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Weekly wrap: the top digital trends

Doing what’s right for the soul is often hard. This week, we look at the best apps for the mind, along with smartphones, video and ‘pinned tweets’. Here’s our top digital picks this week:

Larger screens and 4G drive mobile video usage

A study by Strategy Analytics conducted in the US, China, France, Germany, Spain and the UK found 42 per cent of mobile phone owners said larger screens would make them watch more videos on their mobiles. Better quality video and 4G were other main drivers. Currently about 75 per cent of consumers watch video on their phones, but only 44 per cent do this once a week.

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The rise and rise of smart phones

The latest consumer data from IPA TouchPoints5 found nearly half of UK consumers own a smartphone, while 27 per cent own a tablet and 38 per cent either owned one or had the use of one in their home. Over the course of one week desktop and laptop devices now account for 54 per cent of the total time spent online, with mobile devices accounting for the rest.

Apps for the soul

Buddify provides guided meditation tracks for 14 different activities, from eating and traveling to walking in the city and even working online. Like a gym membership for your brain, Buddhify is specifically designed for busy people who still want to prioritize the health of their minds.

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Headspace teaches you how to meditate in just 10 minutes a day. It will guide you via podcast through modern meditations on how to get to sleep quickly and easily, how to make your daily crazed commute stress-free, how to take the time to really appreciate your food, and more.

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GPS for the soul is an app, presented by Huffington Post, bLife, and HeartMath, that uses your phone’s camera lens to measure your stress levels, then invites you to course-correct through music, poetry, breathing exercises, pictures of your loved ones, and more.

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Free ‘pinned tweets’

Twitter is rolling out “pinned tweets” to a select group of high-profile users for free. The feature allows a limited number of politicians, musicians, and other celebrities to pin a tweet to the top of their stream. Paying customers will also have access to this feature. A “pinned tweet” will not be constrained to time limits. It will be labeled as “promoted” at the top of a user’s profile and is always displayed as shown below:

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Facebook’s free voice calls

Facebook updated its Messenger app on Thursday with improvements to the app’s voice calling feature. The latest version of the app makes it easier for users to make calls by changing the location of the call button so it appears next to a contact’s name within conversations. (Previously, the call button was behind a menu.)