Category Archives: Consumer Electronics
Solving the Error – Your Device Isnt Compatible With This Item
“Your Device Isnt Compatible With This Item” is just about the most frustrating error I’ve seen on my Nook Color, mostly because it’s so vague.
Tablet Apps Pets Will Love
There’s a growing segment of tablet apps these days – pet apps! If you’ve never seen one of these crazy, brilliant apps, you might be surprised at how much fun they can be for both of you. The different apps pets will take to vary, of course, on your pet. They all have personalities, so the ones you like might not be the ones your pet likes. While most of them are written for cats, plenty of other pet owners seem to enjoy them. I’ve read about bird and lizard owners having a lot of fun with these.
The Amazon Ecosystem is Ready to Win
If you’re a frequent reader of my writing or listen to me on Attack of the Androids, you know I useÂ the word ecosystem. A lot. As the major technology companies diversify their offerings, trying to get you to buy everything from them, we’re seeing some do a far better job than others. The Amazon ecosystem is far and away the best.
What Google TV Needs to Succeed
There are rumors flying around about what Google TV will be in the future. Eric Schmidt claims that more than half of the televisions sold by mid 2012 will have Google TV on them. I think he’s reaching, but not by a lot.
Kindle Fire Should Have a Different Name
I’m a fan of what Amazon does, not because of any particular reason… actually, I don’t even know why. I buy some stuff through there for work, but not terribly often. I just think they get it, ya know? The Kindle Fire is proof, aside from the name. I actually think the name is sort of dumb. Not as dumb as the name iPad… which clearly shows that a product’s name isn’t everything. I sort of wish I had a graphic of someone spontaneously combusting from using a Kindle Fire.
Siri, the voice assistant found on the new iPhone 4s, is a wonderful way to interact with a smartphone. While a typical desktop has a handy keyboard and mouse, road warriors such as myself are often found with a phone and a need to do something more expansive that send text messages with missing vowels.
Voice transcription has been around for a long time, and voice control is certainly not new. Why, then, is Siri getting such praise and press? It’s the implementation.
A keyboard and mouse still make sense for most technology interactions, but when you don’t have them, an efficient voice control trumps both the on screen keyboards and their hardware brethren found on a smartphone. I find myself using dictation far more than typing on my phone, and the recent explosion of Siri has given rise to a number of other voice control products on various platforms. I’ve been playing with Vlingo on my phone for a week or so, and it’s pretty good. Far safer than using my thumbs while driving!
We’ve been using the same input controls on devices for a very long time. Sure, touch controls exist, and they’re great, but they still mimic the paradigm of tapping keys or using a mouse. Voice control gives us a far more intuitive way of interacting with our devices. At least, when it works.
Now that we’ve seen people caring about this technology, I predict many more entries into the space. This competition will improve voice control and dictation more over the next couple years than we’ve seen in the previous 20. FINALLY, the technology that we’ve all wanted, even if we didn’t know it, is within our reach. Next step – getting rid of all the damned wires!
I’ve written before about my belief that the ecosystem will be the next big tech battle – as margins shrink and people want more streamlined services and products, companies will respond by developing products that they wouldn’t have thought about years ago. Apple’s potential development of a television incorporating their AppleTV software is a good example. Now it seems that Amazon will be releasing tablets powered by Android.
And it makes sense with what we’ve seen from them lately. Both their Android App store and their music service seem appropriate preparatory moves. Each has been warmly received, even if the users of these services seem confused by Amazon’s plans.
We know Amazon can make hardware – the Kindle is a wonderful gadget that many people love. It’s not hard to imagine that they will do a good job with an Android tablet. If the rumored pricing is correct – $349 and $449 for the 7″ and 10″ respectively – they’re going to give Apple some serious competition. Some will argue that Android isn’t as refined as iOS, and whether that’s true or not, money talks and people like cheap. $349 sounds a lot cheaper than $499, even if the price difference isn’t extensive.
The big question, then, will be what Amazon builds next. Google I/O had talk of various household automation devices with Android on them. With all of Amazon’s experience selling products, I could see them stepping into this realm. An Amazon / Kindle branded Car appliance with music, apps and text-to-speech for books might be well received. Think of it as some advanced GPS unit.
An Amazon Kindle tablet might not make Amazon the strongest player in the tablet market overnight, but it will likely be a test for them. A test to determine if they should try other devices. I suspect the tablets will be successful and I do think they’ll try other things. A phone will happen, at some point. Whether or not they make it themselves or have someone make it for them without the manufacturer name on it… who knows. Just as Facebook and Google want to engage your life as much as possible, so do Amazon, Apple and Microsoft. We’ll see them spreading their fingers into as many avenues as possible. Get ready!
The backstory is well known – Sony’s PlayStation Network (PSN) was hacked resulting in the loss of personal data for 77 million people. During the near-month that the network was offline, Sony did everything wrong from a PR perspective – from denying the facts to delaying communication. Now they’re trying to win back their fans, but they’re doing it all wrong.
They’re offering affected users a package worth, from my analysis, around $100-$125. You get to choose a couple games from a short list, credit monitoring, free service, and, at some point, some free online movie rentals. It’s a good idea, until you actually think about it.
Sony has but one appropriate course from my perspective – make the PSN (and all premium services, except the purchase of games or rental of movies) free for a year. For everyone. This will eliminate the need to enter a credit card for the majority of users. It will give people time to actually forget about the massive failing of their security team. Maybe, just maybe, if Sony gives people something they wanted in the first place, rather than a couple games and credit protection (which shouldn’t count because they wouldn’t have needed it without Sony’s failure), they’ll come back around.
Sony – it’s not too late.
Since the announcement of the Google Chromebook at Google I/O last week, the impending product release has been met with mixed reviews. Nevermind the fact that it’s not out yet, or that, even at release, it will basically be a public beta. There are some in my sphere that have already condemned it. One asked my thoughts, so I thought I’d post them here.
The Chromebook, for those unaware, is a shift from a traditional computer. On most computers, you have the hardware which runs an operating system that allows you to interact with programs. In this model, the internet is viewed through a browser – which is a program. The Chromebrook skips the operating system, making all of your interaction with the computer through the browser. You turn it on, you’re in the browser. Without internet access, it’s useless.
This is huge. Or, more accurately, it will be. When we look at the way Google works, they release things before many would feel they’re ready – and those people would be right. What they’ve created with this approach is a culture of public testing, seeking the opinions of the technology-centric so that they may make small, fast improvements. If you’re a user of Android, you see how quickly the apps Google maintains are improved. Gmail gets new features all of the time. These improvements are rarely substantial, but it’s a slow march of progress. This was how Android was developed, and whether you love it or hate it, you can’t deny that it’s been successful.
How will this approach be relevant to the Chromebook? Google’s going to learn a LOT in the first few months of release. All sorts of people will turn to them and try them. We’ll see lots of minor changes, but I doubt any of those will change the game. No, the game changers will be in the business model.
Chromebooks will be useless without internet – so we’re going to see the bundling of internet service with them. This isn’t new – you can already buy a netbook with a cell modem installed. What will be different here will be the cost. Since everything is done on the web, very little has to be downloaded to your laptop. Rather than having the constant struggle between users and carriers around data caps and download speeds, we’ll see carriers embrace this model, since the heavy lifting of web apps, and viewing web pages, is done on the servers hosting them. Carriers will, if they have an ounce of intelligence, encourage people to use this model. We’ll see lower priced internet access for these devices – maybe as low as $10 a month.
If we can get internet access that low, than the $20 a month that Google has published for what looks to be a long term rental of these devices may even include the service. Imagine – if your information resides in the cloud, and you can get to it whenever, wherever, for $20 a month on a computer that, should it break, you don’t have to pay to fix… it’s beautiful.
You probably have an image of what a video gamer looks like. What would you say, then, if I told you that nearly everyone plays video games? See, games have changed and thus the people playing them have changed.
Video Games were originally kidsâ€™ stuff. As a child, I remember the old Nintendo games and how my friends and I would spend hours on them. As the games became more advanced, the demographics of the players expanded, but not a lot. You still knew who played games â€“ they were generally male and on the younger end of the age spectrum. Sure, many people of all ages played solitaire or online flash-based games, but those people would never think of their activity as video gaming.
Then, right around the same time, we saw the Wii and the iPhone. Both of them revolutionized gaming. Neither one was the most powerful device available â€“ the Sony PSP was more powerful than the iPhone and both the PS3 and Xbox360 were more powerful than the Wii â€“ but they brought in new types of games. The iPhone gave everyone an excuse to have games in their pocket, as they already had to carry a phone. The Wii featured titles that were fun to all ages and encouraged socialization. Both devices featured games that were typically referred to as â€œcasual,â€ meaning they could be played for a short period of time.
Anyone on Facebook has seen the true socialization of these casual games. The constant requests from your friends to play Farmville may be annoying, but they show how popular these games are. Nintendo is set to release a new gaming console next year and I expect theyâ€™ll take the successful elements of the Wii and add new and social elements to it.