Archive for the ‘Device’ tag
It’s been a little over a year since Google started teasing something it called “Project Glass.” The futuristic, wearable computer that would change the way that you interact with the world was nothing more than a series of rumors for months before it was “formally introduced” in April 2012. Not known for hardware and not having a current bonafide physical device that was popular among consumers, many opined that this was Google’s way of begging for attention. It might have been, and it definitely worked.
In thirteen months, Glass has gone from Star Trek fantasy to reality. It’s been quite the whirlwind of activity.
The “wearable computing” age is upon us, and it’s been widely reported that Apple was working on a watch, therefore many assumed that Google was working on a similar device to keep up. This was clearly not the case and Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin took special interest in the Glass project and has been leading the charge going back to when prototype weighed around eight pounds in August 2011.
Let’s take a stroll down memory lane, as a lot has happened over the past year in Glassland.
The video from Google itself got sent people’s imaginations into overdrive. It was called “One day…” and gave us a glimpse into the life of a daily user of what Google had up its sleeve. We now know that the “One day…” reference had more to do with what the product could become, not what it would be in its first iteration:
The user experience in this video is aspirational, at best, as the current iteration of Glass is more of a compliment and utility to your day, rather than the augmented reality “enhancer” as this video demonstrates. Still, the elements that make Glass handy are all there, taking calls, getting directions and taking pictures from a new point of view.
Immediately after the video, and public admonishment that the project was real, the press wondered out loud if Apple should compete and that other companies should stand up and take notice. We also now know that the rumored final name for the device, Google Eye, isn’t likely. Good thing, because it sounds way creepier than Glass. We’ll get to more “creepiness” later.
It was clear that Glass was getting a lot of attention, both positive and negative, from the start. Even Jon Stewart did a parody about them.
OK, now they’re really real(ish)
Before Google’s I/O developer conference in 2012, Sergey Brin started showing Glass off to folks like Gavin Newsom. This is the first time that we found out that Glass had a trackpad that would let you scroll through its UI, even though we didn’t know what that UI looked like yet.
Even Google CEO Larry Page got into the act, wearing his pair at the Google Zeitgeist event in London. Was Page making important company decisions without us knowing, using his futuristic eyewear? Probably not, but it was cool to think about.
Holy crap, they’re really really real(ish)
At Google I/O 2012, developers sat in the Moscone Center not knowing what to expect from the company that has been using its advertising business to fund all types of cool projects. After all, who would have thought that a search and advertising company could actually pull off something like Gmail? Or a web browser? And now a driving car? A pair of glasses? Crazy talk. Well, on June 27th, 2012, Google fed into that crazy talk with…a crazy stunt.
The man at the helm of Google X and Project Glass, Sergey Brin, pulled off a stunt so memorable, that many of us in attendance still don’t fully understand what we saw.
After that, a bunch of people hopped onto bikes and drove into the keynote auditorium. The audience looked at one another, as if to say, “Did this just really happen?”
It was indeed Google’s “Apple moment.”
After Brin took the stage, we were left to wonder if he would then go into full Oprah mode and tell us all to check under our seats for a pair of Glass that would be our very own. Nope. At I/O 2012, the “Glass Explorer Program” was announced, and the first 2,000 attendees that wanted to pledge to pay $1,500 for the opportunity to develop apps for the Glass platform, could.
There was no date given for when the device would be shipped, but nobody cared. These things were real(er). Think about it, developers signed up to pay $1,500 for a device that they had never even touched. I was one of them, and even I felt silly. There was something about the cadence that Google had been marching to up to I/O that year that felt right.
Bloggers got to try Glass on for a few seconds, but didn’t get to do anything with them. The hypefest was on. Our founder, Michael Arrington, had a fun, and grounded, thought after the announcement:
“I can imagine in a couple of years we’ll all be wearing these at events. Then a couple of years after that maybe we’ll look back and think we all looked like idiots.”
After I/O, Google started communicating with its Glass “Explorers” about all of the device happens, introducing its skunkworks team along the way. Those who joined the program at the conference would get to participate in Hangouts, attend conferences and get exclusive news on Glass. In retrospect, Google set itself up for people to start making fun of those clamoring for the device, whom are affectionately/unaffectionately referred to as “Glassholes.” You see, whenever something is only available to a select group of people, those not inside of that group tend to lash out a bit. Sure, there are those who think that Glass will never amount to anything, but those on the fence had no choice but to attack. It’s kind of like high-school.
As the months went on, the press flirted with Glass, as more and more Googlers starting wearing them on campus. Stories about Microsoft’s “Glass” plans and a reminder of Apple’s wearable tech patents were peppered in, too.
OK, Glass. You’re real.
In April, a group of heavyweights in Silicon Valley announced a partnership called “The Glass Collective.” Developers who wanted to build things for Glass, without ads or any means to make actual money, could visit either Google Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz or Kleiner Perkins, and if their project was interesting enough, they could get funding from all three.
It was at that event that Google Glass team member, Steve Lee, let it slip that developers would soon be receiving invitations to pick their pair of Glass up from Mountain View, Los Angeles or New York City. They could have them shipped, but that’s no fun. Glass was officially real.
In just a few days after that Collective event, the first pairs of Glass for developers were coming off of the production line, the Mirror API guidelines were posted, its companion app for Android was released and full specs were released for the first time.
This “moonshot” that Google had been cooking up in its super-secret X Labs were going to see the light of day, outside of Google’s campus’. People just then started to realize that certain folks would be meandering around town with cameras on their face, and focused solely on how the device would affect them…the ones not wearing the device. The ones not in the “club.” A quick search for the term “Google Glass privacy” shows the same story written by hundreds of reporters, most of them never having worn the device.
I was able to pick up my pair of Glass on April 17th, and it’s interesting to see what the device really is in its current state, as opposed to what we saw in the video released last year. We did a “day in the life” video, showing what I was seeing on the display:
While it’s not as “pretty” as Google’s first teaser video, the elements are all there. In its current state, Glass is a utility that allows you to do some of the things that your smartphone does now. The difference with Glass is that you can do these things hands-free, quicker than before and in a less socially disrupting way.
What’s next for Glass?
For a period of time, we’ll see the same types of stories about how creepy Glass is. At this year’s I/O, none of Google’s executives wore the device on stage or while walking around the Moscone Center. It was its way of turning the “lens” onto developers and saying “It’s time to make this yours.” Still, we heard about people wearing Glass in the bathroom, as if to remind us that not everyone is ready to feed into the hype of the device.
It’s hard to argue with the point that the Glass platform is the most interesting one for developers to iterate upon since Apple’s introduction of the App Store. For the first time in years, these developers are getting a chance to re-imagine their existing services, or build new ones, for a brand new device. Glass isn’t perfect, and will only be as good as the apps that are developed for it.
During this year’s I/O, Twitter, Facebook and a slew of others announced their own Glass apps. The Facebook app is great, while the Twitter app will need more work. As I’ve continued to wear the device while I’m not at the computer, I’m finding myself trying to get away from all of the crazy and unnecessary notifications that I get on my phone and desktop. The Twitter app, for example, sends me mobile updates that I’ve subscribed to, @ replies and direct messages. This simply won’t fly, and Glass users are going to need more granular controls for what pops up on their display. It’s early though, and these are good learning experiences.
No matter what you think about Glass, you have to admit that the past year has been a good one for Google and its fancy, futuristic device. From a secret pet-project to developer-only playground, it will be fascinating to see what happens next in Glassland. There’s no telling when the device will be available for everyday consumers, but I can guarantee that it won’t be until developers have had ample time to explore the possibilities. I do know one thing: If you’re really worried about being spied on by someone wearing Glass, don’t be. You’re not that interesting.
Apple faces a whole lot of inbound requests to unlock iPhone devices from law enforcement officials, according to a new report from CNET. Seized iPhones with a passcode lock are apparently secure enough to frustrate a lot of police agencies in the U.S., resulting in a wait list that Apple has put in place to help it deal with unlock requests from the authorities.
The waiting list was long enough that it resulted in a 7-week delay for a recent request by the ATF last summer, according to the CNET report. The good news for iPhone owners is that the ATF in that instance turned to Apple as a last resort, after trying to find a law enforcement body at either the local, state or federal level that had the capability to unlock the phone in-house for three months to no avail. The bad news is that an affidavit obtained by CNET, the decryptions seem to take place without necessarily requiring a customer’s knowledge, whereas with Google there’s a password reset involved that notifies a user via email of the unlock.
Apple can reportedly bypass the security lock to get access to data on a phone, download it to an external device and hand that over to the authorities, according to an ATF affidavit, which means that ultimately, the information on an iOS device isn’t 100 percent secure. But overall, repeated reports peg Apple devices as particularly resistant to prying eyes operating in law enforcement.
A previous report from CNET also identified iMessage as resilient in the face of outside surveillance attempts, especially compared to more common text communication methods like SMS. Combined, the reports suggest that Apple’s technology for its mobile devices is especially good at repelling unwanted advances, which is great for privacy buffs, though the policies around when and why Apple does share that information needs more fleshing out.
We’ve reached out to Apple to see if they have any official comment on the unlock queue from law enforcement and how they proceed with requests, and will update if we hear more.
Drunk driving is bad. It just is. On a mission to fight this problem, Alcohoot has created ‘the world’s first enforcement-grade smartphone breathalyzer.’
Alcohoot is a device that plugs in your smartphone and measures your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). It uses platinum grade fuel cell sensors, the same technology used by police, along with a pressure sensor, mouthpiece, and mobile application to help people monitor their drinking.
Let’s say you are celebrating a friend’s birthday with pitchers of margaritas. Those tasty lime concoctions can pack quite a punch, and you realize after a few rounds that driving to dinner across down may not be the wisest choice. Whip out Alcohoot, check your BAC, and let actual numbers (rather than the illusion of sobriety) dictate your next move.
The app has tools to monitor your booze levels throughout the night. You can see as your alcohol level goes up or down and track your boozing over longer periods of time. The ‘quantified-self’ movement has led people to obsessively watch their heart rate, sleep patterns, calorie burn, steps taken, and eating habits. Why not our alcohol consumption? Data can lead to insights that can help people who want to lead a healthier lifestyle.
Beyond data, Alcohoot also provides actionable assistance for when you’ve had one too many. The app connects you to nearby restaurants and taxi services so you can grab that anchoring burrito or safely go home to bed when needed. Whenever Alcohoot needs calibration, the company will mail the user a calibrated device with a pre-paid return shipping label, and you just swap them out.
The manufacturing and design happens in Tel Aviv, Israel and is built to conform with FDA and Department of Transportation requirements for breath alcohol testers to ensure accurate results.
Alcohoot is conducting its own crowdfunding campaign to raise $75,000 for the first batch, which will ship in September 2013. Founder Ben Biron said that the law enforcement breathalyzers can cost $800, while Alcohoot is just $75. Check out this video below.
Photo Credits: Alcohoot
Apple, which is expected to formally introduce its latest iPhone to the world on September 12th, could begin shipping the device to customers and selling the handset in retail stores just a week or two later, according to a new report.
Android: Fast Burst Camera allows any Android device to take rapid-fire snapshots in quick succession, much like the burst shooting modes on newer phones like the Samsung Galaxy S III and the HTC One X. The end result for you is that you can capture multiple shots—up to 30 frames in a second if you camera allows it—with your smartphone of a kid’s soccer game or a bird in flight and then sift through them later to stitch them into an animation or find the perfect shot among the many. More »
There’s been no shortage of tantalizing details coming out of Apple and Samsung’s big legal spat in San Jose, and that trend shows no sign of slowing down.
Case in point: Samsung’s legal team filed a document (first spotted by AllThingsD) the other day that shed some new light on the two companies’ smartphone and tablet sales over the years. The data was put together by the Invotex Group (who also whipped this handy PDF chart outlining what Apple think it deserves in damages), and it appears they’ve left no stone unturned.
Take a look at this little guy, for instance.
Yeah, there’s a lot of stuff going on there — 24 of Samsung’s smartphone models are under fire in this case, and there’s sales data here for each of them. In case you don’t quite feel like poring over the entire thing, here it is in a nutshell: Samsung sold a total of 21.2 million of those accused smartphone models between June 2010 and June 2012 which works out to $7.5 billion in sales revenue over the two years.
Surprisingly, the top selling Samsung smartphone is the prepaid Galaxy Prevail, with 2.25 million sold during the timeframe in question. Boost Mobile must be mighty pleased.
Apple’s numbers on the other hand are a fair bit more imposing — the Cupertino company has sold over 85 million iPhones since the device made its debut back in 2007 (netting Apple a cool $50.7 billion in revenue), but that’s hardly a fair comparison to Samsung’s figure because of the timeframe involved.
Apple’s financial calendar doesn’t match up terribly well here, but from Q3 (July) 2010 to Q2 (April) 2012, Apple sold over 60 million iPhones. This still isn’t the most accurate number — the provided sales numbers don’t account for every single one of Samsung’s smartphones — but it’s still a considerable difference between the two. Samsung’s Android devices may be taking over the rest of the world, but it’s still got a hell of a fight in front of it here in the states.
Things get even more interesting when we turn to look at tablet performance. Apple has sold a total of 34 million iOS tablets since 2010, raking in $19 billion in revenue as a result. Meanwhile Samsung’s Galaxy Tab sales haven’t been quite as amazing — the Korean electronics giant shipped a total of 1.4 million Galaxy Tabs, Galaxy Tab 10.1s, and Galaxy Tab 10.1 LTEs between October of 2010 and March of this year.
Again, it’s worth noting that the portrait this data paints is missing some crucial pieces, like the handful of tablets that Samsung has released since March. There’s a small silver lining to be found here though — as Zach Epstein over at BGR points out, Samsung’s average revenue per tablet during that period was just shy of $450, compared to roughly $353 in revenue for each accused smartphone it sold.
Android HIFI Streams Music to Your Android Device from iTunes and Other AirPlay Clients [Android Downloads]
Android: Apple’s media-streaming technology, AirPlay, is designed to stream only to “Apple approved”devices, but Android users can get around this by restriction with Android HIFI. The free app turns your Android device into a receiver for streaming music from AirPlay clients like iTunes and iOS. More »
More photos of alleged next-generation iPhone parts hit the web early Thursday, showing sensors, buttons and covers destined for the device as well as what is thought to be the protective element used directly behind the expected 4-inch screen.
The partnership announced between Starbucks and credit card processing service Square underscores the potential demand for mobile device payments, lending some light into why Apple is promoting its new Passbook app as a key feature in iOS 6.