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Google Glass or Apple iWatch

Published on February 20, 2013 by in Commentary

Which to choose Google Glass or iWatchThere seems to be a lot of talk about the Google Glass and Apple iWatch.  Many are wondering if they are going to be real products, but I think the real question is… Which would you rather have or would you want both?

I think the Google Glass is a great concept, having all the information at the tip of your eye and without any keyboards, just using your voice.    Imagine being at the store and trying to compare prices without having pull out your smart phone and taking a picture of the item and or bar code.  One of the wow factors is that you wont forget a name anymore… with the Glass all the info will be right there.  But what happens when its raining?  Will Google make it waterproof or at least water-resistant?   Wonder if there will be any studies done regarding viewing things at such close range at high-resolution and with that one eye… will it strain it?   Makes you wonder doesn’t it… what other things can you guys think of that can be pros and cons of the Google Glass.

Now the iWatch is something that is another great concept.  Although no word of Apple inc actually producing one but rumor has it that they are looking into it.  An iWatch can be great but what if I already have a nice time piece that I sent a ton of money on and like to wear?  I guess I could sell it to get the iWatch.    Joking aside, the iWatch sounds like it will be a great extension to your iPhone.   No more having to reach in your pocket to get quick information or see text or who is calling, etc.    One concern I had would be battery life.  Would this device need to be charged daily?

With so many unknowns about the 2 devices, I don’t know which I would  go with. Which one would you choose?

 
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Google Maps for iOS comparison to Android version – first look

Google Maps for iOS has just hit Apple’s App Store and already it appears to be a massive hit.  Of some 10,000 customer reviews of the app, over 9,000 have been 4- or 5-star, and my first impression of the app bears that out.  I was initially afraid I wouldn’t be able to write this review at all, since I don’t have any iOS 6 devices yet.  However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the app only requires iOS 5.1 and above, and supports iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S and 5, as well as 3rd, 4th and 5th generation iPod touch and all iPad generations (although it’s not optimized for iPad yet).

The look and feel of the iOS version of the app is lean, clean and necessary, like a samurai sword — or an app designed by Apple itself. Yeah, it’s that pretty.  The iOS version has a link with Google Earth that the Android version doesn’t have. Conversely, Android’s version has multiple layers, some of which are tied into the Google ecosystem and aren’t present in the iOS version.  The Android version also has the ability to make an area available offline, which the iOS version does not.

The first navigation test I gave the app was a bit of a trick question, to be honest.  I live in the Portland, Oregon metro area, about a mile away from a shopping mall with a light rail park and ride station. However, that mall happens to be Clackamas Town Center, which was the site of a tragic shooting a couple of days ago.  What that’s meant for commuters is that this particular light rail station has been closed since Tuesday afternoon and isn’t likely to re-open until the mall itself opens for business again.

I fed both versions of the app my husband’s work commute information, which usually consists of him driving to the park and ride at the mall, then catching the train into downtown Portland.  Both apps showed the TriMet alert about the closed station, but the Android version was quicker at first to suggest an alternate light rail station for the trip.  That said, the iOS app seemed to update within an hour or so, and subsequent downtown trips I threw at it gave me the same information as the Android version.  One other small aside is that the Android version helpfully lists the price of the light rail trip, which the iOS version did not.  That information is certainly helpful if you’re navigating a new city on your own, with only your faithful mobile device as a companion.

Since this is just a first look at the app, I didn’t take the time to fully road test the Navigation feature under driving conditions.  However, I did plug a driving route into both the iOS and Android versions of the app, and then walked out my door and towards my car.  The Android app’s pushy GPS voice piped right up about what the first maneuvers of the drive should be.  The iOS version, on the other hand, had nothing to say, and I was unable to find controls that would allow me to turn on voice guidance, even after verifying that location services for Google Maps was enabled and consulting the in-app help menus.  (And may I say that it should NOT take 5 taps to get to a damn help menu! That’s a fail for the iOS version, and Google should know better…).

On a side note… the app actually announces the directions over your Bluetooth connected speaker!

This is a good first version of Google Maps on iOS, and it’s not likely to strand anyone in the wilderness. It’s just not great yet and it has at least one glaring flaw that precludes its use for turn-by-turn directions.  I’m sure there will be updates aplenty, and soon, to rectify this.  It’s just unfortunate to have such a major feature not immediately work on one of the most iconic mobile devices in the world.  Google Maps for iOS is kind of like that cheerleader you had a crush on in high school — pretty to look at and totally put together, but not quite as smart as you’d like her to be.

 

 

 
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YouTube App made entirely from Google for iOS

YouTube App made by Google

Now you can stream YouTube videos to through you Apple AirPlay using the new updated YouTube App for iOS, version 1.1.0.4136 (iPhone 5 and iPad update).  This new app is available today, so for all the YouTube fans out there that want to stream it through AirPlay go download it now.

It’s very exciting to see that Google developed this app 100%, because this just shows their commitment to iOS and I am hoping that we will start seeing more apps from them.

 
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Google’s Stupidity: Releases Nexus 4 with No 4G LTE

Published on October 29, 2012 by in Commentary, News

News of one of the greatest missteps in the history of smartphones (exaggeration mine) has spread throughout the Web as most tech journalists have weighed in on Google’s latest attempt to sell a worthwhile communications device.

Google’s misstep was not adding 4G LTE capabilities to the Nexus 4. Which, if it were two years ago, or even one year ago (I’m looking at you iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S) might have been understandable, though certainly when the iPhone 4S was released, LTE was pretty much ready to go. But now? In 2012? When your biggest competitor and the industry leader in profit and mind share (Apple) has LTE on its flagship product?

Inexcusable.

But wait, there IS an excuse! Google gets a pat on the butt from The Verge, that, for some reason, decided to run with the subtitle, “Sometimes the only winning move is not to play”. So, forfeiting on account of stupidity equals winning? The Verge continues it’s Google-y eyed reporting by trying to make the decision fit into a sly and sort of creepy sentence:

It is a disappointing omission, driven by both Google’s complex philosophical desire to build open devices as well as the fairly simple economics of building a halo product for a small niche of early adopters.

In other words, Google is trying to sell us a turd, telling people its like a yam, then telling us we can’t make candied yams out of it, because it’s actually a turd. In other, other words, Google has ruined my Thanksgiving.

First, Google devices are not “open”. Being carrier unlocked at the outset is a slight convenience for a few nerds and not many others. Unlocked does not equal open. Second, the philosophical desires of Google have nothing to do with openness or the user in general. What does Google care about? Squeezing dimes.

And when you squeeze dimes, you lose dollars.

Next up, in the sentence of over-used tech jargon, “halo product”. Fairly simple economics, as The Verge points out, is about creating a halo product for a small niche of… You know what? Lame. THIS IS THE NEXUS 4! As in, there are three previous models, right? Why would Google decide that its fourth generation flagship product should be the worst smartphone on the market?

I’ll give you some “simple economics” on this — if you make the worst product on the market, you lose. Simple.

Andy Rubin has an excuse answer for that:

Android head Andy Rubin calls the lack of LTE a “tactical issue,” and cites cost and battery life as major concerns with devices that have to support multiple radios. “A lot of the networks that have deployed LTE haven’t scaled completely yet — they’re hybrid networks […] which means the devices need both radios built into them,” he said. “When we did the Galaxy Nexus with LTE we had to do just that, and it just wasn’t a great user experience.”

Yes, not a great user experience. So Apple, famous for user experience, is not doing it right because it did included 4G LTE in the iPhone 5? Because it has multiple antennas, right? And what’s the battery life comparison of the Nexus 4 and the iPhone 5, I wonder? And how is Apple selling millions of these iPhone 5 units with LTE all over the world? It’s like, people actually want LTE!

If Rubin is so concerned about “tactical issues” shouldn’t he understand that Apple and Samsung are completely running away with the worldwide smartphone market? Shouldn’t he know that 4G LTE compatibility is now a deciding factor for smartphone buyers?

I hate writing so many questions in articles, but this is so incredibly perplexing. Every network is boasting about their LTE speeds and coverage. Any ad for AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, or even T-Mobile is 4G LTE-driven. But Rubin has decided that LTE hasn’t scaled completely yet. There’s a saying in hockey — skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it is.

If Rubin’s strategy is to wait for LTE to be totally rolled out before the Nexus supports it, Google will never get a phone worth a damn on the market. I have an iPhone 5 on AT&T and the user experience is incredible. The data speeds I have seen (some greater than local Wi-Fi hotspots) have been tremendous, transforming the way I use my phone. I hear the same thing from other 4G smartphone owners (Apple, Samsung, or otherwise).

The fact of the matter is, Apple is crushing the top-end of the smartphone market. Samsung is mopping up the middle, and a bunch of companies are collecting the scraps at the bottom (Nokia, HTC, maybe a Blackberry or two). Google, is skating full-speed into the smartphone market of 2009.

Not only that, it seems to be intentional. It’s like Andy Rubin was sitting in his office and said to himself, “I need some advice on the mobile space. Let’s see, I could call my buddy Tim Cook over at Apple. No. I could shell out for an international call and hook up with Kwon Oh Hyun at Samsung. No.” Then he went for a walk, saw some guy pop a cassette tape into a Walkman, stopped, and asked him for advice.

Is the Nexus 4 even remotely worth considering as a smartphone purchase? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

 
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Entertainment Ecosystems: Apple vs. Microsoft vs. Amazon vs. Google

Published on October 19, 2012 by in Apple, iPhone, Mac, News

– Image by MacStories

Graham Spencer, over at MacStories, has a nice analysis of the entertainment ecosystems of some of the top companies playing in the digital space — Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google. It’s no surprise that Apple has a nice cushion on most of the important categories, measured in world access — Music, Movies, TV Shows — and is in an extremely close second in Apps (both mobile and desktop). Spencer’s conclusion:

Whichever company is the “winner” depends on your circumstances (location, device, etc), but if you were to generally draw a conclusion I think it is clear that Apple would lead, Microsoft would be second, Google third and Amazon fourth.

Check out all the analysis, here.

 
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