operating system

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.

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Microsoft just announced Windows 10. It’s a horrible name, and Microsoft is setting itself up to be made fun of just like they did with Surface’s “no compromises” tagline.

Here’s a joke already making the rounds: It’s Windows 10 because 7 8 9. Argh. Every time Windows 10 fails, and it will inevitably fail for something sometime, Windows 9 will be the easy barb.

Why not just go with something like Windows X? It even implies the number 10.

Name aside, Windows 10 looks promising. I’ve been sketching ideas on OneNote with my Surface Pro 3, and redesigning Windows 8 is a favorite subject. High up on my wish list is a touch mode and desktop mode; triggered when you detach or attach a keyboard to a 2-in-1 device. That’s in Windows 10 and which Microsoft calls Continuum. It looks good.

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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.

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There is an interesting back and forth at The Verge, where Nilay Patel and David Pierce have a Google vs. Samsung argument. Of course, the reality is they need each other, and there is no practical outcome where one is better off without the other.

For the sake of discussion, let’s accept the premise that Google and Samsung ought to be pitted against each other in battle. Who wins? Pierce has the dilemma boiled down to one question:

Google needs Samsung more than Samsung needs Google. Samsung has its own platforms, its own services, its own software. It’s vertically integrated, reliant on no other company to make its products. Android could disappear tomorrow and Samsung would just switch to Tizen — and I’m not sure how many consumers would even notice the change.

I agree this is the right way to decide the debate. But I disagree with the conclusion.

We all know what would happen if Samsung switched to Tizen: Samsung would end up just like Microsoft-Nokia.

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