third-party cookies are also getting obsolete now.  

All these changes are going to affect companies that depend on digital marketing. However, you must remember that these challenges are the consequences of consumer demand. So, instead of perceiving increased restrictions around data privacy and control as a problem, rethink it as an opportunity to exhibit brand values through ethical and proper data handling. 

Also, try to focus on ensuring 100% transparency. Tell your users that you are interested in knowing more about them to help them enjoy a useful and personalized experience. In the coming years, zero-party data will be increasingly appreciated, so start planning for its creative collection in 2022.  

20. The Importance of Authentic Content 

Brands are going to accelerate the pace of content creation in 2022. Consumers are looking to engage with brands beyond their products, and content is the most effective way to connect and interact in this manner. 

You need to demonstrate legitimacy with your content marketing efforts to stand out and enjoy the benefits. If you’re a specialist brand, then you can use this opportunity to show your expertise. 

Mission-led brands can use this trend to narrate the story of their purpose and share the impact you are having on social causes and communities. 

21. The Use of Big Data and Analytics in Ecommerce 

The implementation of Big Data and analytics is helping eCommerce business owners stay ahead in the market competition. Big Data is a huge collection of data that companies can use to figure out which product or service, price, and advertising is best to increase their business profits. Ecommerce analytics involves the process of collecting useful data from multiple channels that impact your eCommerce store. You can even use this valuable data to understand shifts in user behavior and online shopping trends. 

Big data resources help in optimizing logistics, supply chain management, inventory, and business operations. This results in enhanced performance and significant cost reductions.  

Some of the key sources of big data include competitor offers, product cost, stock level, sales data, customer data, and all aspects of advertising. They are available in various forms and demand different approach to utilization by eCommerce business websites. 

22. Ecommerce Dropshipping 

Dropshipping is a kind of retail fulfillment approach where the store or the seller can sell products without keeping them in stock. So, as a seller, you can showcase and sell items from your website without essentially having them in stock. 

There are several advantages of dropshipping business model such as zero upfront inventory cost, no stress of handling logistics, and freedom to operate from anywhere.  

The idea of implementing an eCommerce dropshipping business model sounds exciting. However, it involves a lot of hardwork, time, and ability to handle long-term relationships with customers and suppliers. With the support of one of the professional eCommerce development companies, dropshipping can be a great opportunity to build your online business with low maintenance and higher scalability. 

Ready to Transform Your Business with These Ecommerce Trends? 

Over the years, eCommerce industry has gone through different phases, facing various ups-and-downs in the global market. Many more powerful technologies are yet to come in the coming years and disrupt the eCommerce industry. Mobile platforms will continue to be a part of eCommerce business and subscription of products/services will become important in the digital market. There will be a great revolution in the way of online marketing and product showcase. 

You need to make sure that your eCommerce store is prepared for future by incorporating these eCommerce trends within it. In case your store lacks any feature, you should quickly adopt one to stand out from the crowd. Get professional and reliable support of eCommerce website development company in this regard if you are ready to transform your eCommerce business with the latest eCommerce trends for 2022. 

The post Evolution of Ecommerce – A Glimpse of Its Past, Present, and Future appeared first on ReadWrite.

India’s Enforcement Directorate says it has seized $725M from Xiaomi’s bank accounts over allegedly illegal royalty payments to its foreign subsidiaries (Aditya Kalra/Reuters)

Aditya Kalra / Reuters:
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