Galaxy Glass

comedy galsses1Rumour has it that there may soon be a competitor for the much vaunted – though as yet unreleased- Google Glass . Tech Crunch for example suggest that  “Samsung is currently developing a Google Glass competitor, which is in fact provisionally named “Galaxy Glass,” set for launch in September at the annual IFA tech conference”

The news that Samsung is putting effort into a facially worn gadget with a provisional Galaxy Glass moniker, might re focus Google on getting its product into the mainstream as fast as possible. Fit to market with these innovations can be vital in grabbing the lion’s share of a market.

In some ways its surprising that this is the first rival bid for a spectacle based product. The Google glass concept has been well aired in the media for the past 18 months or more and opinions as to the likely success of the product vary widely.   A revised date for launch to the public is suggested to be in second half of 2014. But since there’s a chance that this could be” the next big thing” then why are there no alternative producers…until now that is. Perhaps the concept is tied up with patents and IP considerations…but in that case how would Samsung be moving into that space, after all they have plenty of experience jousting with their friends from Apple!

Come to think of it where are Apple in the whole Glass space wouldn’t we expect an iGlass product to be out sometime soon? Well nothing from Apple so far but perhaps they are watching the space carefully, seeing how the brave first movers get on and then maybe finessing their way into the space with some variation or other taking their design conscious consumers with them.

First mover advantage can count for a lot in certain markets but in the world of technology the most important factor is to put out a product the works, a product that is useful and one that doesn’t cost the earth. Well that’s all supposition…Meanwhile Google Glass is a well understood concept if not yet a mass worn product and Samsung are beginning the climb to market with a product which they might expect to be able to benefit from the phenomenal success of their mobile phone business which has grown stronger over recent years. One way or another the “Glass” is more than half full.

Apple iWatch

Apple iWatch is a soon to be seen item to be added into the category of “Wearable Technology”. As Google Glass ramps up for its big push in 2014….Apple are already pushing hard with their iWatch. We noted the trend toward the iWatch type device some time ago but now Apple are really pushing ahead and have plans afoot to ship their iWatch in vast quantities in 2014. The mock up below has been seen across the internet for a considerable time. As to how close to reality this mock up may turn out to be, is unclear.

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It seems likely that the iWatch will be hitting the shelves at around £130.00. But what will it do and what’s the point? Well it’s a watch, it will tell the time…..yes, and….? Well it’s unclear and as always with the new products bought to the world by large tech companies there’s a degree of mystery and cloak and dagger so that rival firms (Samsung are also in the game apparently) cannot get the jump on features and looks. But there must be an upside for them somewhere with that sort of price tag its got to do more than tell the time! Maybe it will link to the Glasses, or to your iPhone, or ….we don’t really know.

 According to Bloomberg, Apple has a team of around 100 designers working on “a wristwatch-like device that may perform some of the tasks now handled by the iPhone and iPad” Maybe the burgeoning fitness apps will sit well on the iWatch for performance monitoring and ready visibility it seems a good fit. But that’s pure conjecture, nothing more, nothing less.Only time will tell for certain…groan….”watch” this space (double groan).

Every day 1.5 million newly activated Android devices

Every day 1.5 million newly activated Android devices join the 900 million already out there. It’s hard to imagine the seemingly non stop demand for new Android devices, but here’s proof. The story mirrors and probably eclipses the Apple success curve.

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Only 5 short years have passed since Android phones were launched.  The positive for Google is that the more of the devices there are, the more apps get downloaded, it’s a perfect model. There are already a total of over 900 million devices worldwide on the Android system and at this rate it’s only going to be 6 months until the billionth device goes live. Staggering numbers which must be daunting for all the competition no matter which part of the world it is coming from.

Ok so niche markets will continue and Apple will continue its fantastic success story but with Google’s Android platform becoming so prevalent, surely  something’s gotta give !

But maybe the bigger concept to muse on here is that the position of Android is strengthened by it being increasingly seen as a solution for all sorts of electronic chip based gadgetry.  Cameras’ TV box’s, tablets basic browsing laptops and watches all come into the Android sphere with increasing frequency.  HPAndroid_One_Billion_2017-630x354 has already started pushing Android on it’s notebooks and PC’s. Next year they will probably start pushing Android to enterprise more seriously, too, and into more sales channels, where they are now pushing Windows PC’s. Google browser, Maps, phones, glass, and so on.  Pretty high profile business and pretty good foothold in our modern technology lead lives. Google recently announced 48 billion application downloads and as more devices go live so too will the sale of the Android app accelerate. This diversity gives Android a depth which perhaps rivals will envy.

Techno Wonder!

Google Maps are good, startlingly good.  However did anyone get from A to B without one!. I can barely get from home to work without a quick check of Maps every morning. Even more impressive is the Street View feature in Maps, where we can actually navigate up and down a chosen street in and see what it looks like from the safety of our living room. Its always noticeable how fantastic steps forward in technology so quickly become assimilated into our daily lives.  The digital technologies of today seem to shower innovations and new ways to enjoy experiences virtually almost without time to catch our breath.   But soon after releasing a new technological wonder we all seem to take these new experiences for granted and what’s more we seem to be irritated by any limitations therein very quickly instead of continuing to celebrate the innovation as an amazing step forward.  How soon before Google Glass becomes passé ? And its not even out yet !diagon alley

Its this high expectation which we have become attuned to that now leads us to  expect street view to be able to show us everything, everywhere  whether in Crewe or Calcutta, Bradford or Bordeaux and with just  a few lazy clicks of the mouse.  Some may gripe about the odd glitch here and there as a computer struggles to keep pace with the demands of the feature but in most cases …well, its fantastic. .

Now street view has gone one step further (pun intended). You can “walk” up and down, in a virtual manner, the famous and tantalizing Diagon Alley of Harry Potter books fame. Yes, step along to visit the Leaky Cauldron pub or the wand shop where Harry finds his perfect …er magic stick.  So what this amounts to is a virtual tour of a virtual world. But it’s a demonstration of the power of street maps because the set where this street exists as a physical reality is in fact in the Warner Brothers Studios in Hertfordshire. It’s a tourist attraction to hundreds of thousands if not millions of potential visitors. The shops are crammed with objects (20 thousand of them) and help bring the reality of the unreality of the virtual world into reality on your laptop….if you see what I mean.

Either way its now possible using Google Maps to tour the street without having to go there. Not the real thing of course (ahem…) but nevertheless a great trip for the armchair enthusiasts among us. Type into Google Maps “Diagon Alley”, hit the link on the left hand side and you’re in!  (Alternatively click the link to Google maps here!). See you there, unless you are wearing an invisibility cloak of course.

Google Glass Developers

If you are about to spend a chunk of money on the very exciting seeming Google Glass device I think its to be expected that you expect and want to be able to experience the best and most amazing apps through the device. Google Glass developers, read on.

developer code for glass

Last week’s release of the developer documentation for Google Glass has been a bit like opening a gift and finding that it contained only half of what you had hoped for. The “Mirror” API through which any developer output can be connected to the Google Glass device is lacking the punch and whizz bang possibilities hoped for.

The apps  written for Google glass will need to be web based and cannot be run directly on the Glasses and there are other restricting aspects, in particular around the styling and design of compatible apps.

What’s more, by making the content web based, Google are able to monitor what’s being delivered. Presumably if they don’t like it they will intervene. The small print may inform us more on this detail but surely the principal is a break with the “tradition” of app development for mobile devices.

diagrams of google glassDevelopers may also wince at the limitations set elsewhere in the API. For starters the styling of pages is restricted and heavily leaning towards pre-defined (by Google) template styles. The inability to make augmented reality apps which would seem to be the ideal stable mate for the device, is restricted at the moment.

Certainly there are a number of restrictions for this first release but let’s face it, this is a radical product so to a degree there are concepts, opportunities as yet untested and unknown which will emerge once this new device gains a place in our day to day lives whether you are a wearer or not. Google Glass is a ground breaking wearable device delivering content in a way that hitherto has been available only in the minds of Star Trek writers. It is very impressive to think of walking around and talking to the device and receiving feedback and content in a seemingly seamless manner. Its cutting edge, but at first there is bound to be some rough and tumble as we live through the early dawn of what will surely be a new era or wearable  communication devices.

 

Google Glass. Excitement Mounts.

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Google Glass. Excitement Mounts.The heat is being turned up on the Google Glass front. This week Google has been dropping hints and appetizers about what the Google Glass product will actually deliver in terms of specification.

On Monday the news concerned an exciting sounding Explorer edition for starters. These will include a 5 mega pixel camera with ability to capture up to 720p video as well as an impressive 16gb on board storage.

In terms of the usefulness or desirability we have already aired some doubts here at App Developers UK but it has to be said that with a marketing budget and brand such as Google we are expecting a significant interest from the buying public. Will you be amongst the early adopters or will you wait for subsequent iterations? Its fun to be in on a product early doors but the fun may be reduced by cost factors. As yet we are not sure what the price of these little Goggle, er,…. Google Glasses will be but rumour has it you will need to part with “serious dollar” to get hold of a pair.

The idea of having a stream of images in front of your eyes may get your juices going, and according to insiders the effect is going to be a little bit like looking at a medium sized TV from a distance of 8 feet away. That’s amazing. How the deuce does this impact on normal daily function’s like walking? I mean in a crowd, you have a high def. TV image in front of you, aren’t you in danger of walking into traffic?  The sound moreover is to be delivered by “bone conduction”. Wow!

Back to basics, there will be a decent Wi Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and a micro usb for charging and data transfers. The MyGlassApp which is already available on the Google Play store, will enable interactivity between the Glasses and any Ice Cream 4.0.3 loaded Android mobile.

In all of this the one fact we cannot ignore is that the availability of this product in the Google stable is important because its a clear differentiator between Android and its biggest rival handset producer, Apple.  Will Apple devotees now consider a cheaper Android device as a second device so that they can run the Google Glass device? Willl this allow Google to tempt these cross platform users to further treats via their Glasses?The future is Clear, the future is Glass. Or not?