With an already overwhelming presence in the mobile devices segment, Google now wishes to engage with consumers at a more deeper and personal level. The search giant made that amply clear at the SXSW with Senior Vice President Sundar Pichai announcing the launch of a SDK that will enable developers to make apps for wearables. Right now that seems to be applicable more to smartwatches and fitness tracking devices, though Pichai is envisioning the wearable segment to get more and more intimate in the coming years. Maybe we can have smart jackets in future, or even a smart device implanted under the skin to keep track of vital health parameters at all times.
Coming back to the present, Pichai promised the SDK will be made available in just about 2 weeks' time. This will be accompanied with the way Google perceives the smart wearable segment to evolve in the next couple of years. The company also stated they will come up with a version of Android for use in smartwatch devices. The new OS variant will draw heavily from Google Now and search feature and is expected to be launched towards the end of this month. Google is also reported to be collaborating with LG Electronics in developing a smartwatch of its own in what surely is going to be the Nexus equivalent of a smartwatch device. The smartwatch is slated for launch in June during the Google I/O conference.
The above development is accompanied by similar efforts on part of Google to have its OS be seen in almost as many segments as possible. Back in January, Google had announced the Open Automotive Alliance the comprises of car makers such a GM, Hyundai, Audi, Honda Motors as well chipmaker Nvidia that looked for ways to implement the Google Android OS for use in the automotive sector.
Sunday, March 9, 2014
There aren't any definitive signs of the Apple iWatch so far, but that hasn't stopped designers from visualizing their own take on the purported smartwatch from the Cupertino company. Interestingly, a couple of iWatch renderings have appeared online and all of them are based on the traditional rounded watch face. These no doubt will act to hide the smart attributes the watch otherwise boasts of beneath its conventional design. Also, such renderings comes as a break from the usual types we have seen so far, that are either the types of fitness bands with a curved display incorporated or with angular edges as seen with the Galaxy Gear 2 and such.
Argentine student Tomas Moyano’s concept is sans any external keys or sockets, making it perfect for use even in rain or dusty conditions. The device also does away with sound based notification systems, relying instead on vibrations to inform the users of any incoming notifications. The justification for such a design feature is that sound based notifications can be unreliable in a busy and noisy area while generating sounds loud enough can be energy sapping as well. Instead, vibrations can be a lot more reliable, more so for a device that is always worn around the wrist.
Moyano also visualized the iWatch as one that forgoes on a cellular connection of its own to better conserve power. In such a scenario, the iWatch will be entirely dependent on the mother device it is tied to. While still on power issues, the concept iWatch includes micro solar panels to re-charge on its own when outdoors, along with wireless charging options as well.
As for its features, the iWatch concept might include a map application to aid in navigation though it remains to be seen how that can be achieved with the tiny display that the smartwatch typically offers. The iWatch rendering also includes a heart-beat tracking monitor, along with an associated app believed to draw on resources likely to be built-into the next iOS 8 version.
Among the other features that Moyano visualized include a 1.2 megapixel iSight camera capable for recording 720p HD videos, M7 motion co-processor, along with pulsometer and temperature sensors. It has a 1.4 inch sapphire crystal display and a resolution of 200ppi. The device will also boast of GPS and GLONASS along with Bluetooth 4.0 LE connectivity.
In any case, the concept offers a fresh new perspective of an iWatch prototype.
The new year has already proven to be big with Android launches. Android launches according to Flurry in just the first quarter this year has already surpassed that of the entire 2013, still not quite at the end of Q1, 2014. Some estimates are at about 30 million monthly users in the US, still far from assuming a dominant share.
Nevertheless, the tremendous growth recorded in Q1, 2014 shows consumers’ willingness to use Android, especially Google Now, Facebook Home (though this hasn't proven to be particularly popular), even those catering to a niche segment like Kids Place – Parental Control.
In the ongoing experimentation from newspapers to adapt to a world of digital consumers while still making a profit, the New York Times has announced its newest option: abridged stories from its own publications, and other source around the internet, optimized for mobile device reading. Thanks to a new app, NYT Now, subscribers to the app’s content can access shorter versions of the paper’s full-length articles for a little more than half the cost of a full digital subscription.
This kind of service is perfect for people who want the level of content and slant of journalism that the Times is typically known for, but do not have the time to read full-length editions every day. This as-of-yet untapped level on consumer–the person who wishes he read more books or was more up-to-date on current events, but simply doesn’t have enough time to devote to this type of reading–is becoming a bigger focus among digital publishing platforms; last week, Rooster announced the March 11th launch of its “snippet” reading subscription that lets users consume serialized books at a fraction of the cost of full-size ebook subscriptions, again, optimized for smartphone reading.
While both the NYT Now app and Rooster have set their price points at approximately half of the cost of a typical subscription, in the case of the news app, it may not be far enough. The app still requires a fee of around $8 a month, a price point that people who are already strapped for time may not be willing to pay to scroll through partial articles when that same level of engagement can be had for free by browsing news sites online.