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Tech Week: Yo, The Amazon Fire Phone And Apple's iWatch?

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos presents the company's first smartphone, the Fire Phone in Seattle on Wednesday.
David Ryder
Getty Images
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos presents the company's first smartphone, the Fire Phone in Seattle on Wednesday.

It was a big week for product news in the tech world, a topic we typically reserve for your weekly round-ups. Here we go ...


SCOTUS And Facebook Threats: A case for our modern times. The Supreme Court has agreed to take up a case involving a death threat that appeared on Facebook. It opens up a lot of questions about speech on the site, which came up in last summer's criminal case involving young Justin Carter, jailed for his perceived threat to shoot up schoolchildren, which also appeared on Facebook.

Instant Lids: Our most popular post of the week was our weekly innovation pick, SipSnaps. They are silicone lids that fit over any cup, so you can turn any restaurant glass or random mug into a sippy cup for your little ones. Simple idea, but hand it to the creators for actually making them.

The Big Conversation

Just Say Yo: The consternation this week caused by the launch of the Yo app could fill canyons. As Vox explains, Yo simply sends a voice message that says "Yo," and backers gave the developers $1 million. Valleywag says this is proof that technology investments are meaningless, but venture capitalist Marc Andreessen argues it shouldn't be so quickly dismissed. I tried to find the historic symmetry in its simplicity.

Fire Phone: Amazon unveiled its foray into hardware smartphones — the Fire Phone. "What Amazon's up to here is beyond devices," said NPR's Martin Kaste, after checking out the phone in Seattle. It's a handheld portal to get us to buy more stuff. Prices for the phone start at $200.


The New Yorker: What The Gospel of Innovation Gets Wrong

The tech intelligentsia (such as it is) broke out into a public debate about the meaning and use of the term "disrupt" this week, kicked off in part by this takedown. See how Clayton Christensen, who wrote the book on disruption, responded.

WSJ: Apple Plans Multiple Designs for Smartwatch

Technology observers have been waiting on this Apple wearable for years now, and it sounds like it might actually come out before 2014 is over. The Journal says it will come out in the fall and include more than 10 sensors, including those to track fitness.

Wired: This Tool Boosts Your Privacy by Opening Your Wi - Fi to Strangers

Last week, Steve Henn's investigation dove into the implications of open Wi-Fi networks, making this tool pretty counterintuitive. Read on.

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Elise Hu is a host-at-large based at NPR West in Culver City, Calif. Previously, she explored the future with her video series, Future You with Elise Hu, and served as the founding bureau chief and International Correspondent for NPR's Seoul office. She was based in Seoul for nearly four years, responsible for the network's coverage of both Koreas and Japan, and filed from a dozen countries across Asia.
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