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posted by Fnord666 on Friday October 06, @02:29PM   Printer-friendly
from the wahhhhhhhh dept.

Mattel will not sell an all-in-one voice-controlled smart hub / baby monitor, setting back the state of parenting by decades or even millennia:

Toymaker Mattel has shelved plans to build an "all-in-one voice-controlled smart baby monitor," after complaints about the device were raised by privacy advocates and child psychologists. According to a report from The Washington Post, the company said in a statement that the device, named Aristotle, did not "fully align with Mattel's new technology strategy" and would not be "[brought] to the marketplace."

Aristotle was unveiled back in January this year by Mattel's Nabi brand. It combined the smart speaker and digital assistant functionality of Amazon's Echo with a connected camera that acted as a baby monitor. But the Aristotle was intended to be a much more active presence in children's lives than an Echo speaker, with Mattel claiming it would read them bedtime stories, soothe them if they cried in the night, and even teach them their ABCs.

Mattel also appointed a new chief financial officer.

Also at Ars Technica and MSPoweruser.

Related: Amazon Declares War on YouTube by Launching Amazon Video Direct
Barbie Typewriter Toys Had a Secret Ability to Encrypt Messages — but They Didn't Think Girls Would
Amazon Dominates Voice-Controlled Speaker Market


Original Submission

Related Stories

Amazon Declares War on YouTube by Launching Amazon Video Direct 29 comments

Amazon unveiled a service that allows users to post videos and earn royalties from them, putting a big bulls eye on Alphabet's YouTube.

The service, called Amazon Video Direct, will make the uploaded videos available to rent or own, to view free with ads, or be packaged together and offered as an add-on subscription.

Amazon will pay content creators 50% of the revenue earned from rental receipts or sale of the videos, according to the company's license agreement. For ad-supported videos, the creators will get half of the net ad receipts.

Amazon's fast-growing Prime loyalty program already offers original TV programming and access to digital entertainment products such as Prime Music and Prime Video, as well as one-hour delivery of purchases, for an annual fee of $99.

YouTube offers a free, ad-supported service as well as a $10-per-month subscription option called YouTube Red. Amazon, though, has a long way to go to catch up with YouTube, the go-to venue for video on the internet since 2005.

Users of Amazon's service will be able to make their videos available in the US, Germany, Austria, the United Kingdom. and Japan. The company has also signed up several partners for the service, including Conde Nast, the Guardian, Mashable and toymaker Mattel.

Amazon can throw a lot of money behind their new Video Direct service, but I don't know how well it will do. YouTube is pretty well thoroughly entrenched in the online video space.


Original Submission

Barbie Typewriter Toys Had a Secret Ability to Encrypt Messages — but They Didn't Think Girls Would 24 comments

Submitted via IRC for AndyTheAbsurd

In 1998, Slovenian toy company Mehano designed a line of children's electronic typewriter toys with the ability to write secret messages.

Eventually, the company licensed the typewriter to another company, (none other than Barbie herself), that had something altogether different in mind for the toys. Slathered in pink, it was soon headed to market to appeal "to girls."

[...] The four encryption modes — each featuring a simple alphabet substitution cipher (or 1-to-1 encoding) — were left out of Mattel's instruction manuals and advertisements. Mattel is Barbie's parent company. Even the latest model, produced in 2015, omitted this novel feature.

[...] It's an all-too-common marketing assumption that continues to plague the "pink aisle" of girls' toys. They often fail to encourage little girls to grow up to be engineers and scientists. A December report by the Institution of Engineering and Technology showed that boys were almost three times more likely to receive a STEM-themed toy for Christmas.

"STEM toys are by default for boys," says Meryl Alper, professor of communication studies at Northeastern University. "We have to add 'for girls.'" With over a decade of experience working in children's media at Northeastern, Sesame Workshop and Nick Jr., Alper emphasizes the importance of representation and diversity in characters and storylines. Playtime matters.

"Children use the objects in their world to think through ideas," she says. "If you have objects that signal to a kid that it's not for them, either explicit or implicit, you reduce that opportunity to learn through manipulation."

Source: https://www.pri.org/stories/2017-01-17/barbie-typewriter-toys-had-secret-ability-encrypt-messages-they-didnt-think-girls


Original Submission

Amazon Dominates Voice-Controlled Speaker Market 12 comments

Amazon is dominating the voice-controlled speaker market, according to a new forecast from eMarketer out this morning. The maker of the Echo-branded speakers will have 70.6 percent of all voice-enabled speaker users in the U.S. this year – well ahead of Google Home's 23.8 percent and other, smaller players like Lenovo, LG, Harmon Kardon, and Mattel, who combined only account for 5.6 percent of users.

The new report backs up another from VoiceLabs released in January, which also found that Amazon was leading the voice-first device market, thanks to Echo's popularity.

While the market itself is not expected to be a winner-take-all scenario, competitors like Amazon and Google will win entire homes, as most consumers have said they wouldn't consider buying a competing device once they already own one voice-controlled speaker.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2017/05/08/amazon-to-control-70-percent-of-the-voice-controlled-speaker-market-this-year/

Gee whiz!


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 2, Funny) by c0lo on Friday October 06, @02:48PM (5 children)

    by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 06, @02:48PM (#578029)

    Question is: will they shelf "Aristarchus" next?
    You know? It wouldn't be [soylentnews.org] the first time [soylentnews.org]

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 06, @03:15PM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 06, @03:15PM (#578048)

      oh don't goad the troll into being trollish. it just makes you look like a troll.

      • (Score: 3, Touché) by wonkey_monkey on Friday October 06, @03:42PM (3 children)

        by wonkey_monkey (279) on Friday October 06, @03:42PM (#578071) Homepage

        Who's more trollish, the troll or the troll who trolls the trolling troll?

        --
        systemd is Roko's Basilisk
        • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 06, @04:13PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 06, @04:13PM (#578086)

          def u

        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by aristarchus on Friday October 06, @10:49PM (1 child)

          by aristarchus (2645) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 06, @10:49PM (#578374) Journal

          Who's more trollish, the troll or the troll who trolls the trolling troll?

          As John Donne said, "Ask not for whom the troll trolls; it trolls for thee."

          --
          #freearistarchus!!!
          • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Saturday October 07, @11:40AM

            by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Saturday October 07, @11:40AM (#578543)

            Speaking of altruistically trolling trolls, I prefer

            Oh Buzzard, be not proud, though some have called thee
            Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
            For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow
            Die not, poor Buzzard, nor yet canst thou kill me.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by c0lo on Friday October 06, @03:27PM (5 children)

    by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 06, @03:27PM (#578060)

    it would read them bedtime stories, soothe them if they cried in the night, and even teach them their ABCs.

    What an idiotic list of priorities.
    If they cry in the night, you don't just sooth them then teach them ABC, you start by changing that damn'd full diaper.
    I mean, what's the point of having an illustrious philosopher as a baby sitter if you still need to wake up and wash the bottom of your baby?

    No wonder nobody wants such a shitty product.

    • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Friday October 06, @03:33PM

      by bob_super (1357) on Friday October 06, @03:33PM (#578066)

      It's not literally shitty, until that first time it doesn't stop with the f--ing ABCs while you're trying to calm baby after changing a bad diaper and getting soaked in semi-digested milk.

      Hey Mattel, free idea for you: intelligent punching bag, or intelligent soft projectile, for colicky children's parents.

    • (Score: 2) by SomeGuy on Friday October 06, @04:03PM (2 children)

      by SomeGuy (5632) on Friday October 06, @04:03PM (#578078)

      What an idiotic list of priorities.

      Once again, the assumption is that those using these things are the customer. In actuality your baby is the product.

      I fully expect them to go back to the drawing board and find some way to more quietly re-introduce the same invasive technology. Perhaps add a smiley face, add some blue LEDs, get some branding support from Barny the Dinosaur, get backing from a religious organization to add a hidden penis attachment, or such and such and just watch it sell like hotcakes.

      • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday October 06, @04:27PM (1 child)

        by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Friday October 06, @04:27PM (#578095) Journal

        This Mattel thing would have made raising my kidnapped babies much easier. Shame on you Mattel for bowing to the pressure!

        --
        [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
        • (Score: 2) by frojack on Friday October 06, @05:49PM

          by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 06, @05:49PM (#578173) Journal

          Raising babies to WHAT, one might ask?

          If the only love and comfort came from blinking blue lights and soothing voices, what's to keep baby from growing up into family annihilators because their voices always intruding on soothing mechanical mama's bedtime stories?

          B.F. Skinner was already excoriated for this 50 years ago: https://www.psychologicalscience.org/observer/skinner-air-crib [psychologicalscience.org]

          --
          No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 4, Informative) by Thexalon on Friday October 06, @05:07PM

      by Thexalon (636) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 06, @05:07PM (#578128) Homepage

      I get the distinct feeling that the committee that designed this product included absolutely nobody who raised a baby before. Guess what? There's no machine in existence that successfully mimics a parent holding a baby close to their chest. Even another human holding the baby close to their chest doesn't really do the job as well, as every grandparent, aunt, or uncle knows.

      --
      If you act on pie in the sky, you're likely to get pie in the face.
  • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Friday October 06, @04:26PM (1 child)

    by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 06, @04:26PM (#578093) Journal

    Mattel will not sell an all-in-one voice-controlled smart hub / baby monitor, setting back the state of parenting by decades or even millennia:

    Millennia? You are serious? I'm not aware that the Romans had all-in-one voice-controlled smart hub/baby monitors. Indeed, I'm pretty sure the only way to monitor a baby back than was by a human nearby.

    And any technology that was available before Mattel announced that device is still available. The announcement didn't make any of it disappear. Therefore even the "decades" claim is silly.

    --
    The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 06, @04:50PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 06, @04:50PM (#578117)

      You need to learn how to detect and process humor and sarcasm.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Friday October 06, @04:55PM

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 06, @04:55PM (#578120) Journal

    The more important thing here is, someone had enough sense to protest the stupid idea. Amazing - someone, somewhere, understands that grabbing the latest, greatest shiny bauble might put your family at risk. We need more protestors to speak up against the craze "internet of things".

    --
    #Hillarygropedme
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 06, @06:07PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 06, @06:07PM (#578189)

    Aaaahahahahahahaha....

    If you can call yourself that with straight face, pull your head out of your ass and look around, there's much more to computing than ms.,,

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 07, @01:47AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 07, @01:47AM (#578443)

    Get them used to being watched from a very young age. That way, they'll be good citizens of the surveillance state.

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