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

OPINION: Why I Think Project Era Will be a Success

There seems to be a significant faction of people who think Moto’s Project Ara is dead before arrival. While some of their points are valid I think if Motorola plays it right, this could be the next big thing.

Project Ara is just the next step in Motorola’s focus to provide build to order custom phones for consumers. The Moto X was are first taste of that, and though we are still waiting for Moto Maker availability on all carriers the idea for the most part is solid.

Project Ara is just the next iteration of that, customize your phones down to the hardware in it. Do you know what industry boomed because of this? PCs. Right around 2003ish Dell came out with a method to build custom PC’s and ship to consumers within a short time frame. That idea is what made Dell the powerhouse it is in the PC hay day. Can you imagine not being able to customize the Ram, CPU, HD, or other parts in your PC now? No because it has become standard operating procedure for the PC industry.

Motorola, I believe, is trying to imprint the same method of custom PC’s into the mobile industry. So you buy a phone you decide on the camera sensor, RAM, CPU, display, and other specs that matter. If you think back, Motorola is already doing this with their X8 technology. Back when the Moto X came out the said they could uses any SoC with the X8 allowing for different future configurations.

Everyone keeps saying this is for tech geeks and people who want to build their own phones, which is a small market. I don’t think that is the case. This is for Motorola. Motorola wants to make themselves the Dell of the mobile industry. Where you buy the things you want in your phone based on your needs. Motorola could easily have 5 or so standard setups of the most common configurations. If you want to upgrade you can go to a Authorized dealer who will swap to modules out, and the old ones can be recycled there or sold on the market.

Yes there is the argument of standards, but why would the matter? Why would they need to mater? Size, will be the biggest roadblock, but I think with the years of knowledge Motorola has in phone manufacturing and where technology is today…this will not be as major as everyone thinks.

As tech enthusiast we are always bashing the Google’s, Apple’s, Samsung’s, etc of the industry for not bringing enough innovation, however when something comes around that is truly innovative in our sector and could change how we look at mobile…some criticize that too. Like is said it could be a success, which is entirely based on how it is implemented, but I believe Motorola has the brains…and the Google cash, to make something really major happen.

Chromebooks are the Future….

We Just Don’t Know it Yet.

As I see all the debate back and fourth about Windows, Mac, Office, iWork, and everything else you can imagine it occurred to me that the key features between everything here is internet connectivity. The internet is the must have app, and without your product is reduced to a market of Niche users.

In comes the Chromebook. Everyone says both how great and how useless they are but I think Google is playing a long game here that we are yet to see. That is more bandwidth. As technology matures, the more bandwidth we get which makes having the internet more of a requirement than an option. When you think about the things you need your laptop to do…for the normal consumer it comes down to

  • Productivity Software
  • Web Browsing
  • Music
  • Video

In the latest debate around productivity software we have Google Docs, Office, and iWork. Each having great little things about them. On a Chromebook I can access all of the above through the cloud, with offline access in Google Docs. Now you might say it is not as good as the standalone, but for most consumers…isn’t that enough? Most people using these productivity suites will for the most part be using them when connected to the net.

Web Browsing…I think this point is self explanatory so moving on

Music. Music is more and more going cloud based with the likes of iTUnes Match, All Access, Soptify, Pandora, and all the others becoming the norm for how people consume their music. Again, all these services require a network connection and are limited where there is not one.

Video. People’s TV’s are becoming their notebooks, as more and more people are consuming their video mediathrough Hulu, Netflix, HBO Go and other internet streaming services. Again all requiring an internet connection. Yes there are still a ton of people who save movies directly to their device for offline access on flights and other things, but with WiFi and cellular service starting to become more of a thing on flights, I see this offline becoming the way of the past.

The key conclusion here is that we are moving to a always on society, where being offline is considered weird. Being able to seamlessly bounce from device to device is what we expect, and having our data available to us no matter what device we are using is what we want. I think Chromebooks offer a lot of this functionality out of the box at a cheap cost.

I think in the next 5 years it is not going to be a Mac vs Windows debate on the consumer front, but a Chrome OS vs Mac OS debate. I could be completely wrong but time will tell.

Microsoft This…Microsoft That…

Now I was listening to a Ars Technica Podcast this morning, and it is actually my first time listening to their Podcast. Now I have a lot of respect for the site but I swear tech journalist these days are getting lazy, and their bias are starting to show more and more. With them saying companies are still on Windows 95, and other oddities which do not make sense

The thing I want to harp in is is the consistent bashing of Windows 8 by tech journalist. Windows 8 is not bad. It is different, but it is far from bad. What it is….it is not Mac OS, which I think is where all this bashing comes from. The vast majority of tech journalist use Mac OS as their primary operating system so anything that skews away from that look and feel is sometimes considered sub par. To be fair, Windows 8 is not perfect, and 8.1 added some key improvements, but for the most part I feel it is a nice OS.

Furthermore, the whole iWork suite being offered for free is the media making a big deal out of something small. It is not like iWork was crazy expensive ($5-$10) in the first place. What people have to realize is that for the most part College students by a vast majority use MS Office, and for the most part schools have volume licensing agreements to offer it to the student body for free..that includes office on Mac. Businesses by a vast majority use MS Office and many have Office at Home agreements that allow users to buy a copy for 2 computers for $10.

iWork is not cross platform, and will never be cross platform. So it means that everything will be regulated to Mac users who for the most part probably do not use Office like that in the first place. In addition they kind of makes the collaborative features null, unless everyone you are trying to collaborate with has a Apple device, so they have access to iWork in the cloud. Is iWork such a great piece software that because it is free people will now spend thousands on a Mac Book? I think not.

I guess the conclusion here is that as more tech journalist get deeper in Apple’s ecosystem their POVs become skewed to one side, making harder to distinguish what is really bad, and what is really you being to used to Mac OS.

The Verge review of Windows 8 and 8.1 for the most part show that it is no better or worse than it’s competitors and the bashing is simply uncalled for.

Conspiracy: Cue Was Bought for a Smart Watch

Now Yes I know it makes perfect sense that Apple bought Cue for it’s Today screen in the notifications and to bolster Siri. But I am just going to think outside of the box here.

We all know Apple and Google side step each other when it comes down to features, these days it seems like a race about who can get to a certain feature first. So my theory is based on what I think Google will do with it’s smart watch. I feel wearables for Google will have similar UI’s, and Google’s watch will match the UI of Google Glass, which in the end is all powered by Google Now. So long story short Google’s watch will be Google Now on your wrist.

Fast forward to Cue. I think Apple knows that, these type of contextual notifications are what should really be on a true “smart watch”. However, they have nothing like this with iOS. So why reinvent the wheel?…Buy the closest thing. I think in the end the Cue purchase is ultimately for Apple to release contextual Google Now like notifications on a wearable device. In addition it also could have been Apple ensuring that Google doesn’t scoop up the closest competition to Google Now, just like they did with Waze.

This news also comes very close to new rumors making their rounds that Google will release a watch this month with 4.4. I

Anyway I am probably completely wrong, but I think it makes sense

Google Should Buy or Invest in Validity Inc

The one thing no one can take from Apple is their ability to make simple things main stream. In some cases they remain the industry leader, and in others the get “out iterated” sort to speak. Anyway the new thing is Finger Print sensors, which are by far nothing new, but all of a sudden they have become more mainstream than ever.

I am sure other companies are working and probably have been working on the same, but I would like to see how Google from an Android perspective tackles this. When you have a physical button it is pretty much obvious how you implement the technology, however a full touch screen is well…different.

So here is what I think. I think Google should do another strategic buy in this space similar to what Apple did with Authentec. The company should be Validity Inc for the Natural ID tech.

While TouchID is purely fingerprint technology Natural ID is authentication technology on three fronts, Finger Print, Voice, and Facial Recognition. Google is already making strides in it’s Facial and Voice recognition technology and have the Validity Inc tech to bolster what they have already done with their Finger Print scanning tech could be the Android answer to Touch ID. In addition Natural ID also has the capability of Multi Factor authentication based on contextual location based and personal information.

You can read more here as Mobile Payments is also covered, but if anything I think it this landscape it would be a very strategic buy for Google.

http://www.validityinc.com/natural_ID.php

http://blog.laptopmag.com/your-next-smartphone-screen-will-read-your-fingerprints-video