android

Google announced three new devices today: the Nexus 6, the Nexus 9 and Nexus Player. Of the three, I predict the Nexus Player will yield the greatest influence.

The Nexus 6 looks like a good phone but it now has a $650 price, which means it competes with all the other flagship phones. Chinese manufacturers like OnePlus and Xiaomi continue to offer the best performance-to-price ratio on the market.

The Nexus 9 wants to be a productivity device with its detachable keyboard, but its 9-inch display is simply too small for it to be a capable laptop replacement. It might fill a niche, but it won’t be the converged device I’m looking for.

Of the three Nexus devices announced today, the Nexus Player is the most interesting. It will compete with other streaming boxes like Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, WD TV, Boxee, et. al., but that’s the boring part. Where the Nexus Player has the potential to disrupt its competitors is in games, which Google is taking seriously enough to launch a dedicated game controller. Android’s already extensive game library will be the Nexus Player’s differentiator. Apple TV, your move.

Read Full Article

I got a Moto 360 a few weeks ago and have been using it daily since. See the watch review here, the Android Wear review here and a comparison between Google’s and Apple’s implementations here. And now, the final look of this mini-series: third party apps.

Here’s the bottom line — they’re not very good.

I downloaded a bunch but will only talk about three that I ended up keeping, sorta: OneNote, RunKeeper and Wear Mini Launcher.

Read Full Article

Vanity Fair has a fascinating piece on the rise, fall and reboot of Microsoft. The story is really about leadership; from the days of Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer; to Ballmer succeeding as CEO; and finally to Satya Nadella. It’s a great piece and definitely worth reading.

I’m a big admirer of Ballmer, but must call him out on something he said in the article:

“The worst work I did was from 2001 to 2004,” says Ballmer. “And the company paid a price for bad work. I put the A-team resources on Longhorn, not on phones or browsers. All our resources were tied up on the wrong thing.” Who shoulders the blame is a matter of debate, but the fact is neither Ballmer nor Gates stopped the failure from happening, even as almost everyone else saw it coming.

Read Full Article

I was reading on Mashable how most are happy with their iPhone 6 Plus, a few are undecided, and a few returned it for the 6 — usually after only a day of use. That’s interesting because many who are happy with the 6 Plus needed a week or two to get used to it. Once they did, they loved it. That too was my experience with the OnePlus One.

The biggest reason for not liking the 6 Plus is that it wasn’t ideal for one handed use. Which I find fascinating, because the reason for that is not hardware — i.e. size per se — but software.

Read Full Article

We’re talking Android Wear this week, and back to our regularly scheduled program after a brief diversion with Windows 10.

Today I’d like to compare Google’s Android Wear with the Apple Watch. Of course, we don’t have complete information on the latter, and Apple will definitely change a few things from now until release — but we’ve seen enough to come to some conclusions.

Google’s fundamental philosophy for the smartwatch diverges greatly from Apple’s. Google wants you to use voice to perform actions whenever you can — when you tap on an Android Wear watch face, the only prompt you get is Google’s command to “Speak now.” The list of actions and apps you can scroll through after is a secondary option.

Read Full Article

Yesterday, we reviewed the Moto 360. Please check it out if you haven’t already. Today, we take a closer look at the operating system.

The future of the smartwatch is to be the primary entry point for your digital life. The device you scan first to get an update on what’s happening, and the preferred device for quick interactions like messaging a friend. You’ll want to use your voice; when it works, it’s the most elegant way to control this small interface.

This is the future that Google has presented with Android Wear. It’s an exciting one — even more exciting than Apple’s vision — but realization remains in the horizon. Android Wear may change the future tomorrow, but today it only provides a promise for it.

Android Wear is that pimply teenager. You can see the potential, but the teenager just too annoying to be taken seriously yet.

Read Full Article

There is a future where instead of a computer in your pocket, it’s the one on your wrist that you use most. Instead of your finger, you use voice to control it.

It’s the device for keeping updated on your digital life. When someone messages you — text or photo — your first preference will be to read it on your watch and reply with your voice. When someone invites you to an event, you accept or decline from your wrist while your smartphone stays in your pocket.

The smartphone is only for when voice is inconvenient, for consuming content and for bigger tasks like taking and editing photos. For everything else, especially the frequent, small interactions we have with friends, the smartwatch is our gateway.

This is the potential future of the smartwatch. Or my interpretation of it anyway.

Enter the Moto 360, powered by Android Wear. How does it deliver on that vision?

Read Full Article