Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself

My name is….

Nahhh, let me not screw up that epic Jay-Z line. I don’t have bars. Hahahahaha.

​I’m a grown ass man.  Yes that is right I use a cliche to reinvent my blog yet again. Sure it is not catchy or life changing, but lets get real, this is just a blog.  

In a realer sense many things have changed since I have blogged last and many things have not.  For starters I have 2 wonderful boys I am now responsible for, and honestly that changes a lot.  What hasn’t changed…well…I am still a tech fanboy, and I love gadgets, cars, fashion, and shoes.  Yeah it is a weird mix, but I am a nerd, and nerds are allowed to have weird mixes.  Thank you very much.

Work is work, you don’t need the gritty details but I’m still in the same place just with a little more responsibility and a little more paper for my pockets. That however helps to counter act how much cash it takes to raise to boys. 

Finally my beautiful wife is as beautiful as the first date we met. Brotha needs to keep up. While the babies take up almost all of our time we are still going strong and I humbly thank God for that. 

So, what’s next?

That for whatever 2 people are reading my scratch is the million dollar question. This blog was always meant as a way for me to get my thoughts out to whoever cared to read them. Simple as that. While I have grown husband, father, and son, I hope that growth will eminate in the words that I infuse to this screen.  This ain’t suppose to be poetry or some new thought provoking exercise on a particular topic. No. This is me and not about you. Lol..that was rude huh?  Well in the words of David Chapelle, “I keep it real!!!!” let’s hope it doesn’t go wrong. 

Anyways, before I start to ramble off. Welcome to HeCareth, The Blog.

What If…..Google Preempts Apple

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Photo: Photo Credit: Adrian Maciburko, “Google Time Concept”

So We all know that Samsung tried to preempt Apple with their Galaxy Gear watch. We also know how that worked out, at least at the initial release. It is better, but still needs a ton of work.

So everyone, and I mean everyone is in fever pitch anticipation for the “iWatch” It is being described as revolutionary, a game changer, innovative, basically the best thing since slice bread…and Apple has not even said they are making one.

So here is my theory. What if Google Preemps Apple in the watch Aspect, Here is my logic

1. Google purchased WIMM in like 2012 or so. So watches have been on their mind for a while. I think they have been working to perfect wearables in that X Lab of theirs for a decent period of time, longer than Apple I might add.

2. Google also has Glass. I feel glass is not only an experiment about “Eye Wear” but an experiment about what is the best way to show information at a glance. The API for glass was also renamed to from “Glass” to “Mirror” API and I think this is because this same API will be used in all wearables

3. Google is a data driven company. Wearables are all about having the right data/information at the right time. It is what we are missing in a watch. Not just notifications, or health information, but the right notification at the right time Google has showed us that with Google Now, they understand this, and as a company driven on data they are steps ahead of what any other company is doing.

The rumors. Now we all know a rumor came out at the end of last year that Google was in production of a smart watch. Then poof nothing happened. This was right around November. I think Google saw what they had and was like the hardware is not up to snuff we can do better. So they were like….

1. Divest Motorola as Google already has the Patents anyway, and Motorola is killing the bottom line. This will open up some space for a major non Mobile hardware acquisition. But who….

2. Nest. They are really about merging in predictive data to hardware which fits right into what we Google is trying to do with Wearable and Home Automation. Plus they have a good hardware aesthetic Google could use internally for all hardware.

Google started talking to Lenovo right around the time the Google watch Rumors hit. I do not think this was a coincidence, and I would say they were talking to Nest around the same time. I think Google has the software ready and it has been ready, but the hardware is not. I feel Google sent what they had to the Nest team, and they will edit and produce a version 2 that will be introduced at Google I/O. Before Apple has a chance to present their own.

Here is what I expect:

1. The Defining Feature will be Contextual Notifications through Google Now

2. Google will most likely sell this thing for $99 to $150. As it will be an ecosystem market play, rather than a hardware sales play. I think Google will offer bright plastic colors similar to the Nexus 7 for $99 with metal options for $150 and up.

3. The Apps currently available on Glass will be easily ported to the Watch with Google providing API access to Google Now. This will give Google a big head start with developers already using Glass API

4. I believe it will be WiFi enabled and able to work independently on your WiFi network, for contextual Google Now notifications

5. It will also use Bluetooth LE for connecting to your phone for Phone related notifications

6. It will track heart rate, steps, and other vital information. Giving you daily summarizes of your activity in a card similar to the monthly steps card.

I just think, as people focus so closely on what Apple is doing…so much of the writing is on the wall with what Google is doing.

The Smart Driving App Battle

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Guess what? It is not known to many people who follow tech but there is a quiet little battle taking place in the Smart Driving arena.

It is about Automatic vs Dash. Both of these apps take advantage of Bluetooth OBD 2 hardware in your car do give you information about your drive, where you parked, your check engine light, etc…They also give you a driving score based on your habits. Similar to the progressive insurance thing.

Both apps literally do the same thing. With one major difference. Automatic is an iOS first app, while Dash is an Android first app.

In addition Automatic requires a proprietary Bluetooth OBD adapter for $99, while Dash can use any generic Bluetooth OBD ranging from $10 to $100.

Another key difference is focus. Automatic recently rolled out iBeacon capability to their units allowing users to theoretically pay for tolls and parking without getting out the car. Kind of cool. Dash seems to be focusing on the social aspect. I call it the gamification of driving. As with Dash you compete against your friends on Twitter, FB, G+, and FourSquare to see who has the best score.

It will be interesting to see where this goes. Especially with both companies starting their focus on competing platforms.



Wireless Chargers are the Truth

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I bought this Qi Charger for my Nexus 5 to sit next to my dresser, and I must say for $35 it does everything it needs to do.

For anyone who has a Nexus 5 or any Qi compatible phone like a Note or other Galaxy phone I suggest you invest in this thing.

RAVPower Wireless Charger Charging Pad Qi-Enabled USB Charger Phone… http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00H9B7ALK/ref=cm_sw_r_udp_awd_xRzYsb0VMRMY1

Mobile Messaging is Broken

We hear see it in the communities all the time. People in every single camp arguing over how great their respective platforms messaging app is or isn’t. However I feel what people fail to see is that messaging as a whole is simply broken and I do not see it getting any better. Instant messaging is like email and if it is not cross platform it kind of just sucks.The Messaging Closed Garden

iMessage is great for iPhone users and their iPhone using friends. However the minute 1 of your friends jumps ship, they are at risk of losing a message or never receiving one because either…they have an iPad which got the message and it never got delivered to their Android or Windows phone as a SMS…or an array of other weird delivery problems. The issue here is that iMessage is not cross platform, which in the end makes it only as good as what device the person your sending it to has. It is a seamless and elegant application but it doesn’t solve the mobile messaging problem.

The Messaging Cross-Platform Jungle

Now on the other side you have multiple cross platform apps for messaging. You have Hangouts, which will has SMS integration. This great because you can send and view SMS messages and Hangouts all in one app, and it is cross platform. Problem solved…right? Not really. Hangouts problem is actually the complete opposite of iMessage. Hangouts requires everyone to be using Hangouts, which for the most part probably is not going to happen that much with iOS. In addition Google decided to inelegantly separate SMS and IM messages in different threads which makes absolutely no sense. Even with Android…users are dispersed between FB Messenger, WhatsApp, ChatOn and others so the problem is even worse. Plus to add a little more, even if a user used Hangouts or another app on iOS…it cannot act as its default SMS provider, so it brings us back to the initial problem of juggling multiple messaging apps.

Which brings us back to the original claim, that mobile messaging is broken. Yes it works well for the pocket of users each messaging platform supports but in the end for many people messaging will continue to stay an array of 2 – 3 Apps users use to communicate. For me who carry’s a iPhone for work and Nexus 5 for personal…

– WhatsApp on my Nexus 5 to party chat with my sisters
– Hangouts on my iPhone and Nexus 5 to chat with my wife through IM and SMS for everyone else.
– iMessage on my iPhone for SMS and sometimes IM’s from my baby sister and my dad

Yep for me that is 3 apps. This is the new normal for mobile messaging, and I don’t see it going away

Nobody Wants Stock Android

Another discussion on Google+ got me thinking about the whole discussion about stock Android. And the one thing I realized is that nobody wants stock Android.

Stock Android is AOSP, and for the most part nobody wants AOSP in its pure form. They want AOSP+.

For example, with the Nexus 5 what you are seeing is Google’s skin on top of AOSP. Google replaced the browser, messaging, camera, dialer, and search apps specifically to meet Google’s needs. For the most part Google did to AOSP what every other OEM did to AOSP, but less intrusive and arguably more elegant and useful.

Call it what you like but the Nexus does not run stock Android it runs Google Android, and it will only get more googlier in the future.

Why I Don’t Use Bing

Now I’m sure many folks here will say that Bing is great search engine. And for the most part it probably is but, on Christmas even I decided to test what results I will get if I search for Santa Tracker on each site. I wanted to see if either Bing or Google was up to some Santa Tracking shenigans in regard to page ranking…the results are as follows..

Google:

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via i.imgur.com

Bing

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via i.imgur.com

Now to be fair each search engine ranked the Santa Trackers as expected with NORAD before the Google One, but on Bing I got a mess of results mixed in with news and ads. Seriously Microsoft?

The TV Space Just Got Interesting

Today with HBO Go streaming coming to the Chromecast, Google just made one big addition to services with Chromecast capability. Just 4 months ago Chromecast was released and many thought that it would be a non starter after it seemed support was quiet. However now in total Chromecast support is on Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, Play Music, Play TV/Movies, and HBO Go. All this before an official SDK is released which rumors are pointing to December.

That is major. Yes there is no Amazon Instant Video, but with that amount of support I think Amazon will simply feel the pressure especially if they are trying to compete with Netflix.

Hey it has only been 4 months but by next summer I feel not only will there be Amazon Instant Video support. We will have a SDK and a ton of apps with support like Plex, Pocketcast, and other popular apps.

Reviews…..Its All Perspective

Like almost every year it is beginning to become a continuous cycle in regards to new devices and reviews. That is nobody is ever happy. I think for the most part folks are using reviews as a sort of ammunition to incite their ongoing Fanboy arguments and wars…

I.E

Fanboy A: Phone A is Better than Phone B

Fanboy B: No it is not, Phone B is way better

Fanboy A: Well Phone A got a higher score on the review so it must be better

Fanboy B: Reviewer X, doesn’t know what he/she is talking about

 We have seen everywhere. But the one thing I have learned is that reviews are all about perspective from the person reviewing the device. No ones perspective is the same, as certain things will annoy certain people more than others. Looking at the Nexus 5 reviews from multiple sites some consider it..better than the iPhone, some don’t, many consider the devices equal relative to the different ecosystems. It is all a mix bad.

Having recent moved my company phone from a blackberry to iPhone, I now understand this using both Android and iOS throughout the day. My perspective is that while the iPhone has great hardware and takes great pictures, it works counter to my usual workflow, which is why I do not prefer to use it as my personal everyday device.

I think many of us have to look at these reviews not based on the quick wins or lows, but based on who is using the device and how are they using the device. Basically, focus on the context in addition to the content.

About These Smart Watches….

Throughout most of the recent tech stories about watches including those in the Verge, there seems to be a fascination about Smart Watches and their future that reads like, “SMart Watches are coming…can they beat Apple’s iWatch”

For example…

Gaw believes that the renewed interest in smartwatches we’re currently seeing is little more than a bunch of gadget makers trying to get a jump on Apple’s much-rumored smartwatch. Despite the wide variety of options that have launched and will continue to launch in the coming months, offerings from the likes of Samsung, Sony, Qualcomm and others aren’t expected to see much interest from buyers. Qualcomm itself has even acknowledged that there isn’t yet any real demand for smartwatches.

http://bgr.com/2013/10/30/smartwatch-demand-holidays-2013/

Beyond that, retaining some smartphone independence will be valuable, but the real attraction for everyone will be the promise of this being the perfect iPhone accessory. For that to happen, Apple will need to carefully balance functionality against the demands of battery life and accessible pricing. It’s probably because of that task’s high degree of difficulty that we haven’t seen the iWatch emerge yet. As Tim Cook puts it, “to convince people that they have to wear something, it has to be incredible.”

http://www.theverge.com/2013/10/17/4842228/state-of-the-smartwatch-art-in-2013

Now sure everyone keeps thinking Apple will make a watch, just like they thought they would make a television set but there is almost nothing except for a rumour that points in that direction. However everyone is assuming the only company with enough talent to get this right is Apple.

The thing I find funny is that there is a company out there outside of the usual OEMs that does have the talent, and egineering know how to get this new piece of tech right. Its Google, however for whatever reason no one seems to really bring them in the conversation. There is way more evidence pointing to a Google powered Smartwatch than anything coming from Apple…This includes the following

  • Google having purchased WIMM Labs for almost and year. WIMM Labs already had a watch developed at the time of purchase since 2012, including apps and a app store
  • Google’s Patent fillings in October 2012 and May 2013reveal that they are already looking into smart watch Functions
  • Google already has contextual based notifications with Google Now. Apple purchased Cue a month ago and rumors started flying it was for a iWatch.
  • Google has Motorola, which for the most part already has a functional smartwatch with the Actv for fitness tracking, which by the way runs a customized version of Android
  • Android 4.3 Introduces BT LE and a Notification listener for external devices
  • The Nexus 4 passes gets 2 new profiles in October adding HID over GATT Profile and Scan Parameters Profile. The The ScPP is used to provide devices with information to assist them in managing their connection idle timeout and advertising parameters to optimize for power consumption and/or reconnection latency. The HID over GATT profile defines the procedures and features to be used by Bluetooth low energy HID Devices using GATT and Bluetooth HID Hosts using GATT.

Besides the recent rumors that the thing is practically done. I think for the most part Google will actually produce the better smart watch out there in regards to functionality and use. Android still handles notifications better than iOS for the most part. I think Apple will be able to get the masses to buy it, but in the end it will be Google who shows us how a smartwatch is supposed to function