maandag 20 oktober 2014

Asus ZenWatch

Google is easing its rein over Android Wear, with the first “glimpses” of OEMs’ increased control over the smartwatch OS to be visible on the Asus ZenWatch.

That’s the gist of a talk that Google VP of Engineering Hiroshi Lockheimer had with Recode’s Ina Fried. “It’s not some Google-way-or-the-highway kind of thing,” said Lockheimer in response to questions about the tight control that Google has over the first generation of Android Wear smartwatches.

Devices like the LG G Watch, Moto 360, and Samsung Gear Live are basically identical in terms of software experience. Google only allowed its hardware partners to customize the watch faces users can choose from, as well as to pre-load some apps, like Motorola’s heart rate monitoring app.

According to Lockheimer, Google wanted to “have the basics right” before giving OEMs the freedom to tweak Android Wear. But that’s changing now, and the Asus ZenWatch will be the first smartwatch to show “glimpses of how hardware makers can customize software on Android Wear watches,” said the Google executive.

Striking a balance

It’s not clear how Asus and other OEMs will get to tweak Android Wear: it’s possible that Google will allow some sort of theming, but it seems unlikely that companies will get to create heavy skins the way they could with Android on mobile devices.

When it comes to added functionality, Asus’ top brass talked in the past about support for Chinese language voice controls, as well as some kind of gesture support. The Asus ZenWatch is expected to launch this month for less than $200.

Google will be taking the same approach when it comes to its others Android-derived operating systems, Android TV and Android Auto, as well as Android One devices. Android One phones, currently selling in India, run a stock version of Android, but include some carrier- and manufactured-added apps. Users can remove these apps if they wish. Google hopes that this approach – same UI, different functionality through apps – will allow it to strike a balance between “differentiation and customization.”

Time-honored Tradition, Smart Innovation

Fine Watch Craftsmanship
  • Exquisitely-crafted using premium materials
  • Sophisticated design enhanced by rose gold color layering
  • Genuine stitched-leather watchband and quick-release clasp design
  • 100+ combination watch face choices to fit your mood and personality 
  • Vivid AMOLED display and Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3 
Smart Companion 
  • Seamless ASUS ZenUI integration and enhanced functionality
  • Automatically unlock your phone with ASUS ZenWatch
  • Tap Tap and Find My Phone helps you locate your phone instantly if misplaced
  • Simply cover ASUS ZenWatch with your hand to mute an incoming call 
  • ASUS Remote Camera frees users to take photos from creative angles where the viewfinder would be difficult to see. 
  • Presentation Control enables ZenWatch to be used as a remote control and time manager when giving a business presentation or lecture
Wellness manager 
  • Monitor and track a range of health-related statistics with the ASUS Wellness app
  • Measures steps taken, calories burned, activity duration, heart rate, exercise intensity and relaxation level
  • View an easy-to-understand relaxation score based on relaxation-level measurements
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor with 1.2GHz CPU
Operating System: Android Wear
Memory & storage: 512MB RAM, 4GB EMMC
Display: AMOLED 1.63-inch, 320 x 320, 278ppi touch display
Cover Lens: 2.5D curved Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3
Sensor: 9-axis sensor, Bio sensor
Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.0
USB Port: Micro USB on charging cradle
Audio: Built-in microphone
Battery: Li-polymer 1.4Wh
Water Resistance: IP55
Colours: Silver- and rose-gold-coloured layers, Brown leather strap
Size:50.6 x 39.8 x 7.9-9.4mm
Weight: Body - 50g, Strap - 25g

donderdag 9 oktober 2014

iHeartRadio: Coming Soon #AndroidWear

The streaming music and digital radio service iHeartRadio has announced it is coming to Android Wear smartwatches on Oct. 15.

That means users who have iHeartRadio installed on their Android phone can control iHeartRadio via the Samsung Gear Live, Moto 360 and LG G Watch.

SEE ALSO: Android Wear Review: Google's Vision of the Smartwatch Isn't Quite Right

The coolest part about this integration is that it works using voice activation. That means you can search for a radio station or artist simply by saying the station or artists name.

The app will also allow users to access their favorite stations or shows from the watch, browse tailored recommendations, as well as thumb up or thumb down station and music recommendations.

iHeartRadio is part of iHeartMedia (formerly known as Clear Channel) and is unique amongst streaming options with its breadth of content. The service has more than 50 million registered users and is integrated with more than 35 different devices and technologies.

This isn't iHeartRadio's first foray into the wearables space, earlier this year iHeartRadio support came to the Samsung Gear 2 smartwatch.

For us, the voice support is what makes this app partnership really make sense — especially in the context of a watch. Smartwatches are already great devices for controlling music playback, but to be able to use your voice as a way to call up a station or artist makes even more sense.

woensdag 8 oktober 2014

Complications and future advancements

The Pine smartwatch could be revolutionary but it's not without drawbacks. One very important point to note is it only supports up to 3G speeds. Wilkins explained the speed ceiling is really due to a limitation of components.

"The reason we don't have 4G was when we were looking at antenna considerations, the 4G space requirements were a little out of our range," he said. "It would have just made it too big and we're pushing the limits on this at the moment to fit 3G GSM and enough space that the antenna and board don't

Interfere with each other."
"We're about at the size limit and still we've had to overcome a lot of technical barriers to have it working smoothly and pass FCC regulations so you don't have to worry about dropped calls or any antenna inefficiencies."
Moving forward, the Neptune team is still tweaking Pine to reduce the size and refine the user experience. On top of this, they hope to improve the battery life from eight hours of talk time and 120 hours on standby. That said, Wilkins also sees a lot of emerging technologies on the horizon for the next generation Pine device.

"There's a few new technologies we're looking at like flexible OLED and things like this that are just coming into production. Obviously a bunch of different low-energy technologies let us extend our battery life and there's a lot of other cool technology we're looking at for next-gen."
The roadmap to reality

The Pine smartwatch has already garnered enough support on Kickstarter to raise well over its initial $100,000 CAD goal. Combine that with the 2,007 backers, 1,839 of which have actually pre-ordered a Pine, and it seems like the smartwatch stands a good chance of making it out the door.
By January, Neptune expects to produce at least 2,500 Pine units to be shipped throughout the US and Canada, plus international orders sent worldwide for an additional $15 (about £9/AU$15). However, Neptune stated that Pine has only met regulatory requirements for Canada, the United States, China, India, and the European Union.
The Neptune Pine smartwatch is up for pre-orders starting at $215 (about £131/AU$237) for the 16GB model and $262 (about £159/AU$289) with double the storage. When the Pine comes to its full retail launch in 2014, it will be available starting at $314 (about £192/AU$347).
While even the most popular Kickstarter campaigns have fizzled before their products make it to backers, Wilkins said he is 100% confident that Neptune will be ship Pine by the end of next month.
"We're most of the way through tooling and setting up our assembly line. It's really just getting the funds for the materials, but we have working devices and overcome all the major technical challenges to it."

Samsung moves past the bend and shows off Note 4 durability with a drop test

So #BendGate is over. It was funny, ridiculous and all around crazy. Samsung’s ready to move on from that specific angle of the durability debate and they’re looking to do so by putting their own Note 4 to a good ol’ drop test. The result? It’s pretty frickin’ strong and should stand up to some tough falls should you be fortunate enough to drop it onto a hard surface.

Samsung obviously isn’t the only company that knows how to make a durable phone, but they’ll sure act like it in the wake of all this negative iPhone 6 coverage. At the least, you won’t have to worry about the durability of your phone should you decide to purchase a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 later this month (unless that worrisome gap bothers the ever living crap out of you). Check out the drop test above.

bend test video

It’s been easy for Samsung and others to make jokes at the expense of Apple throughout this whole #BendGate controversy, but Samsung has decided to shelves the jokes for now and show folks how durable their own smartphone really is. The company released a video showing how they test the Galaxy Note 4 (and all their smartphones) against pressure that might cause it to bend or break.
The test consists of weight equivalent to and beyond average humans being forced upon the middle as it’s stationed between two pillars. This gives them a proper platform to bend the device in a way that simulates real world conditions. Of course, Samsung’s phone springs back into shape just as easily as it should.
In the video, Samsung touches on the fact that the Note 4 uses a metal frame and a magnesium bracket to ensure superior durability. This isn’t a bad way to open the eyes of folks who might have been put off by the iPhone 6+’s build issues without having to hurl a bag of insults at Apple. Take a look at the video above.

zondag 5 oktober 2014

Smartwatch concept

Waarom kan niet groot smartwatches lijken normale horloges? Smartwatches, voor het grootste deel, kan worden onderverdeeld in twee categorieën: vage benaderingen van de toekomst, zoals de Pebble, Toestel, Toestel Fit, of conventioneel vormgegeven horloges van bedrijven zoals Burger en Cookoo dat veel minder functionaliteit bieden. Hoewel het waar is de Pebble Steel ook te groeien in de esthetische afdeling, de geblokte bouw en de grote toetsen zijn waarschijnlijk niet om een beroep op de massa's.
Gábor Balogh is een freelance designer uit Hongarije die, zoals velen van ons, wil een aantrekkelijke, horloge-achtige horloge dat net toevallig slim zijn. Het verschil tussen Balogh en de rest van ons is hij ging vooruit en ontwierp een interface hij gelooft regelmatige horloge ontwerpen in staat kan stellen om een ​​volledige schare van slimme functies omvatten.
Na het posten van zijn concept voor een SmartWatch op Behance, Balogh duurde enige tijd door zijn interface van ideeën om te praten met The Verge . De werkelijke horloge afgebeeld in de mockups is bijna incidenteel, als het concept neemt gewoon de Zweedse horlogemaker Triwa's Havana uurwerk (met toestemming van de vennootschap) en vervangt haar gezicht met een ronde display. Dit voorstel gaat over communiceren nodig, geen product design. "In dit concept de UI niet over een vooraf gedefinieerde stijl," zegt Balogh, "maar het zou overeenkomen met de behuizing. Alleen de navigatie patronen in aanmerking moeten worden genomen."

Hoewel de interface zelf naar beneden zal zijn om naar te kijken en de telefoon bedrijven om te beslissen, Balogh biedt tot een aantal eenvoudige, maar gepolijst ideeën die heel goed gaan met Triwa's design. Het koppelen van uw smartphone aan haar horloge maakt u de juiste app pictogrammen verschijnen op het scherm, met de aanmeldingen, kaarten en informatie over de muziek gestreamd vanaf het apparaat zelf. Wanneer u niet wilt dat het een smartwatch te zijn, het ziet er meestal en gedraagt ​​zich als een gewone horloge.


"Ik hou van producten met discrete technologie", legt Balogh, "toen zij dien mij, mijn echte behoeften, en maken mijn leven gemakkelijker in plaats van simpelweg het veranderen van mijn dagen." Hij roept de Nest thermostaat en Apple Airport Express als eerste voorbeelden van technologie discreet worden toegepast zonder verduistert functionaliteit. "Ze zijn gewoon weg te vinken op de achtergrond, het maken van uw leven gemakkelijker te maken."
In een poging om verwarring te voorkomen, heeft begrip Balogh's niet een touchscreen of voice control gebruiken. In plaats daarvan, de interface maakt gebruik van de knoppen en de bezel vinden op de meeste horloges. De bezel is de sleutel tot deze interface. Het kan draaien om, bijvoorbeeld, te scrollen door een lange boodschap of schakel functies in een app, of worden geklikt om een ​​selectie te maken. De rotatie-element hoeft niet noodzakelijk fysiek te zijn - Balogh zegt dat hij een meer klassieke horloge gaat met een fysieke knop, of een sportief design te kiezen voor een iPod-achtig klikwiel kon voorstellen.
Gebruik van de ring voor het regelen van apps en andere smartphone-gerelateerde taken bevrijdt van de drie aan de zijkant gemonteerde knoppen om "native" functies zoals tijd, datum en alarm, evenals het schakelen tussen modi te controleren. Deze duidelijke scheiding tussen autochtone en app functies moeten de interface gemakkelijk toegankelijk zijn voor gebruikers die vertrouwd zijn met de manier waarop een gewone horloge werkt te maken, terwijl het ontbreken van een touchscreen op het display van het oppakken van vlekken en vuil van je vingers zal stoppen, en ook stoppen met uw vingers uit verduistert de display. "De grootte van het horloge is een zeer beperkende factor is, zodat we niet hebben om het heel slim maken. Zie ik het horloge als een sieraad, en wilde een interface die vertrouwd op een klassiek horloge zou zijn toe te voegen."

SmartWatch Concept Runs Windows Wear 8.1, Looks Pretty Solid

After seeing the slightly underwhelming Apple Watch, I’d say that the battle for smartwatch market supremacy is still wide open, right? Well, Microsoft may as well take advantage of this void of power, especially if their smartwatch is as solid as the concept below. Enter, the Microsoft Smartwatch:

Designer Eric Huismann has come up with this product, that relies on something called Windows Wear 8.1, a special small screen version of Windows Phone. The Microsoft smartwatch is shown in a variety of colors and it features a front camera, used to take selfies. Notifications will obviously be available, as well as text messages and IM straight from the watch. You’ll also be able to call the people from this device, through a very simple interface.

The watch adopts a squared format and shows small live tiles, that will keep you posted regarding what’s happening around you. Some of the design lines and maybe the material may be borrowed from the Surface, so we may be dealing with a magnesium body here. We’ve got a 1.45 inch display and an advanced dual core processor inside. Skype is associated with the front camera and there will thousands of apps for the watch at launch.
Cortana is also included in the equation and it’s so much improved that it eliminates the need for a keyboard. Do you fancy the Microsoft Smartwatch?