• Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The BlackBerry Classic is being discontinued.The company behind the smartphone resurrected the classic style, complete with the raised button keyboard, in 2014 as a replacement for the BlackBerry Bold.As many people gravitated toward the touch screens of iPhones and sleek new Android devices, the BlackBerry Classic and its predecessors remained steadfast companions to business people and politicians who valued the ability to punch out a quick email while on the go."Sometimes it can be very tough to let go," Ralph Pini, chief operating officer and general manager for devices at BlackBerry, wrote in a blog post published Wednesday. "For BlackBerry, and more importantly for our customers, the hardest part in letting go is accepting that change makes way for new and better experiences."Pini praised the phone as "an incredible workhorse device for customers, exceeding all expectations.""But, the Classic has long surpassed the average lifespan for a smartphone in today’s market," he wrote. "We are ready for this change so we can give our customers something better -- entrenched in our legacy in security and pedigree in making the most productive smartphones."BlackBerry has been under pressure to bolster its under-performing handset business and is placing its hopes on making phones that run on Google's operating system, Android.John Chen, BlackBerry's chief executive officer, previously set a self-imposed deadline of making the smartphone business profitable by September."I’m actually quite disappointed that our hardware business isn’t better," Chen said in April, according to the Globe and Mail. "I truly believe we’re very close to break-even or profitability."
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  • Amazon(NEW YORK) -- Amazon’s much-hyped Prime Day sale event is July 12, but the giant online retailer is already offering deals leading up to the big day.Prime members pay $99 a year for free two-day shipping and access to streaming media.On its second annual Prime Day sale, Prime members will have access to more than 100,000 deals. Sources at Amazon tell ABC News' Becky Worley they are trying to get every deal offered down to the lowest price it’s been on Amazon in at least 12 months, if not longer.In addition to their standard lightning deals this week, the retailer will offer between four and six special deals from midnight Pacific time until inventory lasts. Each day’s offers will have a different theme.Here are Wednesday’s deals, which center around food and entertaining:Summer Gadgets on the Go from Sunvalleytek: Save up to 60 percent. This brand is a bit obscure, but if you are in the market for a power adaptor, these deals could be good.Lenox Butterfly Meadow 28-piece dinnerware set: Deal price $169.99.Blendtec Total Blender: Deal price $279.99 (30 percent off).Char-Broil The Big Easy TRU-Infrared Oil-Less Turkey Fryer Bundle with 2 Leg Racks and Kabob Set: Deal price $77.99.Strategies for Making the Most of Prime Day1. You must be a member to participate. The good news is you can sign up now for a free 30-day trial. Just make a note to yourself to cancel it in 30 days and you can shop to your heart’s content next week on Prime Day.2. Get the Amazon app. It has a watch list of products, so the night before or the morning of Prime Day you can scroll through to see what deals will go live. If something interests you, simply put it on your watch list and when the deal goes live your phone will receive an alert and you can swoop in to purchase the item.3. With competitive pricing, other retailers will want in on the game. Check Walmart, Best Buy and all the big retailers for deals over the next week, too.4. It’s true that some people complained that the items offered on last year’s inaugural Prime Day weren’t exactly bestsellers. Worley's Amazon sources tell her this year’s deals will be about showing to Prime members areas of the site they’d never visited before. For example, if you normally visit Amazon for items such as towels and shampoo, they want to show you a deal on streaming media or online storage. And if you normally purchase gadgets, they want to show you a deal on shoes or other fashion, so it won’t be quite like a Black Friday event where there will be offers on universally loved items.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- When it comes to smartphones, the two-year upgrade cycle from carriers is a relic of the past so, as a result, many people are holding on to their iPhones longer than ever.Citi analyst Jim Suva wrote in a memo that the typical iPhone upgrade cycle is now 28 months and could extend to three years in the future, according to Apple Insider. The trend was also reflected in Apple's second-quarter results, which were reported in April and showed the first-ever sales slump for Apple's flagship product.With Apple likely holding its annual iPhone release in September, customers who have passed that two-year mark and are ready for a replacement are left in limbo for the next two months wondering whether to upgrade now or whether the rumored iPhone 7 is worth the wait.The easy answer: If your phone works, wait. People who aren't interested in the newest iPhone can still look forward, come September, to the company’s continuing its usual practice of reducing the cost of older-generation iPhones."The smartphone upgrade decision is situational and a very personal decision," Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, told ABC News. "If smartphones seem very expensive, the consumer doesn’t need the leading edge. And if their phone still 'works,' it makes sense to wait to get $100 to 200 off the phone they want."The speculation is that Apple will remove the headphone jack in the new iPhone, which would make the phone skinnier and improve its water resistance, sources told the Wall Street Journal.While Apple hasn't commented on the new iPhone rumors, Moorhead said consumers can likely bank on "big improvements in the camera, wireless speed and potentially even improved water resistance.""Additionally, as we have seen with every new smartphone,” he added. “I expect a much faster processor, making the phone more responsive.”
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  • Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Sports bras are used by nearly all women when it comes to working out, yet a quarter of all women say their bras hurt them when they exercise or they experience pain from activity, according to Brooks, the makers of sneakers, running garb and bras. But it doesn’t have to be that way.Stacy Steffen is a biomechanist at Brooks. She took ABC News' Becky Worley into the lab where they bring motion-capture technology to the evaluation of each new bra they design. “We’re looking at the vertical motion, side-to-side and in-and-out motion, and we look at that collectively and in 3D to get an ideal range," Steffen said.What are also called "jog bras" used to be all about compression -- suppressing movement by uniformly pushing breasts down close to the chest. But that smushing comes with issues. Namely, you look like you have one long “uniboob” and all that compression isn’t comfortable. Now, bra makers have brought sophisticated engineering and testing methods (like motion-capture analysis) to the creation of bras. These methods isolate the specific areas of movement without compressing everything.Back in the lab, Steffen collects data. She used markers on test-runner Jordan Flickinger’s shoulders and hips as a baseline. She also put markers on Jordan’s bra to see how different the movement is. That excess breast movement is then quantified.“You'll see different up-and-down [movement], side-to-side, in-and-out, and that will change in the 3D pattern because the breasts move in a figure eight and so the motion isn't just up and down," Steffen said. "We want to make sure we stop it happening all around.”Armed with that info, designers place stronger compression in areas of movement, but leave other areas alone without compression. The end result is jog bras that can now offer shape. To use the old bra marketing phrase, they can lift and separate.To show the difference an engineered bra can make, Flickinger started in a strappy bra Worley purchased -- not a Brooks bra. Flickinger ran and quickly commented on the bra. “It feels a little off,” she said. She also reported that there was a fair amount of bounce and the straps were digging into her shoulders.When Jordan changed into an engineered bra from Brooks, the movement went way down. Crunching the motion-capture data, Steffen said this bra reduced vertical motion by 66 percent, horizontal movement by 47 percent and in-out movement by 11 percent.That reduction in movement can make a huge difference. One of Brooks' other testers, Robyn Winters, agreed.Winters is an avid runner and wears a bra size of 34F. When Worley asked Winters what it feels like to run in a bra that doesn’t offer the right support, she was quick to answer. “It hurts like you can almost like feel a muscle tear almost just from the movement because you're going side to side and up and down so ... it's not good," Winters responded.As more of us get active, bra companies are taking note. Worley found a zip-up sports bra promising extra support from Victoria's Secret. Nike has running bras up to 38E and Title Nine, a catalog founded on athletic bras, has a slew of bras rated as triple barbells.As for that old bra, Worley took hers up to Brooks and showed it to Rebecca duRivage-Jacobs, bra product line manager at Brooks. Worley confessed: “I have to admit something, this bra that I brought with me is quiet possibly 15 years old. I still wear it.”DuRivage-Jacobs was not shocked. “I appreciate you being so comfortable sharing this with me," she said. "We get this a lot.”DuRivage-Jacobs said we don’t think about replacing our bras regularly but it’s important: “The hard work that a sports bra is doing during performance, in the wash, on the run, they're durable pieces of equipment, but you take them through the paces.” She recommends replacing bras at least
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — More than 500,000 hoverboards are being recalled because of fire hazards that pose the risk of injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.The recall involves hoverboards from eight manufacturers/importers that are made with lithium-ion battery packs as well as 4,300 from Overstock.com and 1,300 from a store in Pennsylvania. Amazon.com is not listed in the recall, but in February, the online giant worked with the CPSC to offer refunds to any customer who wanted to return hoverboards purchased on the site.Hoverboards by Swagway make up more than half of those recalled -- 267,000."We are urging consumers to act quickly," CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye told ABC News. "We’ve concluded pretty definitively that these are not safe products the way they were designed."There is the risk that the battery packs in the self-balancing scooters, known as hoverboards, might overheat, start to smoke or catch fire, officials said. There is also a possibility of explosions that cause burns and property damage, according to the CPSC.Consumers should stop using the hoverboards immediately and contact the recalling company, officials said, and are asked to comply with safety standards to dispose of the scooters in a manner that is in line with state and local regulations.Almost 100 incidents have been reported, with some injuries and property damage, Kaye said. Consumers are being urged to get a refund, a repair or replacement part depending on the model hoverboard they currently own."This is a huge recall. It’s the recall we’ve all been waiting for to address this product that as soon as it came on the market presented a pretty significant fire hazard, and continues to present a fall hazard," Kaye said.The recalled hoverboards were manufactured in China and mostly sold by online retailers from June 2015 through May 2016 for about $350 to $900.Swagway declined comment.“Overstock.com discontinued the sale of hover board self-balancing scooters early last December due to growing concerns about our customers’ safety," a spokesman said in a statement. "At that time, we also contacted every customer that had purchased such a device from the website and offered them a full refund. Since that decision, we have not resumed selling the product on our website, and we will continue to investigate any new safety advances within the product category.”Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • ABC News(NEW YORK) — Melissa and Doug Bernstein, the married creators of the Melissa & Doug toy line, built their $350 million conglomerate using creativity and hard work. And they’ve never paid for a single ad.They’ve also never invited TV cameras into their home. Until now.ABC News’ Juju Chang visited the couple inside their home, where they talked to her about what made a good Melissa & Doug toy.“We take old-fashioned categories but we inject real ... excitement and pizazz,” Doug said.He agreed that the company’s products tend to slow down childhood, saying “that’s exactly what we want them to do.”Added Melissa: “What we’re trying to say, in our simple way, step back and engage in some time together ... just play.”Imaginary play is important for children, Michelle said.“That is the essence of childhood. Through imaginary play you discover who you are. You explore,” she said. “You create ... You try things and fail. And it’s OK because it’s just imaginary. So you learn to take risks and discover in that who you really are.”Studies show that children learn best by interacting with people and not screens. The Melissa & Doug philosophy matches the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation that parents limit screen time for young children.The Bernsteins, of Westport, Conn., also say boredom is key.“We believe that boredom is a great thing because from boredom, all creativity comes,” Doug said.Michelle likened boredom to “staring at a blank canvas and saying ‘oh, my goodness, I need to fill this up. What do I do?”That’s when “magic happens,” she said.From dress-up to playing grownup and puzzles to crafts, Melissa & Doug toys flex every muscle of a child’s developing sense of identity — and the toys are often tested by their six children.After 28 years and more than 5,000 products, the Bernsteins’ company — which started as a humble operation in Doug's father garage — is now in the same league as toy titans Mattel and Lego.“When we first started making products, we threw them in the back of my father’s old Malibu station wagon and ... we’d go into stores,” Doug said, adding that they “literally begged” retailers to give their products a try.Michelle chimed in that they “cried sometimes.” The two recalled that they ate “chicken hot dogs and ramen noodles” for about two years."Ramen were 10 pack for 99 cents and we had one-burner stove. And we ate that for basically two to three meals a day because that was all we could afford," Michelle said.The Bernsteins have come a long way since then. Their home sports its own basketball court and bowling alley, all built for family fun.Doug credits his wife for the philosophy behind their company’s success.“When you see Melissa’s face talking about this, you know why this works. Because there is no one more genuinely and authentically living and breathing this, and she is. And that’s where this all comes from ...,” he said. "She has never once done a marketing study. She has never once polled anybody. It all comes from her own inner excitement and frankly tapping back into her childhood where she was extraordinarily creative and playing with crafts, all day long, making her own dolls, making all her own crafts. And I think that’s what she took with her throughout life."Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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