voice

Amazon surprised people with the Echo, a speaker you can talk to Siri-like and get information from.

It’s a cool, futuristic sounding idea, but I’m not sure it’ll work in the short-term. Siri and Cortana haven’t taken the public by storm yet and that doesn’t bode well for Echo. One key difference is that the Echo will always be present (in a given room), so you don’t have to pull out your phone and tap a button; you can just speak to it. Amazon hopes this lack of friction will be a game changer.

I’ll tell you why it’s not though, and that’s because I can do that already…with my Moto 360, which is always on me and has voice control, yet doesn’t work all that great.

Amazon might out-execute Google, but I have doubts. The $199 doesn’t help either. Still, I love fiddling with these kinds of gadgets, and will post a review if I ever get my hands on one. Video after the break.

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When Google announced its new Nexus line of products, I was most excited about the Nexus Player. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like Google succeeded in creating a breakthrough product. Yet anyway.

Ars Technica has a great review which you can read here. The summary:

Unfortunately for Google’s living room ambitions, the Nexus Player isn’t very good. Despite the company’s experience with Google TV, the Nexus Player and Android TV are first-gen products with lots of first-gen problems. The hardware/software combo flops on many of the basics—such as playing video smoothly—and doesn’t deliver on any of the compelling experiences “Android on your TV” would seem able to provide. Apps and games are presumably supposed to be the big differentiator here from the Chromecast and Apple TV, but the Play Store interface is clunky and, instead of 1.4 million Android apps, you get access to about 70. It’s also pretty buggy.

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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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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 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?

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Motorola is on a roll. It started last year with the Moto G, the company’s most successful phone ever. I owned one and can vouch for its excellent value. The flagship this year, the new Moto X, has been described by The Verge as possibly “the best Android phone ever made.”

The latest triumph is the Moto 360, which David Pierce says “is the smartwatch [he’s] been waiting for.” It’s already sold out online. As I wrote before, I’m excited about the Moto 360. This is the smartwatch I intend to buy, though I’m still waiting to see what comes out of Cupertino.

The Moto X and Moto 360 are excellent in an expected way. What I’m surprised to be excited about though is the Moto Hint, which just might start a whole new product category and be the future of how we interact with devices.

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