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SpongeBob gets own colour

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Nickelodeon and The Pantone Color Institute have partnered to create official SpongeBob Yellow and Patrick Star Pink colors in commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of SpongeBob SquarePants, one of the most iconic TV series and characters ever created. Nickelodeon is celebrating 20 years of SpongeBob SquarePants with the “Best Year Ever”—a tribute to the number-one kids’ animated series on TV that has generated a universe of beloved characters, pop culture catchphrases and memes, theatrical releases, consumer products, a Tony award-winning Broadway musical and a global fan base.

“For two decades, SpongeBob SquarePants has inspired millions of people,” said Charlotte Castillo, Senior Vice President, Franchise Planning, Viacom Nickelodeon Consumer Products. “From our partnership with the Pantone Color Institute to our collaborations with artists around the world – we’re commemorating SpongeBob’s 20th Anniversary by celebrating his optimism, imagination and creativity.”

“We were very honored to partner with Nickelodeon on the creation of colors for these two globally iconic characters. Inspired by SpongeBob’s enthusiasm, playfulness and fun-loving nature, the new SpongeBob Yellow we created is a luminous golden hue that reflects the energy of the sun, radiating joy and happiness, and sparking imagination,” expressed Laurie Pressman, Vice-President-Pantone Color Institute. “Patrick Star Pink, a warm and inviting coral pink is the perfect companion color to SpongeBob Yellow. Spirited and affable, a light hearted pink hue is ideally suited to the fun and laughter of being with your best friend.”

In celebration of the SpongeBob Yellow launch, Nickelodeon is asking fans to show their love of SpongeBob by wearing their #SpongeBobYellow on Tuesday, June 4 and post their looks to @SpongeBob on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

In addition to the Pantone Color Institute partnership, Nickelodeon also collaborated with artists around the world to create unique interpretations of SpongeBob.

Brazilian-born, Miami-based international pop artist Romero Britto reimagined SpongeBob in his trademark vibrant, bold and colorful patterns. Britto creates art to reflect his optimistic view of the world around him, and his iconic style has been described in the media as exuding “warmth, optimism and love”. Britto’s SpongeBob mixed-media art installation will be exhibited at a pop-up SpongeBob experience in Los Angeles later in the year; and Viacom Nickelodeon Consumer Products (VNCP) is in discussions with partners to translate his original SpongeBob creation to product.

“It is a huge honor for me to create an art piece that celebrates such a beautiful anniversary as the iconic SpongeBob,” said Britto. “He is a character loved by millions of children and families, including my own. My son grew up watching SpongeBob, and so this piece is such a special one that brings me happiness. I feel privileged and thankful to be a part of this partnership that can now be enjoyed by everyone around the world.”

In addition to Britto, UK-born artist, Jon Burgerman, known as the purveyor of doodles, created 50 SpongeBob pieces in his unique ‘doodle’ art style.

Burgerman added: “I love the whole world of SpongeBob, from the characters, the settings and most of all the humour (and heart) of the show. Although SpongeBob is a design classic, it’s the characters and their relatable personalities that have kept us entertained over so many years. Stephen Hillenburg created a classic, and it’s an honour to be part of this collaboration.”

In Asia, Secret Fresh–a collective of Filipino artists representing a variety of mediums, including graffiti, comics, film, animation, music, architecture, sculpture, fine art and design– also collaborated with Nickelodeon on the project. Secret Fresh’s artists used SpongeBob as inspiration for limited-edition art, toys and prints.

Artists include Christian Tamondong and Ronald Ventura alongside 20 other artists whose expressions of SpongeBob ranged from canvas paintings to porcelain and polystone figurines. The pieces will be showcased at an upcoming Secret Fresh gallery exhibition, and VNCP are in discussions with retailers to bring the creations to stores across Asia.

SpongeBob’s 20th Anniversary also features the Friday, July 12, premiere of “SpongeBob’s Big Birthday Blowout,” an original mixed live-action and animated special, and leads up to the Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies theatrical, “The SpongeBob Movie: It’s a Wonderful Sponge,” opening in May 2020.

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Tech promotes connections across groups in emerging markets

Digital technology users say they more regularly interact with people from diverse backgrounds

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Smartphone users – especially those who use social media – say they are more regularly exposed to people who have different backgrounds. They are also more connected with friends they don’t see in person, a Pew Research Center survey of adults in 11 emerging economies finds.

South Africa, included in the study, has among the most consistent levels of connection across age groups and education levels and in terms of cross-cultural connections. This suggests both that smartphones have had a greater democratisation impact in South Africa, but also that the country is more geared to diversity than most others. Of 11 countries surveyed, it has the second-lowest spread between those using smartphones and those not using them in terms of exposure to other religious groups.

Across every country surveyed, those who use smartphones are more likely than those who use less sophisticated phones or no phones at all to regularly interact with people from different religious groups. In most countries, people with smartphones also tend to be more likely to interact regularly with people from different political parties, income levels and racial or ethnic backgrounds. 

The Center’s new report is the third in a series exploring digital connectivity among populations in emerging economies based on nationally representative surveys of adults in Colombia, India, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, the Philippines, Tunisia, South Africa, Venezuela and Vietnam. Earlier reports examined attitudes toward misinformation and mobile technology’s social impact

The survey finds that smartphone and social media use are intertwined: A median of 91% of smartphone users in these countries also use social media or messaging apps, while a median of 81% of social media users say they own or share a smartphone. And, as with smartphone users, social media and messaging app users stand apart from non-users in how often they interact with people who are different from them. For example, 52% of Mexican social media users say they regularly interact with people of a different income level, compared with 28% of non-users. 

These results do not show with certainty that smartphones or social media are the cause of people feeling like they have more diverse networks. For example, those who have resources to buy and maintain a smartphone are likely to differ in many key ways from those who don’t, and it could be that some combination of those differences drives this phenomenon. Still, statistical modelling indicates that smartphone and social media use are independent predictors of greater social network diversity when other factors such as age, education and sex are held constant. 

Other key findings in the report include: 

  • Mobile phones and social media are broadening people’s social networks. More than half in most countries say they see in person only about half or fewer of the people they call or text. Mobile phones are also allowing many to stay in touch with people who live far away: A median of 93% of mobile phone users across the 11 countries surveyed say their phones have mostly helped them keep in touch with those who are far-flung. When it comes to social media, large shares report relationships with “friends” online who are distinct from those they see in person. A median of 46% of Facebook users across the 11 countries report seeing few or none of their Facebook friends in person regularly, compared with a median of 31% of Facebook users who often see most or all of their Facebook friends in person. 
  • Social activities and information seeking on subjects like health and education top the list of mobile activities. The survey asked mobile phone users about 10 different activities they might do on their mobile phones – activities that are social, information-seeking or commercial in nature. Among the most commonly reported activities are casual, social activities. For example, a median of 82% of mobile phone users in the 11 countries surveyed say they used their phone over the past year to send text messages and a median of 69% of users say they took pictures or videos. Many mobile phone users are also using their phones to find new information. For example, a median of 61% of mobile phone users say they used their phones over the past year to look up information about health and medicine for themselves or their families. This is more than the proportion that reports using their phones to get news and information about politics (median of 47%) or to look up information about government services (37%). Additionally, around half or more of mobile phone users in nearly all countries report having used their phones over the past 12 months to learn something important for work or school. 
  • Digital divides emerge in the new mobile-social environment. People with smartphones and social media – as well as younger people, those with higher levels of education, and men – are in some ways reaping more benefits than others, potentially contributing to digital divides. 
    • People with smartphones are much more likely to engage in activities on their phones than people with less sophisticated devices – even if the activity itself is quite simple. For example, people with smartphones are more likely than those with feature or basic phones to send text messages in each of the 11 countries surveyed, even though the activity is technically feasible from all mobile phones. Those who have smartphones are also much more likely to look up information for their households, including about health and government services. 
    •  There are also major differences in mobile usage by age and education level in how their devices are – or are not – broadening their horizons. Younger people are more likely to use their phones for nearly all activities asked about, whether those activities are social, information-seeking or commercial. Phone users with higher levels of education are also more likely to do most activities on their phones and to interact with those who are different from them regularly than those with lower levels of education. 
    •  Gender, too, plays a role in what people do with their devices and how they are exposed to different people and information. Men are more likely than women to say they encounter people who are different from them, whether in terms of race, politics, religion or income. And men tend to be more likely to look up information about government services and to obtain political news and information. 

These findings are drawn from a Pew Research Center survey conducted among 28,122 adults in 11 countries from Sept. 7 to Dec. 7, 2018. In addition to the survey, the Center conducted focus groups with participants in Kenya, Mexico, the Philippines and Tunisia in March 2018, and their comments are included throughout the report. 

Read the full report at https://www.pewinternet.org/2019/08/22/in-emerging-economies-smartphone-and-social-media-users-have-broader-social-networks.

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Nokia to be first with Android 10

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Nokia is likely to be the first smartphone brand to roll out Android 10, after its manufacturer, HMD Global, announced that the Android 10 software upgrade would start in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Previously named Android Q, it was given the number after Google announced it was ditching sweet and dessert names due to confusion in different languages. Android 10 is due for release at the end of the year.

Juho Sarvikas, chief product officer of HMD Global said: “With a proven track record in delivering software updates fast, Nokia smartphones were the first whole portfolio to benefit from a 2-letter upgrade from Android Nougat to Android Oreo and then Android Pie. We were the fastest manufacturer to upgrade from Android Oreo to Android Pie across the range. 

“With today’s roll out plan we look set to do it even faster for Android Pie to Android 10 upgrades. We are the only manufacturer 100% committed to having the latest Android across the entire portfolio.”

HMD Global has given a guarantee that Nokia smartphone owners benefit from two years of OS upgrades and 3 years of security updates.

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