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Olloclip Intro and Pro Lenses with Multi-Device Clip first take: Affordable and advanced lens options with a universal smartphone clip

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Earlier this year, Olloclip released the Connect X system that supported mounting two lenses on the corner of the Apple iPhone X. Olloclip recently released lens mounting solutions for iPhone SE, 7/7 Plus, and 8/8 Plus and with the Multi-Device clip we can now use Connect X lenses with many popular Android smartphones.

Smartphones today help you capture fantastic images and video, but these thin phones also have physical limitations for camera lenses. Thus, third party add-on lenses extend and enhance the functionality of modern smartphones and help you get even more creative than you can with just the phone alone.

Also: 13 wacky phones unlike anything you’ve ever seen

Olloclip released a new affordable Intro Lens that provides the two most popular lens configurations, wide-angle and macro, in one lens. In addition, two Pro Series Connect X lenses, super wide and telephoto, were also announced. All of these lenses work with Connect X mounts and the new Multi-Device Clip.

Multi-Device Clip

At first I was sent a pre-production sample to start evaluating and after a couple weeks of use the clip kept binding up and would not clamp down on my phones. A release version of the Multi-Device Clip was sent out last week and is significantly improved with flawless open and close performance. It was interesting to see the evolution of the product and gives me confidence that Olloclip designed and tested the clip to work to your satisfaction.

Todd Williams, global sales director at Olloclip, stated:

The Multi-Device Clip is unlike any product on the market. It remains our goal at olloclip to continually enhance consumer’s mobile photography experience through the most compact, accurate and easy-to-use products. We designed the Multi-Device Clip to serve the greatest range of smartphones, including those with a screen protector or a thin case, for ultimate versatility.

While having corner mounts for various iPhone models may offer an optimized experience, being able to use the Olloclip Connect X lenses on various smartphones significantly improves the value of purchasing individual lenses.

The lens mounting system works by pressing in on a button to spread the clamp open. You then line up the lens opening with the phone camera opening that you want to use with the lens. Many phones today have multiple cameras and the great thing about this new Multi-Device system is that you can move the clip around and line up your Connect X lens with different front and rear cameras.

Lenses can be mounted in either direction in the opening of the clamp so you can insert it either way to ensure the lens fits properly over your desired camera. Slide the large button in towards the lens to move the spring and release the tab on one side to then lift out the lens. Lens caps are included with each lens to help protect it as well.

Also: The first Android phone was an ugly thing, and I loved it CNET

I’ve had success using the Multi-Device Clip with the iPhone XR and Pixel 3 XL. Some phones have cameras too far away from the edges or have a number of lenses that make it difficult to line up the Olloclip lenses properly. One thing I noticed with the heavier Pro Series is that the lens can slide down a bit if mounted in a way where gravity takes over. The Multi-Device Clip is a reasonably priced, $19.99, solution for many smartphones, but I prefer using the Connect X system designed specifically for corner mounting as it lines up perfectly and is the most secure solution.

Connect X Intro Lens

The Connect X lens system is Olloclip’s lens offering that works with a number of phones and provides Olloclip’s newest lens technology and quality. The new Intro Lens provides both a wide-angle and 15x macro lens in one for just $19.99. You can also purchase it with the Multi-Device clip for a $39.95 price.

The wide-angle lens is mounted on the clip attachment when you open the retail package. Unscrew the wide-angle lens to reveal the 15x macro lens. This is the first Olloclip lens that offers this combination and these are the two most popular lenses I use with my phones.

The Intro Lens has slightly more distortion than the Essential Series Super Wide lens with a price less than half that lens. Olloclip states that this lens provides more of a photographic effect. I compared this Intro Lens with the Super Wide lens and saw very similar results between the two.

Also: 17 ways to recycle or sell your smartphone TechRepublic

The macro functionality provided by these add-on lenses helps produce some interesting results. I’ve been experimenting more with this Intro Lens macro functionality and the Fisheye/Macro lens. Both provide the same 15x macro performance and you can capture some very cool close-ups. You need to hold your phone with the lens within about an inch of your subject so this lens is primarily for extreme close-up encounters with your subject.

Connect X Pro Series Lenses

Just a day before a vacation, Olloclip sent along its two newest Pro Series lenses, super wide and telephoto. The Pro Series super wide lens offers a wider field of view with the least amount of distortion of any Olloclip lens. It is available for $99.99 or $119.95 with any Olloclip Connect X attachment clips.

The Pro telephoto lense offers the same 2x magnification of the previous Olloclip telephoto lens, but gathers more light for a brighter photograph. It is priced the same as the super wide Pro Series lens.

I brought these three new lenses with me on vacation in order to test them out so will update this article in the future with more results and samples of photographs taken with the lenses and various phones.

Previous and related coverage:

Want a new iPhone or Android smartphone? Here’s how to sell or trade

The new Samsung Galaxy Note 9 was just announced and we expect three new iPhones and two Google Pixel phones to launch soon. Now is the time to consider selling your current one before market prices drop or plan to participate in a trade-in program.

10 best smartphones of 2018

he major smartphone launch season is upon us and one of the first out of the gates is the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, immediately taking over the top spot in our list of best smartphones.

Best Wearable Tech for 2018 CNET

Our editors hand-picked these products based on our tests and reviews. If you use our links to buy, we may get a commission.

The best tablets for 2018: Our top picks TechRepublic

Tablet sales may be declining, but there are still plenty of viable use cases and many models to choose from. Here’s our pick of the best.

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Twitter bans James O’Keefe of Project Veritas over fake account policy – TechCrunch

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Twitter has banned right-wing provocateur James O’Keefe, creator of political gotcha video producer Project Veritas, for violating its “platform manipulation and spam policy,” suggesting he was operating multiple accounts in an unsanctioned way. O’Keefe has already announced that he will sue the company for defamation.

The ban, or “permanent suspension” as Twitter calls it, occurred Thursday afternoon. A Twitter representative said the action followed the violation of rules prohibiting “operating fake accounts” and attempting to “artificially amplify or disrupt conversations through the use of multiple accounts,” as noted here.

This suggests O’Keefe was banned for operating multiple accounts, outside the laissez-faire policy that lets people have a professional and a personal account, and that sort of thing.

But sharp-eyed users noticed that O’Keefe’s last tweet unironically accused reporter Jesse Hicks of impersonation, including an image showing an unredacted phone number supposedly belonging to Hicks. This too may have run afoul of Twitter’s rules about posting personal information, but Twitter declined to comment on this when I asked.

Supporters of O’Keefe say that the company removed his account as retribution for his most recent “exposé” involving surreptitious recordings of a CNN employee admitting the news organization has a political bias. (The person he was talking to had, impersonating a nurse, matched with him on Tinder.)

For his part O’Keefe said he would be suing Twitter for defamation over the allegation that he operated fake accounts. I’ve contacted Project Veritas for more information.

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Consumer groups and child development experts petition Facebook to drop ‘Instagram for kids’ plan – TechCrunch

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A coalition of 35 consumer advocacy groups along with 64 experts in child development have co-signed a letter to Facebook asking the company to reconsider its plans to launch a version of Instagram for children under the age of 13, which Facebook has confirmed to be in development. In the letter, the groups and experts argue that social media is linked with several risk factors for younger children and adolescents, related to both their physical health and overall well-being.

The letter was written by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, an advocacy group that often leads campaigns against big tech and its targeting of children.

The group stresses how influential social media is on young people’s development, and the dangers such an app could bring:

“A growing body of research demonstrates that excessive use of digital devices and social media is harmful to adolescents. Instagram, in particular, exploits young people’s fear of missing out and desire for peer approval to encourage children and teens to constantly check their devices and share photos with their followers,” it states. “The platform’s relentless focus on appearance, self-presentation, and branding presents challenges to adolescents’ privacy and wellbeing. Younger children are even less developmentally equipped to deal with these challenges, as they are learning to navigate social interactions, friendships, and their inner sense of strengths and challenges during this crucial window of development,” the letter reads.

Citing public health research and other studies, the letter notes that excessive screen time and social media use can contribute to a variety of risks for kids including obesity, lower psychological well-being, decreased quality of sleep, increased risk of depression and suicide ideation, and other issues. Adolescent girls report feeling pressured to post sexualized selfies for attention from their peers, the letter said, and 59% of U.S. teens have reported being bullied in social media, as well.

Another concern the groups have is the use of the Instagram algorithm which could suggest what kids would see and click on next, noting that children are “highly persuadable.”

They also point out that Facebook knows there are already children under 13 who have lied about their age using the Instagram platform, and these users will be unlikely to migrate to what they’ll view as a more “babyish” version of the app than the one they’re already using. That means Facebook is really targeting an even younger age group who don’t yet have an Instagram account with this “kids version.”

Despite the concerns being raised, Instagram’s plans to compete for younger users will not likely be impacted by the outcry. Already, Instagram’s top competitor in social media today — TikTok — has developed an experience for kids under 13. In fact, it was forced to age-gate its app as a result of its settlement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which had investigated Musical.ly (the app that became TikTok) for violations of the U.S. children’s privacy law COPPA.

Facebook, too, could be in a similar situation where it has to age-gate Instagram in order to properly direct its existing underage users to a COPPA-compliant experience. At the very least, Facebook has grounds to argue that it shouldn’t have to boot the under-13 crowd off its app, since TikTok did not. And the FTC’s fines, even when historic, barely make a dent in tech giants’ revenues.

The advocacy groups’ letter follows a push from Democratic lawmakers, who also this month penned a letter addressed to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to express concerns over Facebook’s ability to protect kids’ privacy and their well-being. Their letter had specifically cited Messenger Kids, which was once found to have a design flaw that let kids chat with unauthorized users. The lawmakers gave Facebook until April 26 to respond to their questions.

Zuckerberg confirmed Facebook’s plans for an Instagram for kids at a Congressional hearing back in March, saying that the company was “early in our thinking” about how the app would work, but noted it would involve some sort of parental oversight and involvement. That’s similar to what Facebook offers today via Messenger Kids and TikTok does via its Family Pairing parental controls.

The market, in other words, is shifting towards acknowledging that kids are already on social media — with or without parents’ permission. As a result, companies are building features and age gates to accommodate that reality. The downside to this plan, of course, is once you legitimize the creation of social apps for the under-13 demographic, companies are given the legal right to hook kids even younger on what are, arguably, risky experiences from a public health standpoint.

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood also today launched a petition which others can sign to push Facebook to cancel its plans for an Instagram for kids.

Instagram Letter by TechCrunch on Scribd

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Facebook to test new business discovery features in U.S. News Feed – TechCrunch

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Facebook announced this morning it will begin testing a new experience for discovering businesses in its News Feed in the U.S. When live, users to tap on topics they’re interested in underneath posts and ads in their News Feed in order to explore related content from businesses. The change comes at a time when Facebook has been arguing how Apple’s App Tracking Transparency update will impact its small business customers — a claim many have dismissed as misleading, but nevertheless led some mom and pop shops to express concern about the impacts to their ad targeting capabilities, as a result. This new test is an example of how easily Facebook can tweak its News Feed to build out more data on its users, if needed.

The company suggests users may see the change under posts and ads from businesses selling beauty products, fitness or clothing, among other things.

The idea here is that Facebook would direct users to related businesses through a News Feed feature, when they take a specific action to discover related content. This, in turn, could help Facebook create a new set of data on its users, in terms of which users clicked to see more, and what sort of businesses they engaged with, among other things. Over time, it could turn this feature into an ad unit, if desired, where businesses could pay for higher placement.

“People already discover businesses while scrolling through News Feed, and this will make it easier to discover and consider new businesses they might not have found on their own,” the company noted in a brief announcement.

Facebook didn’t detail its further plans with the test, but said as it learned from how users interacted with the feature, it will expand the experience to more people and businesses.

Image Credits: Facebook

Along with news of the test, Facebook said it will roll out more tools for business owners this month, including the ability to create, publish and schedule Stories to both Facebook and Instagram; make changes and edits to Scheduled Posts; and soon, create and manage Facebook Photos and Albums from Facebook’s Business Suite. It will also soon add the ability to create and save Facebook and Instagram posts as drafts from the Business Suite mobile app.

Related to the businesses updates, Facebook updated features across ad products focused on connecting businesses with customer leads, including Lead Ads, Call Ads, and Click to Messenger Lead Generations.

Facebook earlier this year announced a new Facebook Page experience that gave businesses the ability to engage on the social network with their business profile for things like posting, commenting and liking, and access to their own, dedicated News Feed. And it had removed the Like button in favor of focusing on Followers.

It is not a coincidence that Facebook is touting its tools for small businesses at a time when there’s concern — much of it loudly shouted by Facebook itself — that its platform could be less useful to small business owners in the near future, when ad targeting capabilities becomes less precise as users vote ‘no’ when Facebook’s iOS app asks if it can track them.

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