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It seems that demand for smartphones has risen considerably, as IDC reports today that the worldwide mobile phone market is expected to grow 7.3 percent year over year in 2013 — a big jump from last year’s stagnant report. Overall, vendors are expected to distribute 1.8 billion smartphones this year. IDC attributes the jump in demand to a variety of factors, particularly big device subsidies mobile from carriers and a growing depth of lower-priced smartphones.

On The Web

Less than a year after launching Mega, the file-storage successor to the raided MegaUpload, embattled internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom has stepped down to work on other projects. Specifically, he will continue to fight against extradition to the United States, where he is expected to stand trial for many crimes. In addition, Dotcom is creating a music product, formerly known as Megabox, and forming an internet-focused political party in New Zealand, where he currently resides. Despite relinquishing his position, Dotcom will likely remain the face — and opinionated voice — of Mega.

On The Web

Fast Co Design has released the first in a six-part history of Apple’s design team, centered on Senior Vice President of Design and company icon Jony Ive. Comprised of stories from dozens of former Apple employees, the history puts personal spins on the development of some of the most design-forward Cupertino company products — most notably, the early iMac. It’s a much more human view of the company and of Ive, who is well on his way to becoming an enigma not unlike his late boss, Steve Jobs.

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On The Web

The man, the icon, the Instagrammer. Paul McCartney joined the hot social media platform on Wednesday, and one of his first few posts teased music from his forthcoming album, New. This isn’t the first time the former Beatle has been hip to social media, as his Twitter page is regularly tended to for more than a million followers. His Instagram feed has already seen a healthy jump — courting an audience of more than 9,000. Maybe young people know good music, after all.

On The Web

Real-time TV social engagement firm Trendrr has officially announced that it will join the flock at Twitter. The move is another one of Twitter’s big overtures at the television space, as the company has inked huge deals and hired big names all this year. The incorporation of Trendrr’s proprietary products, Trendrr.tv and Curatorr, will bring some extra analytics power to the Twitter team in its attempt to woo companies to ad buys.

On The Web

While scholars and pundits are concerned about the negative affects gaming can have on brain development, a study conducted at University of Texas at Austin proves that it can also expand the mind. Students were divided into two groups — one played strategy game StarCraft while the other played The Sims. After two months of playing, the StarCraft gamers showed increased mental flexibility and multitasking abilities compared to The Sims players. Picking strategy games may be the right way to go for some brain-boosting exercises.

On The Web

What role does social media have in protecting its users from questionable content? Utilizing the Instagram API and popular hashtag lists, The Data Pack uncovered a large NSFW list of hashtags banned from the platform’s search. They range from inappropriate (#porn) to potentially destructive (#proanorexia), but some simply provide little value to the site, like #photography. Instagram is obviously preventing a role in facilitating porn or abusive subcultures, perhaps to morally police its users for the greater good.

On The Web

Has social media made the news toothless? That’s the charge made by Time reporter Eliana Dockterman in conversations with Buzzfeed’s Jack Shepherd and Upworthy’s Eli Pariser, both of whom preside over overwhelmingly positive news sites and stress the importance of upbeat news. While MIT research shows positive influences make news go viral, social media is only part of the feel-good echo chamber of the online news cycle — as publications jockey for news scoops, a positive angle sure helps the chance for an earlier embargo.

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