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Chinese City Introduces Special Walkway for Smartphone-Using Zombies

Authorities in the Chinese city of Xi’an recently inaugurated a special sidewalk lane designed for “phubbers” – people who walk while staring at their smartphones and ignore everything around them.

Painted red, green and blue and featuring pictures of smartphones, the special lane is located on the busy Yanta Roan, in Xi’an, and is 80cm wide and 100m long. Chinese media reports that a large shopping mall overlooking the smartphone-user lane had been asking authorities for it over a month, which suggests that it’s just a marketing scheme. However, it turns out that the special sidewalk lane is actually a safety precaution for “phubbers”. Cars often come onto the pavement in front of the mall, sometimes barely missing pedestrians who have their eyebvalls virtually glued to their smartphones, so the lane is supposed to keep them out of harm’s way.

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Resourceful Chinese Ingenious Use Perpetuum Mobile Device to Fool Their Pedometer Smartphone Apps

In China, health insurance companies apparently offer discounts to people who can prove they get enough exercise every day by using their mobile phones to monitor their movement. Only instead of actually going for walks, some people use ingenious perpetuum mobile devices to cheat the system.

I first learned about China’s “mobile phone cradles” a few days ago, after seeing a picture of a strange perpetuum mobile device with a smartphone attached to it, tweeted by Chinese comedian Dashan (@akaDashan). He had spotted it in a restaurant in Harbin, where patrons were invited to use it to trick their phones’ pedometer apps into recording thousands of steps artificially, while they relaxed, and had a bite to eat or a drink. Why would anyone want to do that, you ask? Well, that’s where it gets interesting.

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Woman Goes Blind in One Eye After Playing Mobile Video Game Almost Non-Stop

A 21-year-old woman from Dongguan, China, was recently diagnosed with with retinal artery obstruction in her right eye, after playing a popular smartphone game almost non-stop.

The woman, known only as Wu, apparently noticed that she couldn’t see anything with her right eye on October 1st, while playing her favorite mobile game, King of Glory. Thinking she was just tired, she went to bed, but when she woke up the next day, she was still blind in her right eye. Her parents took her to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with a serious condition known as retinal artery obstruction. This usually only occurs in older patients, but doctors said that Wu’s eyes were incredibly fatigued by the stressed of constantly staring into the small smartphone screen.

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Russian Company Sells Religion-Themed Gold-Plated iPhone 7 Smartphones

With Easter only a couple of days away, there’s no better time for Christians to draw closer to God, and a Russian luxury goods company wants to help rich folks do just that with a collection of gold-plated iPhone 7s engraved with religious symbols and prayers, and blessed by an Orthodox bishop.

Caviar Phone has been creating limited edition gold-plated smartphones for a few years, even making international headlines in 2014 for a Putin-themed iPhone aimed at rich Russian patriots. But what really caught my eye was its Caviar Credo collection featuring the same type of gold-plated iPhones but this time engraved with Orthodox symbols like crosses and holy icons, and prayers like “Our Father”. Credo also includes Apple smartwatches with similar decorations.

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The NoPhone Air – Plastic Phone Packaging with Nothing but Air Inside

While millions of people around the world eagerly awaited the release of Apples’s new iPhone 7, dozens of attendants at the Fireside Gathering – a no-phone, no-reception event held at a summer camp two hours west of Ottawa – had to make due with a “revolutionary NoPhone Air, a simple phone package with nothing but air inside.

“We are very proud to introduce the least-advanced NoPhone ever,” inventors Chris Sheldon and Van Gould told Fireside Gathering attendees on September 10th. “We took away the headphone jack. And then we took away everything else. It may look like nothing is in this packaging. But that’s what’s so beautiful about it.”

Sheldon and Gould are part of a growing smartphone-resistant counterculture, and claim they came up with the idea for the NoPhone after seeing everyone at a rooftop bar in New York with their eyes glued to their smartphones. “The NoPhone was created to combat the rapid decline of real life social engagement that has stemmed from chronic smartphone use. It’s sleek, plastic design serves as an idle hand’s security blanket and is devised to alleviate the constant need humans have to hold a mobile device without preventing users from fully experiencing their immediate surroundings,” they wrote on the NoPhone official site.

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Man Marries His Smartphone at Las Vegas Chapel

Last month, artist Aaron Chervenak drove from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, Nevada to finally take the love for his smartphone to the next level by marrying it at a small wedding chapel. And yeah, in case you’re wondering, he even put a ring on it.

A study conducted by internet security giant Kaspersky found that a quarter of people ranked their smartphone as more or equally important to them as their parents. For a lot of us, it’s the last thing we interact with before going to sleep and the first thing we check when we wake up. It’s with us pretty much 24/7, and we connect with it on so many levels. “We look to it for solace, to calm us down, to put us to sleep, to ease our mind, and to me that’s also what a relationship is about,” Aaron Chervenak said. So in a sense, my smartphone has been my longest relationship. That’s why I decided to see what it was like to actually marry a phone.”

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Super-Secure Smartphone Costs $16,500, Weighs Half a Pound

How much is privacy worth to you? If the answer is “a lot” and you have tens of thousands of dollars to burn, you might want to check out the new Solarin Android smartphone, a $16,500 handheld that its makers claim is “the best in the world”. For that price, it better be!

Solarin has been in development for the last two and a half years and was finally launched this week, during a high-profile event in London. Its makers say it has the best display, the best smartphone camera, the loudest and richest speakers, more 4G LTE bands than any other phone and Wi-Fi speeds up to ten times faster than today’s networks. Sounds like a Trump product, doesn’t it? But’s it’s not, we checked. Solarin is the first product of Sirin Labs, an Israeli startup targeting the premium sector.

Those claims are certainly very impressive – although reports state that the reality is a little bit different – but what’s supposed to really set Solarin apart from all other commercially available handhelds is the unmatched security it offers. “Solarin comes with Zimperium state-of-the-art mobile threat protection that thwarts the broadest array of advanced device, network, and application mobile cyberattacks, without impairing usability or functionality of a top-of-the-range smartphone,” a Sirin Labs press release claims. “In addition, Solarin incorporates the most advanced privacy technology, currently unavailable outside the agency world. Sirin Labs partnered with KoolSpan to integrate chip-to-chip 256-bit AES encryption, the same technology that militaries around the world use to protect their communications, offering the strongest possible mobile privacy protection worldwide.”

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German Town Installs Ground Traffic Lights for People Looking at Their Smartphones

While zombies thankfully still remain a figment of our imagination, ‘smombies’ – people walking while staring at their smartphones – are very real and a growing cause for concern. Fed up of having to constantly alert both locals an tourists to pay more attention to their surroundings to avoid serious accidents, authorities in a small German town have come up with a more proactive solution – embedding traffic lights in the pavement to make them visible to people constantly looking down at their phones.

The seemingly ridiculous safety measure was put in place after two pedestrians in the town of Augsburg were recently hit by quiet electric street trains as they crossed the street without looking up from their phones. They both escaped with only slight injuries, but a 15-year-old girl engrossed in her smartphone on a street in nearby Munich wasn’t so lucky. She was hit by a tram and dragged along for several feet before she died. So authorities in Augsburg decided to act, installing ground level traffic lights at two tram stops last Tuesday. The lights flash red every time a tram is approaching, or when the regular traffic light turns red.

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