Trends with Benefits: VR roller coasters, Amazon’s new Echo, Nickelodeon nostalgia

Apple isn’t budging on iPhone encryption, and neither is the FBI, so this battle isn’t going anywhere — but the stakes are as high as ever. We discuss the ongoing court battle, what’s next, and what it means for consumer privacy.

Apple also launched @AppleSupport on Twitter this week. This is a new approach for customer service, but how effective will it be? We’ve all had some successful and unsuccessful attempts at seeking help from corporations via Twitter.

Amazon’s new Amazon Tap and Echo Dot are speakers that can connect to any Bluetooth device you have in your house. With the increasing number of smart devices entering our homes, Alexa is attempting to be your gateway assistant. Caleb made a live Facebook video, demonstrating how to order the new speakers via Alexa.

Amazon is also in talks to bring live-streaming TV to its ever-increasing roster of programming. AMC and ESPN are rumored to be the initial live channels that the service would bring on. So far Sling TV has had the most successful platform for live programs, with little to no competition. Amazon certainly has the muscle to make a big splash, if the deals work out.

The viability of virtual reality received another boost this week, with pre-sales for both the Microsoft Hololens and the HTC Vive. The Vive alone sold 15,000 devices in 10 minutes, at $800 per unit! Ryan was able to try one out at MWC in Barcelona, and his reaction is surprising.

VR is also going from a single-user experience to a group setting. Six Flags theme parks and Samsung have teamed up to accentuate rides at several of their parks with the Gear VR. The rides themselves sound fantastic, but would you really want to share a sweaty headset with a stranger?

Finally, it seems as if many television content producers are running out of ideas. Fuller House is just latest example, and now Nickelodeon is jumping into the fray. Fans of Legends of the Hidden Temple may get to see their dreams come true, with the possibility of a TV movie based on the show! If you have no idea what Legends of the Hidden Temple is, you are definitely not alone. Ryan fills us in on his dream and we all discuss what we’d like to see remade.

Trends With Benefits is a weekly tech podcast and live video broadcast. It brings together experts from Digital Trends to discuss the tech topics of the day and beyond. Today’s episode features Marie Pardo-Garber, Ryan Waniata, Caleb Denison and Greg Nibler. Please subscribe and share Trends with Benefits and send in your questions to We also broadcast the show live on Periscope and YouTube every Thursday at 2:30 p.m. PST.

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