Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Android Police APK Teardown shows awesome sync updates

Android Police have one feature that I love to check out and that is the APK Teardown feature. This week they got their hands on the Google Play Services APK and tore it down in 2 parts. Part one looks at the gaming portion of the APK and that includes tons of goodies that we may get to see at I/O, including game syncing and leader boards. Part two is the more interesting part in my opinion as it looks as though there is app syncing coming to Android. This could mean backups for your devices or syncing app data across devices which would both be welcome additions to the Android ecosystem. In addition the teardown reveals a location sync that could be great for battery life if it turns out to be what Android Police believe.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Google Services Sharing Data

In a blog post today Google announced today that the storage for GMail, Drive and Google+ (Photos) will be combined into one 15GB package instead of separate amounts for each service.

This is one more in a series of steps in integrating the services provided by Google. I haven't quite decided if it is a good move or a bad one yet as the change has both pros and cons. On one hand now you can increase the size of your GMail past the previous 25GB limit if you pay for extra storage as any additional storage is also shared by all three services. In addition it means that if you are using one and it is close to capacity you will gain extra space if you aren't using the others to their full extent. The downside is that now you have to pay attention to the amount of space your Google+ pictures take up which you didn't have to before and can be a problem if you use all three to their full capacity, though I suppose that was a problem they had before.

Unfortunately CNET's original report that they increased the size of Drive by 3 times is not 100% accurate. (Though there is a one line update at the bottom of the article acknowledging the mistake the title is still quite misleading)

But with I/O still to come who knows, maybe there will be an increase in storage right around the corner.

Google I/O WEDNESDAY!!!

I for one can't wait for this year's I/O. Here are a couple sites that will have a livestream of the event, and if you need some more sites try any tech site.

http://gigaom.com/2013/05/13/google-io-keynote-live-stream/


https://developers.google.com/events/io/

Friday, May 10, 2013

Chromium Blog: Building efficient apps and extensions with push messaging

Chromium Blog: Building efficient apps and extensions with push messaging:

'via Blog this'

Event pages keep apps and extensions efficient by allowing them to respond to a variety of events such as timers or navigation to a particular site, without having to remain running persistently. But what if you need to respond to something that occurs outside of Chrome, such as a news alert, a message sent to a user or a stock hitting a price threshold? Until now, you had to do this by repeatedly polling a server. This process consumed bandwidth and reduced the battery life of your users’ machines. For a more efficient solution, starting today you can use Google Cloud Messaging for Chrome (GCM) - across all channels of Chrome.
Hmm, looks like this could come in handy for Google Now updates, or some sort of messenger.....

Motorola X Phone?

Could we see the Motorola/Google X Phone at I/O next week???

Engadget is reporting that Motorola has filed documentation at the FCC for a phone with a designation of XT1058. The documentation shows LTE bands compatible with AT&T and NFC.


The image doesn't give much information about the phone however it does match what evleaks has posted on their twitter account recently. 
The camera and flash are in the same location in the evleaks picture and the FCC filing, as well as the slight curvature under what seems to be the headphone jack in the centre of the phone. Also visible in the drawing and the photo is the power button which starts at about the bottom of the camera lens and goes to about the flash. The only major difference between the two is the circle in the photograph on the left side of the device. The circle below the flash in the drawing may or may not be included on the device as there is a sticker covering that area of the device.

Additional pictures of the front of a black boxed device from evleaks shows a Motorola phone running on AT&T's network that is purported to be the X Phone. 

It looks like it could be something announced soon and seeing that Google I/O is coming next week there is a chance that we may see a brand new phone coming from the team. 




I hope that this is announced next week purely to rub it in to all the blogs that were reporting that it was delayed. In my opinion something cannot be delayed before there has been an announcement of it in any capacity. Reporting that a device or software will be delayed before it has been acknowledged to exist is just crazy talk. 

And to end this post is the picture that claims to be the X Phone in the buff. 


Thursday, May 9, 2013

An iPhone Lover’s Take On The Nexus 4 | TechCrunch

An iPhone Lover’s Take On The Nexus 4 | TechCrunch:

'via Blog this'
Android Central looks at the HTC One Ultrapixel camera vs the GS4:
On the whole, though, the Galaxy S4 produced the better-looking images in our testing, despite its comparative weakness in low light shots. The HTC One's camera is by no means bad, but its performance is clearly weighted towards indoor and low-light photography at the expense of daylight performance. The opposite is true of the Galaxy S4, which excelled in daylight photography, and is backed up by an excellent HDR mode.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Talk/Messenger/Voice/SMS/Babel/Hangouts

According to the rumour mill Google is working on a new messaging app, there are tons of rumours flying around about it so lets see what we may have here.
 First off yes this is a problem that Google needs to solve. There are way too many chat programs that involve Google products that work in different ways. There is Google Talk which has been around for ages and right now works in Gmail, Android and many other mobile platforms, and the desktop web chat client for Google+, then they have the Messenger application that runs on iOS and Android in conjunction with the Google+ app, they have Google Hangouts through Google+, there is a chat client within Google Drive, then there is Google Voice which works on the web and on mobile and then there is the standard SMS/MMS app on Android. This is a mess.

In an ideal world there would be one application that could be used on phones, tablets and computers that allow for seamless communication and notification across devices.  This is where the rumoured 'Babel' app comes in. The internet has been abuzz with leaks and information about the service with even some possible screenshots a couple weeks ago.

In my opinion it looks like the chat window that pops up when you use Google+ on the web. It also looks like it would be easily transferrable to a mobile environment. I like how clean it is and absolutely love the card based interface that has been going on with Google design.

The rumour is that at launch everything will be rolled up into one application except for Voice and SMS/MMS. This is a big win for Google, having everything rolled up and working together, I wish they had been able to roll SMS/MMS into the application at launch and of course with no official announcement yet it could still be included. This would be an important addition in order to compete with both iMessage and WhatsApp and would make using it that much easier.

Another feature I would like to see from it is taken directly from BBM and that is read receipts. I don't really know what difference they would make but I do like the idea of it. I also like the idea of integrating service that I use with all of the Google Apps that I use.

Interestingly enough a commenter in The Verge forums may have given the best information we have about the new service. In the forum he states that the service would be called Hangouts, and will not include SMS and have a full Holo design. These are pretty safe bets in general but for the non-believers out there this specific commenter also gave accurate information about the launch of the Nexus 4 and 10 in the fall leading to some credibility behind the story.

I truly can't wait for this to be announced at I/O in a week and hope it catches on to beat out the many many competitors that are out there. I have a big hope that there will be some way for it to work on all of the major platforms as I still have friends that use Blackberry or Windows Phone and if I could use it with them it would be a very big deal.

Once again I cannot wait for I/O to see what surprises Google has in store for us, and it still makes me wish that I had friends inside Google that would let me play with things before they were announced.





Trojan Horse

Google updated their iOS Gmail app today with some cool new tricks. Now when you access links in messages that include Map links, YouTube videos or Chrome links they will open directly in the app if you already have it installed. This is yet another step for Google to take over the iOS platform, each Google app on iOS is an incredible experience and now they are creating links between them that keeps you within the Google experience. Google is taking over the mobile experience in both an overt way through Android and a backdoor way through iOS. They say that anytime someone uses the internet Google makes money, now they are trying to make that true of the mobile experience. I for one can't wait to see what happens in two weeks when Google unveils there new ideas at Google I/O 2013.

Google Drive Update

Looks like a little update to Google Drive desktop is coming. Right click on documents on your computer and you will soon find a share button that allows you to send files quickly and easily. I use Drive all the time and love seeing all the improvements the team makes.

Check out the Google Drive G+ post for more info.

Keep your enemies closer

Big congratulations to MG Siegler on his new position at Google Ventures. I think he will be a great contribution to the team which already includes the visionary Kevin Rose. As very vocal supporter of Apple some people may find this new position an odd one for both MG and Google, however the more I read of MG's material the more I see that he really does speak fairly and accurately for the most part and is very willing to give new things a try to find what works better for him. I think this will be a great addition to the Google Ventures team and wish MG all the best! (I say that like I know him, which I definitely do not, though I think conversations with him would be very entertaining)

Octo-core power!!!

I find it very interesting that the octo-core did not show much if any improvment over the quadcore snapdragon version of the GS4. The battery life and use cases are virtually the same according to Engadget  The one area that it seems to help is the slight lag when scrolling through homescreens which makes me wonder if it was just a matter of Samsung optimizing the software a little more for their own chip over the Qualcomm version.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Apple Retail Mogul out at JC Penney

After leaving the comforts of Apple to try his hand as CEO, reports state that Ron Johnson has been relieved of his duties at JC Penney. Since 2011 Johnson has been trying to revitalize the long lived American chain with little success. It may be a sign of the times as many brick and mortar retailers are having trouble surviving in a time when you can order items online for cheaper and have them almost instantaneously delivered to your door.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Just saw this on the website of my favourite podcasting app. I don't know of many apps that are still supporting WebOS but good for them to make that available. For those of you who don't know WebOS was way ahead of its time when it was released and never caught on due in part to carrier politics.

Chris Ziegler at The Verge wrote a great piece on the WebOS and its legacy last June. It is interesting to see how much of the great parts of WebOS have been slowly merging into Android since Matias Duarte has joined the team. I wish that JustType would make its way over some day but for now I still love my Android phone.

I would love to play around with WebOS but don't really have the means to play around with it unfortunately.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Open vs closed

Great post by John Gruber about the success of various systems. He doesn't often create posts this in depth, should be on everyone's must read list this week.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Google's Design Revolution

A month ago the writers at The Verge were invited to Google's campus and created a fascinating read titled Redesigning Google. It is a great read as I have come to expect from the editorial team at The Verge. What strikes me most about this article is the amount of access given to the team into an area that hardly ever gets seen. I myself use Google services for just about everything I do and have done for the last few years. I have seen the sharp change in design language that Google has introduced in the last few years. The changes to the web versions of Googles offerings were met with resistance from users, though it is hard to tell if there was a large outcry or simply a vocal minority that opposed the sweeping changes Google introduced. There were numerous websites creating posts about how to revert to the classic views of the various services. I for one enjoyed the move to a clean and simple view of my services. I remember speaking to some of my friends about how jarring seeing the omnipresent black bar above every Google webpage was initially. I enjoyed the functionality of being able to jump to through the many services quickly and easily. It was likely the new design language that started to entice me into really diving into the Google way of life. The web presence of Google has become just one facet of the public facing portion of the company.

In 2007 Apple introduced the iPhone and created a digital design standard and Google was working on the design of Android. Google was still focusing on function over form and they helped turn Android into an extremely powerful operating system that lacked the kind of polish consumers were looking for because of iOS. Around this time I was trying to choose my next phone and found the ubiquity of the iPhone off putting and considering that I took enjoyment in many geeky things in my life I found Android fit my personality just right. The evolution of Android from Cupcake to Jelly Bean has been incredibly dramatic and by fair the largest inflection point came with the arrival of Matias Duarte. Former lead designer for Palm's webOS his design ideas have brought Android to the point where it has become both beautiful and powerful. Matias has even introduced design guidelines to help unify the Android experience across applications. Now that Android is beginning to look good on its own, Google has turned to iOS. The new apps Google has released for iOS are nothing short of stunning, and what is equally as incredible is that they do not have the same design language as their counterparts on Android. The design language has apparently developed by committee within Google with each team building upon the next and pushing the style to create a beautiful digitally native look to everything Google does.

Google Now is the single most important update to come to the Android ecosystem as it brings together  many areas Google has become an expert in. The Google Now platform brings in information from Maps, Gmail, Search, and Calendar to name a few and the creators decided to create a unique look for it to reflect the combined strength Google Now has been given. The flow and symplicity of Google Now and Google Glass are a new direction for Google.

I hope that this explosion of attention to design continues at Google as they push forward into new areas of technology. The continuing evolution of products at Google is one of the reason I love using them, they always get better over time. I hope that they will continue this with their design philosophy and continue to create beautiful interfaces for us end users to access the incredible data we receive from them.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Asus Fonepad

Yup, what the Dell Streak started we are finally seeing come to a wider array of phones...tablets...big thingys that make calls. My question is who would use this?

Asus Fonepad hands-on: definitely a tablet, just one that makes phone calls | The Verge:

'via Blog this'

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Google Chromebook Pixel

Google Chromebook Pixel: it is real and I want one sooo bad. The leak from earlier this month was clearly correct in demonstrating the Pixel. The Chromebook brand should get quite a significant boost from the introduction of a high end device that seems to be 'Apple quality' and if it didn't cost the same as a brand new MacBook I would be at the nearest Best Buy on launch day to get one!

The major drawback to Chromebook's are the lack of great apps and the Pixel is no different, if this was $300-$500 it would sell enormous quantities however it is over $1000 for a computer that essentially only has a browser.

All that said I would love to get my hands on one...especially because 99% of the time all I use on my MacBook is the Chrome browser.

'via Blog this'

Monday, February 18, 2013

Apples supply chain

Very cool visualization of where Apple products come from. Should be interesting to see how this changes over the next couple years with the attempt to bring production back to the US.


Apples supply chain

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Google-designed touchscreen 'Chromebook Pixel' concept revealed in leaked video | The Verge

Very much want this to be a real thing, the more I think about Chromebooks the more they make sense for my workflow. The only thing I really use that isn’t found in a browser is Microsoft Office, and even then I only use that when I absolutely have to. 


Google-designed touchscreen 'Chromebook Pixel' concept revealed in leaked video | The Verge

Monday, January 21, 2013

iPhone Math rumor: 4.8-inch iPhone Math to debut in June | BGR

If this were to happen then I would be afraid for the future of Apple. This would definitely not be skating to where the puck will be, which is what made Apple great.


iPhone Math rumor: 4.8-inch iPhone Math to debut in June | BGR

Sergey Brin rides the NYC subway like a Google boss | The Verge

How awesome would it be to spot Google Glass on a Google Boss out in the wild?


Sergey Brin rides the NYC subway like a Google boss | The Verge

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

(via The Verge)

RIM CMO says 'at least' six BlackBerry 10 devices will arrive in 2013

Surprisingly excited to see what RIM has in store for the market this year. The ideas they have shown this far are very compelling, but the app situation will be the major obstacle for this and any new and emerging platform.


RIM CMO says 'at least' six BlackBerry 10 devices will arrive in 2013

The "Cheap iPhone"

I don’t always agree with MG but sometimes he nails it.


parislemon:



A few thoughts on the latest report of a “less-expensive” iPhone by Jessica E. Lessin for The Wall Street Journal:


1) This report seems to surface every year, including by the same Wall Street Journal that is reporting the news today.


2) That said, there does seem to be more gathering momentum around the idea of a “cheap iPhone” this time around. I smell a faint hint of Apple.


3) But Apple already sells “cheap iPhones”: the iPhone 4S is currently $99 with a two-year contract and the iPhone 4 is free with the same contract. Hard to get cheaper than “free”. (But: see point 6 below.)


4) So perhaps this has to do more with perception. The current cheaper iPhones must lose some luster as they’re simply older devices at a discounted price. Maybe this new “cheap iPhone” would be a complete makeover with the same internals as the older models but with a new build to entice buyers.


5) Along those lines, I find it hard to believe Apple would simply do a “cheap iPhone” — it would have to be a different product from the flagship version in some other way. Offering various colors is an obvious approach, but I think there would have to be something else as well. There are no “cheap iPads” or “cheap iPods”, there are significantly different versions (iPad mini, iPod nano, etc) at different price points.


6) Or perhaps this is all simply meant for other markets where the iPhone does not sell as well (and subsidies matter far less, or don’t exist at all). As WSJ notes, the iPhone is still the top selling smartphone in the U.S. But that’s not the case in other markets, and China has been particularly troublesome. Apple probably doesn’t want to just cede a billion potential users to cheap Android devices.


7) But I don’t think Apple would do a device just focused on particular foreign markets. Their product lines are very simple and for the most part worldwide. I imagine that any “cheap iPhone” would be on sale in the U.S. as well. So… pre-paid?


8) I do think Apple has to be careful here. While Gene Munster doesn’t seem too worried about the margins (thinking this phone would attract users that wouldn’t normally buy an iPhone), if such a device was popular enough, it would definitely drive down Apple’s famous margins. Users, of course, won’t and shouldn’t give a shit about that, but investors will (and Apple should — the iPhone dominates their bottom line). Just wait until we see what the iPad mini does to the margin this quarter.



The "Cheap iPhone"

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

'Steve Jobs is gone. Now there is a lack of innovation' says Huawei's consumer CEO | The Verge

I understand the sentiment that he is trying to portray, he is trying to position his company as the next Apple, but I find this quote to be a terrible commentary on the tech industry. Steve Jobs did quite a few amazing things in his life and yes he completely redefined a number of industries but I do not agree with the idea that he was the only person innovating. A huge majority of what Steve did was take ideas that were kicking around and put them into a nice package. Other companies just could not deliver the final product as well as he could. The reason there is a lack of innovation right now is because we are in the second phase of a cycle, we see a new idea and it rapidly progresses until a certain point and then it calms down. The iPhone was the right design at the right time and it is hard to think of another way to design a touch screen device. There may not be large changes in the phone industry for a while, but I believe this is true only for the hardware side of devices, the interesting story now is where software will take us. Software is where there is a huge amount of innovation going on from many different players. 2013 will be a big year for software vendors and I think we will see lots of innovation from all sorts of places in that realm.


'Steve Jobs is gone. Now there is a lack of innovation' says Huawei's consumer CEO | The Verge