Update Android Tim Cook's Wear and Thoughts on the Future iOS, Unusual Sony Watches and Premium Smartwatches from Swiss Companies, Death Microsoft Project Astoria and Hope 'apple' applications on Windows Phone …
Literally in the last issue, we talked about the fact that wearable electronics and all kinds of unusual devices need new means of information input.
|News digest №75. Input Devices|
Coincidentally, the very next day there was news about the update Android Wear 1.4, in which there was extended support for gestures – Wrist Gestures. You don't have to activate it separately in the settings – on all devices with Android Wear 1.4 and higher it will be enabled by default. That is, Google expects that for watches it will become the same standard as a touch screen or on-screen keyboard for modern smartphones.
To scroll through the list of notification cards, it is now enough to make a slight wrist movement away from you, and then slowly move the watch back. To see the details about the card of interest, you need to slightly raise your hand with the clock up, and then return to its previous position.
In words, it turns out to be interesting, the question is how responsive this control method will be and how many false positives there will be. But I think that even if there are misfires with Wrist Gestures at this particular moment, Google will fix them pretty quickly anyway.
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In general, despite the rather skeptical attitude of many buyers towards modern 'smart' watches, this type of mobile device continues to evolve. Both world famous corporations and very small newbie companies continue to produce rather unusual and interesting devices from time to time. True, buying them can be quite problematic – many new items are produced in a very small batch and are sold only in the markets of specific countries.
An example is Sony's unusual FES Watch. This device is one continuous E-ink screen, from the dial to the ends of the strap. And if the choice of different dials is a completely standard phenomenon these days, the ability to customize the appearance of the strap is a very unusual idea. Another plus of this watch compared to the products of many competitors is the battery life, which will be about 60 days. But this watch can be called 'smart' at a stretch, there are no special sensors and 'non-core' functions there.
The watches will go on sale this month, however, exclusively in Japan. The price of new items will be $ 242. Another curious detail is that the Fashion Entertainments division was engaged in the development of the device. Perhaps, now Sony will begin to consider 'smart' watches primarily as an accessory, and not as a mobile technique?
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However, for my personal taste, for a fashion accessory, the design of FES Watch is clearly scary. I don’t know how a watch looks in real life, but in the photograph it looks like it’s cut out of paper. Which to some extent really corresponds to the truth – E-ink displays have been called e-paper for many years.
You can compare them with another novelty – the Activite Steel watch from the Withings company. Although this watch has almost the same shape, it looks (again, exclusively from photographs) in a completely different way. And they are much more suitable for the role of a fashion accessory.
The watch is made of steel, the strap is silicone. Unlike the Sony FES Watch, they were called 'smart' watches for a reason – thanks to additional sensors, Activite Steel will successfully replace a standard fitness bracelet. Although this watch does not have a display, the user can easily view all the collected information in the Withings Health Mate proprietary application on his smartphone.
Like the new Sony watch, the Activite Steel does not need to be recharged continuously. Actually, they don't even have a battery; instead, they use a regular battery. The cost of the device will be $ 170, while there is only one color available – black.
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Probably, the owners of expensive Swiss watches are amused by such attempts to pass off a 'smart' watch as an elite accessory. Well, it is for such people that the Swiss company Movado, together with HP, has released its Bold Motion 'smart watch'.
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As in the case of Activite Steel, the design of this watch is made in a classic style, there is no electronic display in it. Regardless, Bold Motion supports all of the standard smart features, from monitoring physical activity to displaying notifications. Moreover, judging by the official video, not only vibration, but also the blinking of the built-in LEDs can be assigned to notifications of different types.
Questions are raised by the price of the solution – $ 695. It just doesn't make sense to compare them with other 'smart' watches, these are expensive Swiss watches, not wearable electronics. The only question is whether the target audience will agree with this. Still, all these flashing LEDs and syncing with phones are not exactly what is expected from such an accessory.
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In general, more and more 'wiser' Swiss watches appear. Some of the companies are cautiously trying the water with their feet, adding only a couple of new functions to their watches, someone goes all out, creating a more or less ordinary 'smart' device on Android.
|Tag Heuer Connected: Ten facts about watches|
Among the latter are Tag Heuer Connected – a standard 'smart' watch on Android Wear, but with a 'premium design' and from a renowned manufacturer. The price of the device is $ 1500.
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As you can see, it is often the positioning of the device that dictates its cost. Even if someone says that it is completely unfair.
With the release of any new product, there will always be a lot of people who calculate the wholesale cost of all components and loudly resent the unfair price. Forgetting that the buyer comes to the store not for a set of components, but for a specific device. And he estimates possible scenarios of use primarily based on the name and category of the product, and not on its technical characteristics.
For buyers, a tablet (even with an additional keyboard) and a laptop (even with a keyboard that bends 360 degrees) are fundamentally different devices a priori. Even if they have similar hardware and the same OS. Basically, the question of what to buy, a tablet or a laptop, in the store simply does not arise – the buyer initially goes there for a strictly defined device and looks at a specific rack. That the same company Microsoft has long been proven in practice – tablets for a 'full-fledged' Windows wide audience turned out to be completely incomprehensible and unnecessary. When choosing a tablet, people looked at the Surface Pro as that. Whether it can run 'desktop' applications and how 'full' Windows there is, most simply did not care. And the Surface Book was announced for a reason, they will not become serious competitors with tablets a la Surface Pro.
In general, for a long time, tablets and laptops have always been on different shelves and really did not intersect in any way. But the idea of adding a couple of new functions to the tablet, adding a branded accessory or slightly changing the screen diagonal, and then declaring a device of a fundamentally different class (of course, at a fundamentally new price) turned out to be too tempting.
So a whole series of 'professional' tablets from various manufacturers was born, which was already discussed in one of the previous issues of the digest.
|News digest №69. Is there life on Mars?|
The culmination of the tablet-professional madness was iPad Pro, where only a plastic stylus already pulls for the price of a quite bearable tablet. This is because the Apple iPad Pro is a revolutionary device that will become much more convenient for artists, designers and people of many other professions than a regular laptop. In any case, the advertising message was something like this. And it's clear that in terms of price you need to compare it with the MacBook, and not with some kind of 'photo frames'. Especially if they are on Android.
|Tablet Review iPad Pro – Largest Tablet Apple|
|Review of the pencil Apple Pencil for iPad Pro, who needs it and why|
The majority of those interested in the subject (from professional journalists and analysts to simple 'geeks' and regulars on thematic forums) from the very beginning were divided into two camps. The first ones believed that this was initially a delusional and unviable idea, because Apple was far from the first company to step on this rake. The latter believed that what was allowed to Jupiter was simply not allowed to the bull. And they recalled that, according to analysts' forecasts, the first iPad was supposed to become 'just an ordinary photo frame', and iPhone was never expected to become a popular gaming platform.
You can still expect to see a miracle in the quarterly reports Apple and argue about who was right. But the company's management has already backtracked. Tim Cook recently stated that hybrid devices are a dead end, and if the device tries to become both a tablet and a laptop at the same time, then in the end it will not be both. And instead of all these incomprehensible things in Apple they always tried to make simply the best tablet and simply the best laptop, without mixing these concepts in any way.
We feel strongly that customers are not really looking for a converged Mac and iPad. Because what that would wind up doing, or what we’re worried would happen, is that neither experience would be as good as the customer wants. So we want to make the best tablet in the world and the best Mac in the world. And putting those two together would not achieve either. You'd begin to compromise in different ways.
In my opinion, this is a perfectly sound idea. It's just not clear how iPad Pro fits in here. Probably, in Apple from the very beginning they didn't mean anything like that, and users just misunderstood them?
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For some reason, it is generally accepted that each company has its own development strategy and a clear understanding of what is good and what is bad. Even if it is wrong. In fact, any company is a consolidated choir of singers recruited according to the announcement, who are often not too loyal to their conductor. They often care about their part much more than choral singing as such, and they may well try to shout down colleagues standing next to them, accidentally poke a neighbor in the stomach with their elbows, or just alter the words of the song in their own way along the way. As for the conductor, he doesn't really care about the audience either, the main thing is to keep the conductor's baton and put on a good face in time for a bad game. You look, the listeners will decide that it was intended. Unique author's performance and all that.
For a long time in Apple the situation was completely different. Steve Jobs has never been a supporter of democracy, and for him there have always been two paths – his own and the wrong one. And this applied not only to developments within the company. The same Android he was ready to strangle in any way possible, not disdaining even the most dirty tricks. The patent war unleashed by the Apple company alone is worth it, there was a bickering for completely standard system functions. And the point here was not only and not so much that Android could press out positions Apple. It's just that for him it was the wrong OS that had no right to exist at all. A geek of the mobile world, a challenge to everything that Jobs himself believed was right and necessary for those around him. Who and what else thought about this, he was no more worried than a medieval priest the opinion of a pagan accused of witchcraft.
With all this, he was always honest with customers – even if in his own special manner. When he said that iPhone is the best phone in the world, he believed it himself. When he announced that the only adequate diagonal for a smartphone is exactly 3.5 inches, he really knew for sure that it was. And somehow that approach worked. Maybe just because people felt it was really true, and not just another advertising slogan of marketers. Even if the truth of one particular person. Subjective and short-lived.
With Tim Cook, nothing like this is close. He is more of a sober high-ranking official than a self-appointed messiah with delusions of grandeur. An official who is not at all obliged to believe what he says to voters, who knows that the responsibility can always be shifted onto the shoulders of deputies and consultants, who is always ready to say that he was misunderstood and he had something else in mind. And who is well aware that it is not necessary to fulfill election promises, but it is imperative to voice them on time – otherwise you will not be able to stay on top, less scrupulous competitors will crush them.
Almost all other companies act in exactly the same way, regardless of what devices and on what OS they release. Fans of this or that brand, happily ready to pick up any slogan thrown from the stands, should always remember that soon the beloved company may well 'forget about it'.
For example, according to the chapter Microsoft, the voice assistant Cortana will soon replace browsers. True, with the proviso that browsers as such will not disappear, but the way of searching and viewing information will simply change … which from the user's point of view is exactly the same.
Something like 640 kilobytes of memory, which is enough for everyone, don't you think? You can place bets, as soon as it turns out that he meant something completely different and no Cortana, together with the upcoming launch of the innovative and amazing Windows Mobile 10, has nothing to do with it.
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Another example can be cited. It has been rumored for a long time that any existing Android applications can be easily and quickly transferred to the new mobile version Windows. And not just rumors – things like Project Astoria do exist and the company Microsoft is really working in that direction. Or, rather, it would be better to say, 'worked.'
Judging by unconfirmed reports, in the end, the company decided to abandon Project Astoria. According to Windows Central, MS programmers have not been able to achieve a normal level of performance from such 'imported' applications – they had to run in a special emulator, which cannot be brought into a divine form. Moreover, from the last assemblies available to developers Windows Mobile 10 it was removed altogether, although the death of the project has not yet been officially recognized.
But Project Islandwood, which aims to help quickly move applications to Windows for iOS, is still alive.
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Let me remind you once again that there has been no official confirmation of this information yet. But the most ardent fans can begin to prepare to once again change their priorities. Now Android applications are no longer needed by anyone, but all sane people have dreamed of programs from iOS since childhood.