Sony SmartWatch 2

Dan Seifert, The Verge:

A successful smartwatch needs to have three things done right: a set of functions that people want; have those functions actually work; and have a compelling design that doesn’t scream “I’m wearing a computer on my wrist.” The SmartWatch 2 hits on the design part, but it misses on the other two.

How much can you do with a 220×176 1.6-inch transflective LCD touch display? The Sony SmartWatch 2 sports a resolution of 176 ppi, which means you’ll see individual pixels. The transflective LCD helps when you’re in the sun, but when you’re indoors colors are washed out precisely because of the reflectivity that enhances visibility outdoors. I don’t think the current smartwatch trend of cramming a smartphone interface into a very small display is right. A new user interface paradigm needs to be created for the wrist.

300PPI Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch:

Amazon is now preparing a new Kindle Paperwhite for release in early Q2 of next year, TechCrunch has learned. The marquee feature of the new device is a high-resolution 300 ppi screen that will bring the company’s e-reader displays back into technical parity with devices from competitors like Kobo.

Other bits of this rumor: flush front screen, matte glass, lighter, squeezable haptic buttons, and ambient light sensor. If this rumor pans out the experience of reading on a 300-ppi Amazon Kindle Paperwhite should be most excellent.

RAW and Burst Mode Coming to Android

Stephen Shankland, c|net:

Evidence of raw and burst-mode photos in the Android source code surfaced earlier in November, but Google has now commented on the technology. Specifically, spokeswoman Gina Scigliano said the support is now present in Android’s hardware abstraction layer (HAL), the part of the operating system that handles communications with a mobile device’s actual hardware.

“Android’s latest camera HAL (hardware abstraction layer) and framework supports raw and burst-mode photography,” Scigliano said. “We will expose a developer API [application programming interface] in a future release to expose more of the HAL functionality.”

RAW would be nice. Burst mode too, but if you can’t wait there are apps like Fast Burst Camera Lite that let you take 30 shots per second on newer higher-end Android smartphones. Of course burst mode support on the default camera app would be best. Yesterday night I was hanging out with my friend James Lee and he showed me a funny video on his Samsung Galaxy Note 2, in slow motion. Now the entire video clip was in slow motion, and I don’t know if the Note 2 can do what the iPhone 5s does with slow motion video, but slow motion does exist on Android. It would be great if all modern Android smartphones had RAW, burst mode, and slow motion out of the box.

Microsoft’s Device Chief Sees a Future Without Three Versions of Windows

Tom Warren, The Verge:

Speaking at the UBS Global Technology Conference last week, Microsoft’s head of devices, Julie Larson-Green, hinted strongly that the software giant is finally working to merge its core operating systems. “We have the Windows Phone OS. We have Windows RT and we have full Windows. We’re not going to have three,” says Larson-Green.

In the near future Microsoft will probably narrow the three to just two: Windows Phone and “full Windows”. But does a single Windows operating system for mobile phone, tablet, notebook and desktop computers make sense?

Sure, in the future. A single Windows operating system for every device is possible in the future if you assume technology in the future will solve all the technology limitations we have today. Sure.

ZTE Jumps On Smartwatch Bandwagon

Juro Osawa, The Wall Street Journal:

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal Monday, Mr. Lv said that ZTE’s smartwatch will offer technological features that are similar to existing products such as the Galaxy Gear, but will sell for lower prices as it tries to appeal to China’s cost-conscious consumers. “We are focusing on the mainstream market,” he said.

Follow in the steps of a not-so-successful product such as the Samsung Galaxy Gear, but make it cheaper?

Where People Buy iPhones

AllThingsD: Apple sells 25% at its Apple Stores, and here’s how the rest break down:

  • AT&T: 21%
  • Verizon: 18%
  • Best Buy: 13%
  • Sprint: 5%
  • Amazon: 5%

The rest are bought from large retailers: Target, Walmart, Costco, etc.

The Death of TV

Jim Edwards, Business Insider:

We’re at the beginning of a major historical shift from watching TV to watching video — including TV shows and movies — on the internet or on mobile devices.

This is going to hurt cable TV providers.

I don’t think this is surprising to anyone. Think about how you want to watch ‘TV’? For me, granted I don’t watch a lot of TV to begin with but if I did want to watch a lot of TV, I would want to watch the TV show when I wanted and on the display I want to watch it on. I don’t want to be stuck to my TV, which is stuck to my cable box, which is stuck in my living room. What would happen if cable companies unstick us from our TVs, cable boxes, and living rooms and allow us to watch only the stuff we want to watch, whenever we want, wherever we want, and on whichever device we want? Something good.

Why did Apple buy PrimeSense?

Charles Arthur, The Guardian:

The question is, what would Apple want with this?

The key is not to overthink it. Authentec does fingerprints; Apple used it for fingerprints. PA Semi makes chips; Apple’s using it to make chips. C3 does mapping; Apple’s using it for mapping. And so on. If PrimeSense offers embedded sensors which generate indoor real-time maps of the space around them, that’s where Apple has seen a space for development.

That’s just the hardware. Apple is in the business of designing hardware, software, and services to make what was frustrating and cumbersome less so. Look for future portable devices from Apple to have context awareness, and therefore context aware services through apps.